This semester, it may become a whole lot more common to hear people commenting on that annoying bitch or hot hound in lecture.
But with History of Science 137: “Dogs and How We Know Them,” a new course offered this semester, Professor Sarah Jansen is getting a pack of students drooling over the study of canines in the classroom. Jansen, whose course focuses on the role that dogs have played throughout history, is no newcomer to the study of four-legged animals. “The very first research paper that I ever wrote was about dogs,” said Jansen, who is also an experienced dog trainer.
The class has received an overwhelming response and currently has more than 100 students enrolled. But the study of the canis genus is not confined to the classroom. Some students’ tails are wagging over the optional trips to dog pounds and rescue shelters that Jansen will offer throughout the semester. “I’m really excited about the optional trips. I’ve never been to an animal rescue place,” said Megan E. Popkin ’11. “I’ve been to a pound and I was devastated. So I’m really excited about that.”
But while the class may allow students to indulge in their puppy love, it also features an eclectic reading list, with assignments ranging from investigative pieces such as “Pill-Popping Pets,” to quirky epics such as Virginia’s Woolf’s “Flush, a Biography.”
Although students might reasonably assume that their pets would want to attend lecture, the dogs on campus may not all agree. “We have one active service dog attending and he fell asleep during class, so I think it’s pretty boring for dogs,” Jansen said. Many students, however, seem to be excited about the opportunity to teach their canine friends a thing or two. “I’ve always had dogs running around at home, so I think it would be great if people could bring dogs to class,” said Alexandra P. Kass ’10.
Even if their furry friends may not agree, Jansen’s class will surely leave its two-legged students with something to chew on.