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How to Apply

Candidates should submit cover letter and CV through the UM jobs portal. 

Course Description

Much human social life involves interactions with non-human animals or interactions with other humans about animals. This course creates a space to explore those interactions. In it, we think about broad questions connected to the fundamental distinctions many humans draw between themselves and other animals and about the nature of our relationships with those other animals. These questions range from humans' early history with other species; how we decide which animals are friends, which are pests, and which are food; in what sense we can own animals; how we understand (or don't) animals’ lives and experiences; how we domesticate some species and not others; how we communicate with other animals; whether other species inherently have rights; how humans come to work in partnership with other species; and how human emotional lives are affected by our relationships with animals. We'll read about and investigate these questions together, drawing on a range of disciplines such as anthropology, philosophy, linguistics, sociology, economics, anthrozooology, and psychology. As we do, we’ll discuss, argue, and write about what it means for humans to share our social worlds with animals. As a fundamentally interdisciplinary course, we touch on some classically "humanistic" concerns, such as the nature of visual and textual representation, and some classically "natural science" concerns, such as the biological foundations of cognition. First and foremost, though, the course uses a social scientific lens, pushing you to observe, interpret and analyze social behavior involving humans and other species in a wide-variety of contexts. In addition to our discussions together, guest speakers will discuss current issues related to human-animal relationships and we’ll take field trips to spaces where humans and animals interact.

Please be aware this class will occasionally deal with unpleasant and troubling topics (e.g., killing animals, laboratory testing on animals, industrial agriculture), and these issues can create strong emotions. While everyone is encouraged to express their opinion in this class — and I hope this material will stimulate debates and discussion — we’ll all need to be aware that each of us has different levels of discomfort around different topics and commit to being respectful, even while critically engaged, with one another.

In this course you’ll manage how we assess your progress through the course by choosing some activities and skipping others. Throughout the term, you’ll choose activities that have an associated number of points. Many of the activities you choose also allow you to determine how much of the activity you want to do, with different earning opportunities for different degrees of activity.

Organizing the course this way gives you a lot of freedom but also a lot of responsibility in managing how your performance is assessed. Except in cases of emergency, there are no make-ups, re-dos, or extra credit. You’ll earn points most easily by being critically engaged with the course material, with us and with your classmates; front-loading your course work early in the term; and treating low stakes activities as weekly homework. Life will be easiest in this course with steady progress throughout the term rather than heightened activity at a few points. We reward engagement. Engagement of course starts face-to-face, so at the very least, we assume you’ll to come to lecture and to section.


The LSA Honors Program invites applications to teach Honors Core 230/Linguistics 230: Living with Animals, beginning September 1, 2017.  Position is pending enrollment demand.

Effort for each section is 25%; GSIs are expected to teach two sections for a 50% appointment. 

As part of the Honors Core Curriculum, this course introduces Honors students to the fields, questions and meta-questions, and methodologies of the Social Sciences. This course is a discussion section of a larger lecture course and will provide regular guidance from the lead instructor of the course, collaboration with her and other GSIs in the course, and instructors and GSIs from other Honors Core Courses.  

Required Qualifications*

Good standing in a Rackham program in a relevant department.

Desired Qualifications*

Candidacy in a Ph.D. program in a relevant department; experience teaching introductory social science courses at UM or other college or university.

Contact Information

Questions may be sent to Donna Wessel Walker, Associate Director, LSA Honors Program,

Decision Making Process

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until positions are filled.

Selection Process

Candidates should submit cover letter and CV through the UM jobs portal. 

GEO Contract Information

The University will not discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, marital status, familial status, parental status or pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, height, weight, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, HIV antibody status, political belief, membership in any social or political organization, participation in a grievance or complaint whether formal or informal, or any other factor where the item in question will not interfere with job performance and where the employee is otherwise qualified. The University of Michigan agrees to abide by the protections afforded employees with disabilities as outlined in the rules and regulations which implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Information for the Office of Institutional Equity may be found at and for the University Ombuds at

Unsuccessful applications will be retained for consideration in the event that there are last minute openings for available positions. In the event that an Employee does not receive his or her preferred assignment, he or she can request a written explanation or an in-person interview with the hiring agents(s) to be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time.

This position, as posted, is subject to a collective bargaining agreement between the Regents of the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees' Organization, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO 3550.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.