American Sociological Association

Teaching about Animals: Incorporating Nonhuman Animals into Sociology Classrooms

The topic of human–animal studies (HAS) remains largely ignored within the sociology classroom. While a few sociologists have encouraged teaching about animals, none has assessed whether incorporating nonhuman animals into the curriculum is effective. In this study, three instructors at two universities incorporated animal-related materials in their sociology courses in a variety of ways. Data analyzed from course exam responses and student papers as well as end-of-semester student surveys indicate that student learning and enjoyment were enhanced. We provide suggestions for instructors on how to incorporate such material in their courses. We argue that teaching about nonhuman animals can serve as a powerful gateway to introducing students to a wide variety of social issues and concepts, thereby adding another useful instrument to our pedagogical tool kit in sociology.

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Liz Grauerholz, Julianne Weinzimmer, Erin N. Kidder, and Nicole Owens Duffy





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