Animals and Society Specialization

Animals matter for human existence in so many ways that it is difficult to imagine the entity we call “society” without them. They figure heavily in our language, food, clothing, family structure, economy, education, entertainment, science, recreation, and other areas of social life. In this specialization, we will investigate a range of topics, many of them controversial. Although this is a sociology course, the field of human-animal studies is interdisciplinary. Many of the suggested readings come from fields outside of sociology, but this specialization emphasizes their sociological relevance throughout each course.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
- Account for the shifting roles and statuses of animals in society and their social, cultural, and ethical consequences
- Use key perspectives and concepts in the field of human/animal studies to explain the status of animals in contemporary society
- Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of considering animals in analyses of social issues
- Analyze the socially constructed boundaries drawn between humans and animals and review their consequences

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Animals and Institutions (Coursera)

This course explores animals within the context of the functional relationships that sociologists call “institutions.” We first examine the use of animals in laboratory science. We then examine the controversial transformation of animals into “livestock” and "meat." We also explore the perspectives of people committed to rejecting the construction [...]
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Animals, Self, and Society (Coursera)

This course explores how animals and people are situated within the web of structures and connections known as “society.” Module 1 considers some of the key symbolic roles that animals play in society by investigating the practice of “thinking with animals.” We investigate how people construct different meanings of [...]
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The Changing Status and Perception of Animals (Coursera)

Oct 25th 2021
The Changing Status and Perception of Animals (Coursera)
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In this course, we explore how mainstream understandings of animals and human-animal relationships have changed in recent years. Module 1 focuses on the roles of animals in human physical health and psychological well being. Module 2 explores animal selfhood, particularly in light of their inability to use spoken [...]
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