An examination of selected topics related to political science.
|Social Sciences||1 course|
Current Semester InformationDeepa Prakash
390C: Tps:Animal Politics
Tps:Humans, Animals and Politics
From antiquity to postmodernity, thinkers have examined images of the animal in their explorations and analyses of human nature and society. This is especially true in the subfield of political theory, which represents a menagerie of animal images and symbols illuminating concepts as diverse as political reason, rituals of inclusion and exclusion, foundational violence, criminality, sovereignty, nature/the "wild," and freedom. In this course we will address these concepts and more, being especially attuned to the ambivalent manner in which the animal stands for positions on both sides of an alleged binary (e.g. nature versus culture, social life versus isolation, reason versus instinct). Far from being an empty signifier, there are clear and distinct traditional limits when theorizing the animal: bees and ants are social beings, foxes are crafty, lions are prowling and dangerous, and wolves are noble and isolated beings of special power. Within these limits, the variety of animal symbolism is stunning. We will trace and track these images and examine what they tell us about human nature and political life. We will do this with an eye to the possibility of expanding the circle of justice beyond human beings, examining what such a community might look like.