ENGL318-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Reading Animals: Beast Fables to Graphic Novels

30 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


This course explores the role of imagery and narrative in constituting historical and contemporary conceptions of ‘animality’ and speciesism across a range of texts and media (including bestiaries, folklore and mythology; popular cooking shows and 'foodie' books; wildlife documentaries; contemporary and activist art; science fiction and graphic novels; and animal biographies).

This course explores the role of imagery, narrative and discourse in constituting historical and contemporary representations of nonhuman animals, human-animal relations and specieism across a wide range of texts and media (including fables, bestiaries, wildlife documentaries, activist art, science fiction, popular gastronomy, graphic novels, and more).

The lectures will move between focusing on representations of nonhuman animals in certain kinds of texts or media (eg, fables, graphic novels, documentaries) to close readings of particular species in selected genres, stories or imagery. Human cultural practices involving nonhuman animals will also be explored through examination of fictional and nonfictional accounts.
The course will be taught primarily using theoretical and methodological approaches derived from English, Cultural Studies and Critical Animal Studies.

This course can be used towards an English major or minor. BA students who major in English would normally take at least two 100-level 15 point ENGL courses (which must include at least one of the following: ENGL117, ENGL102 or ENGL103), at least three 200-level 15 point ENGL courses, and at least two 300-level 30 point ENGL courses. This course is also co-coded CULT335 and can be used towards a Cultural Studies major or minor. Please see the BA regulations  or a student advisor for more information.

Learning Outcomes

In this course you will learn:

  • To explore how nonhuman animals have been historically represented – in writing and imagery – across a range of textual domains and genres (with a focus on western culture)
  • To identify and critique assumptions, prejudices and anthropocentric discourses related to nonhuman animals and human-animal relationships
  • To learn and apply key terms and concepts in the field of Human-Animal Studies
  • To evaluate different anthropomorphic depictions of nonhuman animals in writing and visual culture
  • To analyze alternative modes of representing human relationships to nature and other species
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


15 points of ENGL at 200-level with a B pass, or 30 points of ENGL at 200-level, or any 45 points at 200-level from the Arts Schedule


Equivalent Courses

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 13:00 - 16:00 Jack Erskine 446 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct

Course Coordinator

Annie Potts


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Exposition (description of four key terms) 40% Due in Term 1
Essay 50% Due in Term 2
Presentation of Allocated Reading (chapter or article) 10% Due in Term 2

There is no final exam for this course.


There is no set text for this course. Required readings will be posted on Learn prior to lectures.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,493.00

International fee $6,075.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts.

All ENGL318 Occurrences

  • ENGL318-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018