Welcome to the Anthropology Department
Welcome to the University of the Western Cape

NEW POSTGRADUATE MODULE IN ANIMAL STUDIES — The closing date for application for funding is 31 January 2019!

Animals and the Environment – Soc 739/Soc839

The department is excited to announce the launch of a new post-graduate module in animal studies (at both Honours SOC 739 and Masters SOC 839 levels) for the second semester in 2019. The module Animals and the Environment focuses on the relations between animals, environmental change and human cultural mediation.

The course is funded by the Animals and Society Institute (ASI) and is part of the fifth Annual Human-Animal Studies International Development Project (HASIDP), which aims to provide one non-American university per year the resources to build human-animal research programmes.

The Department of Anthropology and Sociology at UWC has been selected as the recipient of the award in 2019. The department will receive financial and consultative support in order to create and market the modules, for administrative assistance, and towards the cultivation of institutional and extra-institutional partners. As part of the award,  the university will also host a visiting senior HAS Fellow.

Students will be exposed to a wide range of expert lecturers and researchers drawn from different disciplines, faculties and institutions. They will also be taken on field trips, attend movie screenings and presentations by activists and animal and environmental protection professionals.

There are six (6) small bursaries available at Honours and Masters levels—R10 000 (Honours) and R20 000 (Masters). Students are required to register for the module as well as select a topic of research within the broad field of Human Animal Studies (HAS) for their thesis.

If you are interested registering for this module in 2019 and would like to apply for financial assistance, please send a letter of motivation and possible research topic to the convener, Dr Sharyn Spicer sspicer@uwc.ac.za.

The closing date for application for funding is 31 January 2019.


  • Animals, social stratification and inequality (dog breeds and status, racialisation and dehumanisation; gender and pet-keeping, speciesism and intersectionality)
  • Animal/ human conflicts (wildlife management; game farms; baboons; ‘problem’ animals, predators and farming)
  • Animals, criminality and deviance (masculinity, gangsterism and pit-bull fighting; poaching)
  • Animals, risk and Public Health (pet over-population, feral animals and strays; rats in City of Cape Town; urban agriculture and informal abattoirs; bird flu; rabies and other zoonoses)
  • Animals as food (health consequences, welfare and ethical implications, food [in]security; veganism and vegetarianism)
  • Animals, Human Health and Welfare (Humane Education as an antidote to social violence; Making the connections – the Link between domestic violence, child and animal abuse; animals as therapy and animal assisted interventions)
  • Social and cultural beliefs and attitudes about animals (Animals in literature, African folklore, language and art, Religion and animals)
  • Indigenous knowledge systems and animals (Thinking about the Use of Plants as Ethno-Veterinary Medical Replacements)
  • Contested animal practices (Hunting, ritual slaughter, zoos, circuses)
  • Animal rights, animal welfare and environmental justice (Animals in Law, legislation and the Constitution; policy issues)
  • Beastly histories / Beastly Sociology (dogs, cattle, cats and horses, etc.)
  • Animals, work and the economy (animal labour; abattoir workers, animal welfare personnel, exploitation, workplace hazards and dangers, desensitization and psychological distress)