New York University has created an Animal Studies Initiative to support research and curriculum development in the emerging field of animal studies. The Animal Studies Initiative will be housed in NYU’s Environmental Studies Program and directed by Dale Jamieson, professor of environmental studies and philosophy and affiliate professor of law at NYU’s School of Law.
The Initiative has received a $1 million gift from Bradley L. Goldberg, former Executive Vice President at Jennison Associates LLC, a subsidiary of Prudential Financial. Goldberg is a graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business and currently dedicated to philanthropy for animal-related causes. This commitment will support a number of core activities within the Initiative, including NYU’s newly established Animal Studies minor and related scholarship at the University.
“The interdisciplinary field of Animal Studies has developed rapidly over the past two decades, opening up new areas of research both within and between many existing academic fields,” said Jamieson. “Animal Studies addresses questions about the uniqueness of human beings with respect to other animals, the moral status of animals and their cultural meanings, and the roles they play in our imagination and arts.”
Animal Studies explores the complex and multi-faceted relationship between animals and humans. The Boston Globe recently observed that the field “is broad enough to include doctors researching why visits by dogs seem to make people in hospitals healthier, art historians looking at medieval depictions of wildlife, and anthropologists…exploring the evolution and variation of animal domestication.”
The Animal Studies minor draws upon NYU’s faculty base in Environmental Studies, Sociology, English, Drama, Anthropology, and other schools, departments and programs. The minor offers opportunities to advance understanding of the current treatment of animals and the roles of animals in society, arts, media, culture, communication, ethics, food, literature, law and public policy.
“I am delighted to see this significant indication of NYU’s commitment to the area of human-animal studies, and hope that this effort will play a meaningful role in improving the understanding and treatment of animals in our society,” said Goldberg. “I am particularly excited by the newly established minor in Animal Studies at such a distinguished institution. I believe that it will lead to an increased focus on interdisciplinary animal studies in the United States and worldwide.”
In 2007, NYU created an Environmental Studies major, which encompasses the following areas of inquiry: environmental science; environmental values, policy, and law; earth system science; public health; urban environmental problems; climate change; energy systems; and environmental monitoring and justice.
For questions about the Animal Studies minor, which launches in the Spring of 2011, email firstname.lastname@example.org.