Minding Birds: Culture, Cognition, and Conservation

Subject code


Course Number



M. Wright

Course Long Title

Minding Birds: Culture, Cognition, and Conservation


What are the consequences of minding birds, in several senses (caring for them, being bothered by them, endowing them with faculties of intellect and emotion, or simply believing that they have minds of their own)? This course invites students to take birds seriously as thinking, feeling neighbors by examining literary representations of birds from antiquity to the present alongside recent ornithological studies. Three distinct units focus on separate families: hawks, crows, and sparrows. Students venture outside to record field notes on local species in each of these groups, and compare their findings to representations in literary and scientific texts. Prerequisite(s): one 100-level English course.

Modes of Inquiry

Analysis and Critique [AC]

Writing Credit

No writing credit

INDS Program Relationship

IDES - ENVR Program