ENGL318-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Reading Animals: Beast Fables to Graphic Novels

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


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


Any 30 points at 200 level from CULT or ENGL, or
any 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


Equivalent Courses

Course Coordinator

Annie Potts


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Essay 40%
Take home test 40%
Attendance 10%
Class presentation 10% 10 minutes

There is no final exam for this course.

Textbooks / Resources

• 'Under the Skin' by Michel Faber
• 'Laika' by Nik Abadzis

Required readings will be posted on Learn prior to lectures.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,641.00

International fee $7,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, 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 .

All ENGL318 Occurrences

  • ENGL318-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023