Animals, Ethics, and Religion

Winter 2016-2017


Katharine Mershon

Why are some animals considered food and others objects of religious devotion? Why do we treat dogs like family and kill flies without a second thought? Why do animals appear so frequently as metaphors in our everyday speech? In this course, students will explore these questions by reading texts featuring animals in literature, scripture, and theory, ranging from the Bible, Zora Neale Hurston, and Franz Kafka to Flannery O’Connor and J.M. Coetzee. We will bring these diverse texts together in order to investigate how animals illuminate religious questions about the relationship among humans, animals, and the divine. (B)