Week 5 Framing Questions

Seminar Texts

  • Baker, Steve. “What is the Postmodern Animal?,” The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Eds. Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald. Gordonsville, VA: Berg Publishers, 2007. 278-288. Print.
  • Bekoff, Marc. “Wild Justice and Fair Play: Cooperation, Forgiveness and Morality in Animals,” The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Eds. Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald. Gordonsville, VA: Berg Publishers, 2007. 72-90. Print.
  • Childs, Craig. “Coyote.” The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild. New York, NY: Back Bay Books / Little, Brown and Company, 2007. 35-46. PDF.
  • Wells, Paul. “Anthropomorphism, Practice, Narrative,” The Animated Bestiary. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009.  93-134. Print.
  • Tex Avery, A Day at the Zoo, 8 min.
  • Chuck Jones, What’s Opera Doc, 1957
  • Gianini and Luzatti, The Thieving Magpie, 1964
  • Alex Weil, One Rat Short, 2006
  • Sara Petty, Furies, 1977, 4 min, 16mm
  • Fleischer Brothers Studios, Betty Boop’s May Party, 1935, 8 min., 16mm
  • Suzie Templeton, Dog, 2001

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

  1. In chapter 3, Wells expands his model of bestial ambivalence: he has been using it as a way of categorizing types of animal representation within animated narratives, now he suggests that it “can also be used to define a narrative per se” (125). That is: it works as a way of categorizing narratives themselves as “the pure animal tale, the critical human story, the aspirational human narrative, and the humanimal scenario” (125). Using this system, try to identify three examples of each category from the animated and literary texts that we have studied in the program to date. Explain the thinking behind your choices: what makes the narratives fit (or not fit) into particular categories?
  2. Bekoff describes an approach to considering animals’ private experiences that he refers to as biocentrically anthropomorphic. He also describes non-human behaviors that indicate that humans are not the only beings with a sense of justice and morality. Given his ideas and what you gleaned from Amy Cook’s lecture on Animal Umwelt, describe what characteristics would be important to represent in a “pure animal” story using your animal.
  3. Baker offers an alternative to Wells’s typology of pure animal, aspirational human, critical human and hybrid humanimal: a “spectrum ranging from the animal-endorsing to the animal-skeptical” (280). At one end of this “spectrum” is art that aligns itself “with the work of conservationists, or perhaps of animal advocacy,” and at the other is work that critiques“ culture’s means of constructing and classifying the animal in order to make it meaningful to the human” (280). Consider again the animated and literary texts you identified in Question 1 and situate them on Baker’s continuum. Explain your reasoning: what makes them more or less “animal-endorsing” or “animal-skeptical”?
  4. Focus specifically on “Coyote” by Craig Childs. What kind of narrative is this according to Wells’s typology? Where on Baker’s continuum does it fall? How is Bekoff’s biocentric anthropomorphism functioning in Childs’s experiences with the coyotes and in the stories he tells about them? Use examples from the essay to support your ideas.

Seminar, Week 5—9:00am, Thursday, May 3.

Formatting Requirements

  • Bring 2 hardcopies to seminar.
  • Number each response (1-5).
  • Name, date, week #, and program title.
  • Number and staple multiple pages.

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