University of Kent at Canterbury

1. The title of the module
Beastly histories: animals in the past
2. The Department which will be responsible for management of the module
3. The Start Date of the Module
4. The number of students expected to take the module
30 approx
5. Modules to be withdrawn on the introduction of this proposed module and consultation with other
relevant Departments and Faculties regarding the withdrawal
6. The level of the module (eg Certificate [C], Intermediate [I], Honours [H] or Postgraduate [M])
C (full-time programme only)
7. The number of credits which the module represents
15 (7.5 ECTS)
8. Which term(s) the module is to be taught in (or other teaching pattern)
Autumn or Spring Term tba
9. Prerequisite and co-requisite modules
10. The programmes of study to which the module contributes
History; Visual History (when approved); also available as a wild module
11. The intended subject specific learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme
learning outcomes
 Students will gain an understanding of past human interactions with animals and their
cultural unfamiliarity compared to the present day (A1; B3)
 Through the example of animals, who cannot speak for themselves, students will come to
appreciate the problems of agency and voice in the historical record (A3)
 Students will be presented with a broad chronological sweep (A5)
12. The intended generic learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning
 Students will enhance their ability to use written and visual sources in understanding past
representations of animals (A2)
 Students will access and integrate intelligently sources of a fictional, factual, primary and
secondary nature (B4, C2)
 Students will develop their skills of argumentation, both individually and as a group; verbally
and in written form (C3, D1, D4)
13. A synopsis of the curriculum
The module presents a series of case studies from history showing in each case how humans have
represented animals through practice and artefact. Starting with ancient sources on animals (Pliny
and Aristotle), the module progresses through the natural-historical discoveries of the early modern
period and on into recent issues of ‘threatened’ wildlife and cruelty to animals. Emphasis will be
placed largely upon European and North American examples. Throughout, students are challenged
to think about apparently ‘natural’ divisions between nature and culture, since the treatment and
representation of animals reveals a good deal about human self-perception. There is a particular
emphasis upon visual sources, from bestiaries, scientific drawings, cartoons and film.
14. Indicative Reading List
 Various titles from Reaktion Books’ Animal series (including Charlotte Sleigh, Ant)
 Karen Jones, Wolf Mountains
 Hilda Kean, Animal Rights
 Harriet Ritvo, Animal Estate
 Elizabeth Hanson, Animal Attractions
 Lisa Mighetto, Wild Animals and American Environmental Ethics
 Gregg Mitman, Reel Nature
 Nigel Rothfels, Representing Animals
15. Learning and Teaching Methods, including the nature and number of contact hours and the total study
hours which will be expected of students, and how these relate to achievement of the intended learning
One two-hour seminar per week. Seminars will develop an understanding of human interactions with
animals in a historical context, encourage familiarity with a wide range of sources and facilitate the
critical appraisal of visual and written material (A1-3, B3, C2-3, D1, D4).
Students are expected to put in an additional 10.5 hours per week (effected through independent
study: reading, watching and critiquing films, preparing for seminars and essay writing) in order to
make up 150 hours total study for the module. However, it should be stressed that this is not a
maximum figure.
16. Assessment methods and how these relate to testing achievement of the intended learning outcomes
The module will be 100% assessed by coursework/continuous assessment, made up of two essays of
2,000 words each.
Written assessments will test the application of critical thinking in regard to representations of
animals (A2) as well as the ability to collate and present a variety of source materials effectively (C23). Students will be expected to apprehend key arguments and ideas relating to the study of animals
in the past (A1-2, B3) and appreciate methodological problems associated with surmising the nonhuman experience (A3).
17. Implications for learning resources, including staff, library, IT and space
The module will be taught by Dr Karen Jones and Dr Charlotte Sleigh, both of whom have published
books and articles on animals in history, and in the course of so doing have added to the resources of
the library via their research interests.
A number of new books will need to be purchased by the Templeman library.
Lecture and seminar rooms will need to be equipped with VCR/DVD viewing facilities.
18. A statement confirming that, as far as can be reasonably anticipated, the curriculum, learning and
teaching methods and forms of assessment do not present any non-justifiable disadvantage to students
with disabilities
The course will in no way prejudice any student with disabilities, provided University provision
complies with all disability legislation.
Statement by the Director of Learning and Teaching: "I confirm I have been consulted on the above
module proposal and have given advice on the correct procedures and required content of module proposals"
Director of Learning and Teaching
Statement by the Head of Department: "I confirm that the Department has approved the introduction of
the module and will be responsible for its resourcing"
Head of Department
Revised August 2002; Revision 2 in 2003.
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