Summer school in Wien – Humans/Animals. A Contested Boundary Vienna, July 7 –18, 2014

2nd Call for Application
Application deadline: January 31, 2014
VISU Vienna International Summer University
SWC Scientific World Conceptions
Since 2001 the University of Vienna and the Institute Vienna Circle have been holding an annual two-week summer program dedicated to major current issues in the natural and social sciences, their history and philosophy. The title of the program reflects the heritage of the Vienna Circle which promoted interdisciplinary and philosophical investigations based on solid disciplinary knowledge.
As an international interdisciplinary program, VISU-SWC brings graduate students in close contact with world-renowned scholars. It operates under the academic supervision of an International Program Committee of distinguished philosophers, historians, and scientists. The program is directed primarily to graduate students and junior researchers in fields related to the annual topic, but the organizers also encourage applications from gifted undergraduates and from people in all stages of their career who wish to broaden their horizon through crossdisciplinary studies of methodological and foundational issues in science.
The summer course consists of morning sessions, chaired by distinguished lecturers which focus on readings assigned to students in advance. Afternoon sessions are made up of tutorials by assistant professors for junior students and of smaller groups which offer senior students the opportunity to discuss their own research papers with one of the main lecturers.
Humans/Animals. A Contested Boundary
Vienna, July 7 –18, 2014
organized by the University of Vienna and the Institute Vienna Circle.
A two-week high-level summer course on questions related to fundamental problems of the boundary between humans and animals, spanning a wide range of topics in philosophy, ethics and biology, and addressing historical and epistemological issues from an international perspective.
Main Lecturers:
Richard Burkhardt (University of Illinois)
Susan Jones (University of Minnesota)
Georgina Montgomery (Michigan State University)
Guest Lecturer
Herwig Grimm (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna)
International Program Committee
John Beatty (British Columbia), Maria Carla Galavotti (Bologna), Malachi Hacohen (Duke), Rainer Hegselmann (Bayreuth), Michael Heidelberger (Tübingen), Paolo Mancosu (Berkeley), Elisabeth Nemeth (Vienna), Miklós Rédei (London), Friedrich Stadler (Vienna), Michael Stöltzner (South Carolina), Roger Stuewer (Minnesota), Thomas Uebel (Manchester)
Karoly Kokai (Secretary of the VISU, Vienna)
The main Lecturers
Richard Burkhardt
Richard W. Burkhardt, Jr. (PhD, History of Science, Harvard, 1972) is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of The Spirit of System: Lamarck and Evolutionary Biology (Harvard 1977) and Patterns of Behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and the Founding of Ethology (Chicago 2005) (winner of the 2006 Pfizer Prize). His research focuses on the history of evolutionary theory, the development of biological studies of animal behavior, and the history of zoos. He is currently writing a scientific and cultural history of the menagerie of the Muséum d‘Histoire Naturelle in Paris. For additional publications see his website:
Susan Jones
Susan D. Jones is Professor and Director of the Program in the History of Science and Technology, and Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis USA). She is also a veterinarian and serves as Co-President of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine ( Her publications include the books Valuing Animals (2003) and Death in a Small Package (2010) and several articles about the history of human-animal relationships and zoonotic disease. For further information see her faculty website,
and the website for the Program in the History of Science and Technology,
Georgina Montgomery
Georgina M. Montgomery is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in both Lyman Briggs College and the Department of History. She also co-chairs the History of Science Society’s Women Caucus and hosts a women in science digital collection. Her publications include the edited volume Making Animal Meaning (2011), book chapters on teaching animal histories and gender and evolution, and articles on the history of primatology in Endeavour and the Journal for the History of Biology. Further information can be found on her faculty website
The Guest Lecturer
Herwig Grimm
Herwig Grimm studied philosophy at the Universities of Salzburg, Zurich and Munich, main emphasis on ethics and applied ethics. From 2011 he has been a professor and the head of the unit “Ethics and Human-Animal-Studies” at the Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna. His main fields of research are Applied animal ethics/ ethics of farm animal welfare, Pragmatism in applied ethics, Orientation towards practice in ethics, Methods of problem-oriented and applied moral philosophy and Crossroad issues of natural sciences and humanities.
Humans/Animals. A Contested Boundary
What are our cultural, ethical, biological, and historical relationships to the non-human animals that inhabit the planet with us? How have our perceptions of the similarities and differences between humans and animals changed over time, and what lies ahead? Claude Lévi-Strauss’s famous observation that “animals are good to think with“ becomes ever more potent when viewed in terms of the different ways that the human/animal boundary has been constructed in different socio-historical contexts. This course will engage with historical, philosophical, political and sociological dimensions of human-animal interactions as well as the epistemology of the sciences used to study animals.
Specific Topics:
The human-animal boundary from Descartes to Darwin to the present; Anthropomorphism; The study of animal behavior; Animals in institutions (zoos and labs); Wild animals, domestic animals, pets and vermin; Diseases crossing the human-animal boundary; Humans and other primates; Aggression, gender, sexuality, and parenting in animals and humans; Archaezoology; Teaching courses in human-animal interactions
Cost of the program: EUR 880,–
Lodging in student dormitories is available at approximately EUR 400-450 for the whole duration of the course.
Applicants should submit:
A short educational curriculum vitae
A list of most recent courses and grades or a copy of your diplomas
A one-page statement (in English), briefly outlining your previous work and your reason for attending the VISU-SWC
A (sealed) letter of recommendation from your professor, including some comment on your previous work. This letter may also be sent directly by your professor.
A passport photo
Please make sure that all documents arrive in time because we can process only complete applications.
Please send the application form, available on our web site, in advance.
To participate mastering English on a high level is required.
Application deadline: January 31, 2014 (Later applications may be considered if space is still available.)
A letter of admission together with a detailed syllabus will reach successful applicants by mid-February, 2014.
The administration of VISU-SWC at the University of Vienna can assist the candidates admitted in applying for funds and in the accreditation of the course, but unfortunately, cannot offer financial assistance. However, for a few gifted applicants who can demonstrate that, despite serious documented efforts, they have not been able to obtain any financial support, in particular due to economic difficulties in their own country, a tuition waiver grant, awarded by the Institute Vienna Circle and the University of Vienna, will be provided.
Applications should be sent to
Professor Friedrich Stadler, Institute Vienna Circle
University Campus, Spitalgasse 2–4, Hof 1, Eingang 1.13
A-1090 Vienna, Austria
For further inquiries, please send email to or consult the IVC’s Web site