PAN Works is working hard to build out educational and training programs for students, professionals and the public. This is part of our long-term strategy to enhance the ethical capacities of individuals, organizations and communities. We call this PAN University or PAN U.
Our first offering is a field course studying the rewilding and wellbeing of Asian elephants in Thailand. This is not only an exciting opportunity to work with elephants in wild landscapes, but to study with Liv Baker – a leading scholar in the area of animal wellbeing and team lead for the Compassionate Conservation Initiative at PAN Works.
Asian Elephants: Animal Behavior and Wildlife Conservation in Thailand
Professor: Liv Baker, PhD (Animal Behaviour and Conservation Program at Hunter College, CUNY)
In partnership with the Mahouts Elephant Foundation, this yearly field course studies the wellbeing of Asian elephants in northern Thailand. Students investigate the behaviour, social dynamics, bioacoustics and foraging ecology of rewilded Asian elephants, as well as the human socio-cultural context of this type of conservation.
This research directly contributes to our knowledge of how rewilded elephants live in the forest, and what conservation practices help them to thrive. It also brings to bear the insights of new paradigms in ethics and science that promote the flourishing of people, animals and nature.
For curriculum questions, please contact Liv Baker.
Vicarious Wildness: An Animal-Assisted Philosophy (AAP) Intervention
Instructor: Mara-Daria Cojocaru, PhD (Fellow and Writer in Virtual Residence, PAN Works)
Animal-Assisted Philosophy (AAP) allows humans to learn from other animals and offers various learning experiences for people and, at this point, dogs: guided walks, workshops in open fields and online interventions. ‘Vicarious wildness’ is the first online intervention and serves as a foundation for further AAP-work. It is open to anyone interested in philosophy, dogs and wolves, and creatively exploring difficult topics – upon successful completion of an evaluation that helps determining whether the particular human and dog form a good AAP-team.
This intervention has three goals:
- to make people think critically about human-wolf-relations, exploring whether relatively high compassion for dogs can translate into higher compassion and concern for wolves in the wild;
- to reflect on the lure of ‘wild’ and its cognates. Before COVID-19, there had been an increased interest in wild environments and their preservation, reflected in a boom in wildlife tourism and nature writing. Such wild places are typically idealized as a condition or environment untouched by humans. Yet, such conditions and environments hardly exist anymore, and with COVID-19 being a zoonosis that is likely to have originated in humans encroaching on wildlife, it is a good prompt for people to reflect on the place of the wild in good or flourishing human and non-human lives.
- to strengthen the bond between participating humans and their dogs.
The following philosophical themes will be covered: myths and their role in views about human-animal-relations, ‘wild’/‘wildness’/‘beastliness’/‘wilderness’, ethics of human-dog-relations, theory of mind, play, ‘human nature’/‘being human’, relation between animal and environmental ethics, predation/living with predators, population control, aggression and conflict, interspecies communities and mutually beneficial relations.
For future dates, curriculum questions and more information including application instructions, please contact Mara-Daria Cojocaru.