People and Other Animals

A beaver in a pond, chewing on a submerged leaf.

A North American beaver in its native habitat. (Photo from the U.S. National Park Service.)


MIT Course Number

21H.380J / 21A.419J / 21H.980J / 21A.411J

As Taught In

Fall 2013


Undergraduate / Graduate

Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course is a historical exploration of the ways that people have interacted with their closest animal relatives, for example: hunting, domestication of livestock, exploitation of animal labor, scientific study of animals, display of exotic and performing animals, and pet-keeping. Themes include changing ideas about animal agency and intelligence, our moral obligations to animals, and the limits imposed on the use of animals. Students taking the graduate version complete additional assignments.

Other Versions

Related Content

Harriet Ritvo. 21H.380J People and Other Animals. Fall 2013. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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