Tag Archives: lecture notes

I’m a student now, a student of anthrozoology


So I’m 34, I work in advertising, I just started my MA in anthrozoology with Trinity St David, Lampeter, South Wales. What I learn there I’m taking to you here. My plan is to rinse off the glutinous academia and give you guys, oh fearless Readers I Can Count On My Favourite Hand, the kernel. I’m a distance learner. You’re pretty much all I have, so stay with me OK.

Question: if you were commencing a study in anthrozoology, what kind of kernel would you be expecting? My understanding was that anthrozoology concerns the relationships – physical, moral, social – cultural – that humans have with other animate species and vice versa. And I guess that means how we treat each other, look at each other, use each other.

This is true, but the first lecture has made me wonder if I’ve been too gung ho on the reciprocity vibe. After all, the study takes its name from Anthropology: a discourse on how we think about our own species. A discussion, a thinkathon. Wow, we can just never shut up about our own shit.

There are 4 or 5 reviews on this lecture’s reading list, mainly from the 80s and 90s when anthrozoology was in utero. Every review presses the point that understanding how we think about animals matters because it helps us see how we organise ourselves. The ox driver betrays the slave master, the dog breeder exposes our neurosis, the sow pen represents our communal spirit shrinking away in apartment blocks, etcetera. We have to be careful not to lapse into easy relativism – like equating the parent subject anthropology with the stigma of colonialism, red faced and impertinent in eternity.

While I can’t imagine how it will ever happen, I’ll never stop trying to know what animals think. It is obvious to me that this is an important part of the next stage in our evolution. The thing is trying to get that feeling to feel true to other people too. It’s a good time to do it, even if I am self-imposed in my singular apartment. Even if my cat don’t speak any kind of human. Even if the internet will never stroke my hair and tell me I’m a beautiful genius.

Once again welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy it.

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