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Animals in the Ancient City Private Forum

Tues., Thurs., 1:00PM-2:20PM, Rhode Island Hall 008
Instructor: Susan Curry
susan_curry@brown.edu
Office hours: Tues., Thurs., 2:30PM-3:30PM and by appointment

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Course Description

In this course, we will explore the relationship between human and non-human animals in urban environments across the ancient world. Focusing on four ancient cities/regions that continue to be inhabited by human and animal populations today (ancient India; Alexandria, Egypt; Rome, Italy; and, Mayan Mexico and Central America), we will examine the places where human and animal lives intersected in these early metropolises and consider among many other questions the following: what types of relationship did ancient city dwellers form with non-human animals? Where were the inhabitants of each city likely to encounter domestic and/or wild animals? What sort of facilities did each of these cultures provide for the health of their non-human companions? How did the religious practices of each of these cultures affect human/animal relationships in the city? What kinds of relationship existed between city dwellers and the agricultural communities surrounding these cities? What role did the particular landscape and environment of each of these cities play in determining how human beings and non-human animals lived together in ancient cities?

While grappling with these and other questions, we will also get to grips with the types of evidence available to us today to illuminate human/animal relationships, the topography of the cities of our case studies, and the position of non-human animals in these cities today. What relationships of interdependence exist today between humans and animals? How will we sustain these? If we do not, what will be lost to us?

Syllabus (PDF): Document IconSpring2014BrownUAnimalsintheAncientCitySylFINAL.pdf

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