Week 1 Framing Questions

Seminar Texts

  • Berger, John. “Why Look at Animals?” The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Eds. Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald. Gordonsville, VA: Berg Publishers, 2007. 251-261. Print.
  • Childs, Craig. “Animal.” The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild. New York, NY: Back Bay Books / Little, Brown and Company, 2007. 9-14. PDF.

Framing Questions:
Respond to each of the following questions with a paragraph.

  1. Berger writes that there is “a narrow abyss of noncomprehension” (252) separating humans and other animals. He asserts that the human and non-human animal experiences of this abyss are similar but not identical because humans—and not other animals—become self-aware in the exchange of looks across this divide. Do you agree or disagree and why?
  2. How does Childs’s essay, “Animal,” support Berger’s view, contest it, and/or complicate it?
  3. On one side of Berger’s abyss are humans, on the other, all other animals. What issues—philosophical, ethical, etc.—might arise from such an anthropocentric (human-centered) perspective?
  4. Berger writes about the experience of observing an animal in a zoo: “…you are looking at something that has been rendered absolutely marginal; and all the concentration you can muster will never be enough to centralize it. Why is this?” (260). How do you think Childs would answer Berger’s question? How do you answer it?

Seminar, Week 1: 9:00am, Thursday, April 5.

Formatting Requirements

  • Bring 2 hardcopies of your responses to seminar—one for you to refer to in discussion, and one for your seminar faculty.
  • Number each paragraph (1-4) according to the question to which it is a response.
  • Put your name, the date, the week (1-7), and the program title at the top of the first page.
  • Number and staple multiple pages.