MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-18

AUTUMN SEMESTER 15 CREDITS
AAP6139 THE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN-ANIMAL RELATIONSHIP
CO-ORDINATOR: UMBERTO ALBARELLA
OTHER TUTORS: KEVIN KUYKENDALL

MODULE OUTLINE

This module will provide the students with an understanding of the main stages in the evolution of the human-animal relationship, from the Palaeolithic to modern times. The importance of animals in the history of human societies as well as its variation in time and space will be discussed. The unit will cover ecological and economic as well as social, ritual and symbolic aspects and, though focussed on archaeology, will also make use of ethnographic, historical, literary and iconographic sources. It will provide a necessary integration to modules dealing with the methods used to study past animals and those that are period-based.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to:

  • Provide the student with an overview of the main stages of the human-animal relationship
  • Allow the students to investigate and understand this relation in a long evolutionary and diachronic perspective
  • Allow the student to become familiar with the tools available to study this relationship, beyond the boundaries of traditional science or humanities based approaches
  • Provide the students with an appreciation of the important role that animals have had in the history of human societies and how this has varied and varies across different cultures, as determined by geographic, ethnic or social factors.

MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate an ability:

  • To interpret the archaeological evidence with a full appreciation of which animals played a role in the shaping of human societies
  • To interpret the archaeological evidence with a full appreciation of what role different animals played and play in different human societies
  • To interpret the archaeological evidence with a full appreciation of how the relationship between people and animals changed over time, which were the main trends and which factors contributed to the variation of this relationship in different human cultures.
  • To understand which animals were domesticated and which ones were not as well as why, when and where that happened.

EXAMPLES OF LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES/TUTORIALS

Our lectures/seminars are highly participative and taught by leaders in their field.

  • Caves, Hyenas and Humans in the Middle and Late Pleistocene
  • The earliest domestication of animals in the Old World and its spread
  • Domesticated animals in the Americas – social and economic significance
  • Ritual and symbolic animals in the Mediterranean late prehistoric and classical worlds – social and economic significance
  • Animals of the Romans – trade, improvement and Empire
  • The contribution of animals to the shaping of the medieval word – status, stability and innovation
  • The history of the human-animal relationship: a review of the main issues in a geographic and diachronic perspective
  • Primate behaviour and their relevance to our understanding of human societies
  • Early hominids and their prey - hunting or scavanging?
  • The role of animals in the intensification of production and mobility in later prehistoric Europe
  • The agricultural revolution and the onset of modern animal farming

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS ACQUIRED

Ability to understand broad diachronic patterns in human behaviour, to read critically and to engage in open intellectual discussion.


STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type

Hours

Lectures 3
Seminar 13.5
Independent Study (including preparation for assessments) 133.5

ASSESSMENT

Method

% of marks

Hours/Length

Commentary of image, object and/or text 40% 1000 words
Essay 60% 2000 words