fb pixel

Jane Goodall to participate in UW Institute

Fri. Feb. 20, 2015

A Fall term course in the Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications is already making headlines, as in a recent Winnipeg Free Press article "Jane Goodall to speak as part of U of W lecture series" (WPF on January 15, 2015). The course Jane Goodall, world renowned primatologist, refers to in the article, "Humanity, Animality, Secularity," is being offered as a Fall Institute by the Centre for Liberal Arts and Secular Society (CLASS) and the Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications. The course description for "Humanity, Animality, Secularity" (RHET-3900) is below.

This course will be a critical investigation of what has recently come to be known in the humanities as “the question of the animal.” The course will consider the different ways in which Western humanism, ethics, and secular society have failed to come to grips with the physical and metaphysical presence of non-human animals. We will begin by examining how the moral status of animals has been theorized in Western thought from Aristotle and St. Augustine to Descartes, Heidegger, Derrida, and beyond. We will interrogate the different tropes used to uphold the human-animal distinction, including the idea that the capacity for speech, communication, and reason confers a special status upon humanity. We will examine the ways in which secular conceptions of justice, including the political liberalism of John Rawls and the communicative ethics of Jürgen Habermas, exclude the moral claims of animals. Students will engage a wide range of writings, both non-fiction and fiction, addressing “the question of the animal.” Selected authors include Cora Diamond, Donna Haraway, Jane Goodall, George A. Kennedy, Peter Singer, Stanley Cavell, J. M. Coetzee, and Cary Wolfe.

Goodall will also give a public presentation at the University of Winnipeg on September 11, 2015 at 7:00 PM as the second speaker in The Axworthy Distinguished Lecturer Series on Social Justice and the Public Good.

For updates about the Institute, you can check the CLASS website at http://class.uwinnipeg.ca/