Instructor: Max Grober
Description: Animals were an indispensable part of the culture and economy of eighteenth-century Europe. Their muscle power was essential for agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation. They were exploited for food, and subjected to increasingly sophisticated and efficient regimes of selective breeding, grazing, finishing, and slaughter. Animals were hunted and tortured for sport but also kept as working companions and pets. Philosophers speculated about their intellectual capacities, and theologians wondered whether they had souls and were capable of an afterlife. Naturalists studied their physical structures and vital processes (including the poorly understood question of generation), debated the reasons for their distribution through the diverse environments of the world, considered for the first time the possibility of species extinction, and searched for a natural system of classification. Meanwhile, as they had since prehistory, animals figured in fables, folktales, and meditations on the cycle of the seasons and the web of life. As always, when humans thought about animals, they also thought about themselves. In this course, we will study a selection of the rich eighteenth-century discourse on animals, as well as recent work by historians and other scholars.
Meeting Information: 01/02/2024-01/24/2024; Time and Room to be Announced
Section Requisites: None
Course Fee: N/A
Out-of-Pocket Expenses: N/A