Summer 2022

Instructor: Professor Joanna Dean

painting of a giraffe crossing

Giraffe Crossing (1827) by Jacques Raymond Brascassat (

Animals in History examines the long history of relations between humans and other animals: topics include fantastical animals in medieval bestiaries; working relationships with dogs, horses and elephants; the domestication of livestock; indigenous hunting; the rise of animal rights movements; the display of exotic animals in museums and zoos; and the invisibility of the modern laboratory animal. We will explore questions of animal sentience and agency, and ask how it is that humans have come to see themselves as separate from their animal kin. Students will work independently on a research project on a topic of their own choosing.

Because face to face classes are not possible in the summer of 2022, the course will be offered online and asynchronously. Course content (video lectures, powerpoint lectures, readings and videos) will be posted weekly to be accessed at the student’s convenience.  Students will be offered the opportunity to attend the taping of the short live lecture, by zoom, and if the pandemic permits, there will be two optional field trips to view animals on display at the Museum of Nature and the Central Experimental Farm.

Students from disciplines other than history are welcome.

Discussions (online): 20%
Responses to class readings: 30%
Essay or Project: 50%

Questions? Please email: