We examine the relationship of non-human animals and people deemed “inhuman” in the contexts of colonization and imperialism. What can the use of animals for companionship, entertainment, sport, transportation, medicine, food, and as a source of biomass energy teach us about the dynamics of empire?
Lectures will explore spaces that trouble the boundaries between humans and animals: the hunt, the confinement of the colonized peoples in “human zoos,” and the interspecies kinship of carceral spaces. Students will learn how historians engage with primary sources, including taxonomic paintings, the cabinet of curiosities, indigenous folklore, illuminated manuscripts, religious murals, fantasy films, and performance art. In seminars, students will continue to develop their online presence with increasing focus on specific humanistic topics and methodologies. They will learn how to work with visual primary sources and scholarly secondary sources through two expository essays: an analysis of an artwork from the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art collection and an analysis of a scholarly debate in Andean historiography.
Image: Northwest Coast Peoples (probably Nuu-chah-nulth), painted wooden wolf headdress. Acquisition 1939, British Museum, London. https://www.britishmuseum.org