This course explores the interface between humans and nonhuman primates and, more broadly, between humans and nature. What kinds of roles do nonhuman primates play in human societies, past and present? What are the various ways in which we, as humans, view the relationship between ourselves and animals? How does our own behavior affect animals (and, in particular, nonhuman primates) ecologically, and vice versa? Are these interactions positive or negative, or both? We will address these questions through an exploration of the relationship between humans and animals, especially nonhuman primates, across time and around the world. Students will conduct research on a wide array of human-animal relationships, and as a class we will focus on baboon-human conflict in South Africa as a case study.
As a synthesis course, this course is intended to help students recall and informally integrate ideas and concepts from a variety of fields of study across the Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Humanities. We will thus approach our topic from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing on ideas from anthropology, biology, conservation science, environmental science, history, linguistics, paleoanthropology, and philosophy. Students will also develop a greater appreciation and understanding of the biology of nonhuman primates, their various roles in human society, and the relationship between humans and the natural world within which we are embedded.
This is a regularly scheduled course in the anthropology department. It meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:40 to 2:55 pm throughout the Fall 2014 semester.