Professor Jerome Bump's "Sympathetic Imagination"
Posted: July 18, 2011
"Write either a Craigslist adoption ad for an animal on death row at the Town Lake Animal Shelter with only a few hours to live, or write a biography for one of the animals at Austin Pets Alive! whose adoption will enable them to rescue another one from death row.”
This assignment in three of Professor Jerome Bump’s courses has drawn the attention of ABC News on Campus , The Daily Texan, UWeekly Austin, COLA, and KNOW. In contrast to Vedder and others who are pushing for large classes, Bump points out that all three are small courses, essential for teaching writing, experiential and service learning, and the ethics and leadership training required by this university.
In her comment on the ABC news website, Sadia, a student in Bump’s E603 course wrote: “This project was the one we have been working towards for one and a half semesters, one we have prepared for by submerging ourselves in texts, documentaries, and discussions about animals, compassion, animal cruelty, and human capacity for good and evil. It wasn't until we actively got involved with APA! that the lessons we learned were driven home.” In her comment on the Uweekly website, Bianca, another student in the course, wrote that when she met her cat “I looked into his eyes and felt nostalgia—for family, for security, for home. . . the kind of “sympathetic imagination” we were trying to cultivate.”
Professor Bump, who has been teaching at the University of Texas at Austin for forty-one years, has rescued many animals. He now has two longhorns, two mustangs, a donkey, two pigs, three cats, and three dogs. He adopted one of the cats, Dinah, from APA!