VISU Vienna Summer University 2014 - Scientific World Conceptions

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  University of Vienna




  Course Description

  VISU and Vienna

  General Information
















VISU 2014 - Humans/Animals. A Contested Boundary

The 14th Vienna Summer University was held on July 7 –18, 2014.

The lecturers were:
Richard Burkhardt (University of Illinois)
Susan Jones (University of Minnesota)
Georgina Montgomery (Michigan State University

What are our cultural, ethical, biological, and historical relationships to the non-human animals that inhabit the planet with us? How have our perceptions of the similarities and differences between humans and animals changed over time, and what lies ahead? Claude Lévi-Strauss’s famous observation that “animals are good to think with“ becomes ever more potent when viewed in terms of the different ways that the human/animal boundary has been constructed in different socio-historical contexts.
This course engageed with historical, philosophical, political and sociological dimensions of human-animal interactions as well as the epistemology of the sciences used to study animals.

The lectures dealt with the following topics:
The human-animal boundary from Descartes to Darwin to the present
The study of animal behavior
Animals in institutions (zoos and labs)
Wild animals, domestic animals, pets and vermin
Diseases crossing the human-animal boundary
Humans and other primates
Aggression, gender, sexuality, and parenting in animals and humans
Teaching courses in human-animal interactions

Participants of VISU 2014

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