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Human-Animal Studies

Simba in the Lion King, the squirrel in the park. The dog on your side, the mouse in the lab. Remi in Ratatouille, the pork on your plate. The bird in the sky, the elephant in the zoo, the Angry Birds on your screen, the fly on the wall and the cat video in your mail. Animals are everywhere, all the time. In our human lives and societies, as well as in our cultures and imagination. For some people they are mere critters or simply food, while for others they are among the most significant companions in their lives - just as we are for them.

The course Human-Animal Studies is about the relations between humans and animals. It is a new academic discipline, combining theories and research from diverse fields as history, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, media studies and some biology. In the second semester, from April to June 2020, Human-Animal Studies will be an elective offered by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies. It consist of a series of twelve lectures in the historic lecture hall in Artis Royal Zoo. No prior knowledge is required.


Drs. M.C.C.J. Reesink

Learning objectives

  • Recognise and understand the dominant theoretical approaches, concepts and ideas in the field of Human-Animal Studies.
  • Reproduce knowledge about and insights into the main discussions and developments in this field.
  • Critically analyse, assess and evaluate the different arguments about the roles and meanings of animals in contemporary (human) societies and cultures.
  • Apply these ideas and insights on current actual issues and/or (own) experiences in a written exam.
child with dog in cart

Teaching format



Final (written) exam.

Study material

Literature: to be announced.


You can find the timetable on Datanose.

Entry requirements

Open to second and third year bachelor students.


This course is open for UvA students and other interested parties, such as contract students or students from other institutions. You can register from 3 December until a week before the start of the course. 

Registration UvA students (look for code: 5512HUAS6Y).

Registration other interested parties

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: Keuzeonderwijs-iis@uva.nl 


Check the website

Number of participants


Human-Animal Studies
Vorm Kortlopend ,
Studielast 6 EC,
Voertaal Engels
Start April