Critical Animal Studies

Are humans animals? Are animals persons?

This is not a traditional animal ethics course. Rather than taking the category "animal" as a given, the course will challenge students to question the category itself, to trace its origins and map its potential effects. How has the idea of the animal, co-constituted with that of the human, affected the development of animal- and environmental ethics? How are race and gender imagined in terms of the relationship between humanity and animality, domestication and wilderness? What can humans learn from other animals about friendship, politics, monstrosity, difference, communication, and community?

The course includes a trip to the University's biological field station at Lake Kuchak, where we will join bio students for parts of their winter practicum in zoology, and learn about conservation in Western Siberia from scientists working in the field.

Margret Grebowicz:

Originally from Poland, Margret grew up mostly in Texas. She studied German literature, philosophy, and art history at the University of Texas at Austin, while working in record stores. She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Emory University in 2001, having had the great privilege of studying with Jean-François Lyotard before his death. Her first job was at the University of Houston-Downtown, and during that time she authored numerous articles about various aspects of French philosophy, visual culture, feminist epistemology, and radical democracy, among other subjects, as well as translating poetry from her native Polish into English. Margret has been tenured at both UHD and Goucher College, and received two international fellowships, from the Leverhulme Trust and the Fulbright Foundation. Following a year at University of Dundee as a Leverhulme Fellow, she lived in New York City and worked as a jazz vocalist from 2010 to 2017, while simultaneously commuting to Baltimore to teach at Goucher. Margret serves on the executive committee of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy and co-direct the Transhuman Alliance for Climbing Theory. She is the author of Whale Song (2017, Bloomsbury Academic Press), The National Park to Come (2015, Stanford University Press), Why Internet Porn Matters (2013, Stanford University Press), co-author of Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway (2013, Columbia University Press), and editor of Gender after Lyotard (2007, State University of New York Press). In recent years, she has published articles about time-lapse photography and climate change, bestiality pornography, jazz, and bored dolphins. She still translates occasionally and thinks about returning to music. She still thinks and writes “with” Lyotard.