Week 6 Framing Questions

Seminar Texts

  • Cartmill, Matt. “Hunting and Humanity in Western Thought,” The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Eds. Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald. Gordonsville, VA: Berg Publishers, 2007. 237-244. Print.
  • Childs, Craig. “Mountain Lion.” The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild. New York, NY: Back Bay Books / Little, Brown and Company, 2007. 48-67. Print.
  • Mithen, Steven. “The Hunter-Gatherer Prehistory of Human-Animal,” The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Eds. Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald. Gordonsville, VA: Berg Publishers, 2007. 117-128. Print.
  • Wells, Paul. “Performance, Philosophy, Tradition,” The Animated Bestiary. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009.  135-174. Print.
  • Art21, Season 4, Mark Dion
  • Mark Baker, Hill Farm, 1988
  • Alexander Petrov, The Cow, 1989
  • Run Wrake, Rabbit, 2006
  • Paul Fierlinger, Still Life with Animated Dogs, 2000
  • Joanna Quinn, Britannia, 1993

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

  1. Wells proposes that animators are in a unique position to critically engage with animals as animals, not just as stand-ins for human characters. He writes: “…in literally thinking in pictures, [animators] demonstrate a greater degree of empathy and understanding of the animal in representational terms” (35), and “The very process of visualizing, depicting, and choreographing the animal reengages a more potent anthropomorphic instinct than that which might simply substitute a human identity on to an arbitrary animal” (105), and “…animators have a particular sensibility that does indeed have a greater degree of empathy with the animal and, consequently, respect for the animal in the ideas and concepts that may be expressed through it” (140). Based on your experience, do you agree with Wells? Why or why not? What have you discovered about the ways that the process of “visualizing, depicting, and choreographing” your animal affects your ability to represent it?
  2. What are the ethical implications of the relationship that exists between you and the animal you are representing? How do your choices about how to represent the animal affect the animal? Consider the possible effects of anthropomorphism and the implications of rhetoric.
  3. There are a variety of human/non-human animal relationships in Hill Farm: food, sport, entertainment…and then there is the relationship of the animator to the animals represented, and the relationship of us, the audience, to those representations. We’ve been looking at various ways of categorizing animal representation. Design a system of your own that organizes these and other human/non-human animal relationships and representations. Is your system a continuum like Baker’s? A typology like Wells’s? Use your system to analyze at least two films and two literary texts (can be Childs). What does this system say about how you think of animals, their representations, and yourself?
  4. In light of your experience at Cabela’s, and considering Mithen’s evolutionary perspective that it was with the development of language (the ability to conceive of symbols)and Cartmill’s cultural perspective,

Seminar, Week 6—9:00am, Thursday, May 10.

Formatting Requirements

  • Bring 2 hardcopies to seminar.
  • Number each response (1-4).
  • Name, date, week #, and program title.
  • Number and staple multiple pages.

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