Beyond IQ

Animals and Us

Register for Animals and Us here! (can be split into 3 mini courses of 4 weeks each)

Return to the list of classes for Spring 2020.

Sabrina Weiss
5-10 students
Suggested Age Ranges: 10+
Meets: Tuesdays, 12:00 pm, 12 sessions, starting January 28th.

Students can register for the three-week parts separately or the course as a whole.

Course Description

Animals are a part of us.  We are animals. We live with animals, we tell stories about animals, we sometimes kill and eat animals. They are a part of our history, our myths, our present, and our future.  We would not be able to exist without other animals, and some of them would not be able to exist without us. But some animals are also in danger because of us.

How can we better understand and appreciate animals?  This course will explore the many types of relationships we have with our cousins and discuss what we can do to connect and respect them.  Students will be guided in creating, developing, and presenting a final project on a topic related to the course.

We will sometimes discuss some difficult or troubling topics in this course related to animals, such as ways that humans hurt animals, pet alterations like declawing and docking, and inhumane conditions in industrial meat production. While we will not go into extreme graphic detail, we will discuss these in a matter of fact and sensitive way that acknowledges the harms that can happen to animals. If you have concerns, please contact the instructor.

Topic sections: 

Part 1: Everyday Animals - starts January 28

  • Pets and Pests
  • Animals as Food
  • Working Animals

Part 2: Mythological and Fantastical Animals - starts February 25

  • Animals in Myths
  • Animals in Stories
  • Animals as Symbols

Part 3: Animals as People? - starts March 24

  • Animals as learners
  • Animal rights
  • Issues: zoos, conservation, experimentation


The Ape and the Sushi Master - Frans de Waal

When Species Meet - Donna Haraway

The Multispecies Salon - Eben Kirksey

Bees in America - Tammy Horn

Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb - Rod Preece

Various folktales, folklore

Register for Animals and Us here! (any or all parts)

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