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Indiana University Bloomington

Fall 2018  Animal/Human


Course proposals
Co-curricular Proposals
Internship Application
Frequently Asked Questions


Since prehistoric times, the lives of non-human animals have been interwoven with those of human animals. Philosophically, animals have frequently served as a counterpoint for thinking about what it means to be human. Animals have been used by humans for food and labor, for security and transportation, in scientific testing, and often as helpers and companions of their human keepers. Animals have been kept as curiosities, for the pleasing sounds they make, for their visual and auditory mimicry of people, and assigned tasks that highlight their superhuman species-specific sensory adaptations, such as the work of bomb-sniffing canines at airports. 

At the same time, humans have become increasingly aware of our encroachments on non-human animals through urbanization, deforestation, and hunting, and of our role in the extinction or near-extinction of many species, as well as how animal agriculture contributes to global warming. Legislation to protect animals from unnecessary suffering has become common in many countries, and some theorists and lawyers have argued that “human” rights should be extended to certain non-human animals.    

Themester 2018, Animal/Human, will explore the interconnectedness of animals and humans by drawing from the concepts, data, theories and methods of the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.  More specifically, it will investigate the role of animals in history, scientific research, literature, philosophy, and art and film in order to analyze and understand the place of humans on the animal continuum.  

Such analyses will help us understand the complexity of contemporary U.S. conceptualizations of animals and shed light on our global understanding of humanity. 

Themester 2018  advisory committee:

Collin Allen, Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine (Co-chairperson)
Steven Wagshal, Department of Spanish and Portuguese (Co-chairperson)
Jonathon Crystal, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Ivan Kreilkamp, Department of English
Sachiko Koyama, School of Medicine, Medical Science Program
Laura Scheiber, Department of Anthropology


Course proposals

In Fall 2018, the College will showcase undergraduate courses related to the theme. Submissions should include the following:

1. an introduction explaining how the course fits the theme or would be framed to do so,

2. a syllabus (preferred) or hearty description of the class, and

3. an 80-word course description that we can use for promotion to students. The description should briefly touch on how the course relates to the theme.

Submission: Please submit curricular proposals online in one PDF or Word document.
Curricular deadline: The priority deadline for course proposals is October 16, 2017. A second (final) review period will occur early in the spring semester to capture additional courses appropriate to the theme.

Co-curricular proposals

The College is looking for scholarly and creative activities and events that engage the undergraduate population in the discussion and complement the preliminary Themester curriculum bundle. Events and activities in the Themester might include:

  • Lectures and panel discussions
  • Colloquia and Workshops
  • Art exhibits
  • Museum programming and exhibits
  • Film screenings
  • Creative Performances

Themester is meant to inspire discussion and reflection on important topics within and across disciplines. To this end, and to better leverage limited resources, multidisciplinary events and partnerships between departments and units are encouraged.  Please include the following in proposals:

  • a description of the proposed programming and how it links to the theme,
  • a 100-200 word description for the purposes of promotion,
  • any direct or indirect curricular connection,
  • proposed date(s) and times,
  • a detailed budget,
  • the departmental or co-sponsoring unit’s financial contribution,
  • amount of Themester funding required,
  • any initiatives already taken with regard to the event,
  • expected audience (specific disciplines/majors? campus-wide? general public?),
  • publicity efforts that will be undertaken by you or your department,
  • the contact person for the proposed program,
  • and your fiscal officer’s name and contact information.

Submission: Please submit curricular proposals online in one PDF or Word document.
Co-curricular Deadline: Submit co-curricular proposals to by January 16, 2018 for funding consideration. A second review period will take place after a to-be-announced March deadline. Additional non-funded proposals will be considered until June 1.   Write to request a proposal template.


As always, do not hesitate to contact us ( with questions or for further information or see our frequently asked questions.