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'Distinguished' new course

By Akeem Mellis

The relationship between humans and animals has always been important to Ralph Acampora, an associate professor in the philosophy department. Now, his studies and writing on the subject have earned him an award from the Humane Society of the United States.

Acampora recently won the Distinguished New Course Award in the 10th annual Animals and Society Course Awards for his course

An(im)alogies of Moral Monstrosity. The course delves into issues such as the similarities between uses of animals and atrocities that have taken place against humans.

"The philosophy department is pleased [to hear] about the recognition that Acampora's innovative and challenging course has received," said Ira Singer, the chair of the Department of Philosophy.

Being honored with the Distinguished New Course Award is not the first time Acampora has been highlighted for his work. In 2006, he wrote the book, "Corporal Compassion: Animal Ethics and Philosophy of Body," where he discussed the mortality between humans and animals by looking at the experiences between the two groups.

He also co-authored "A Nietzchean Bestiary," a collection of essays by 19th Century philosopher Fredrich Nietzche, in 2003.

Colleagues in his department, such as Singer, have praised Acampora for his work in his subject field and paid close attention to him as a professor.

During his five years at the University, Professor Peter Fristedt has worked with Acampora and has nothing but nice words to say about him. "He's a very good colleague, a nice guy. Acampora is very smart, and good to have around," he said.

Fristedt recognizes that Acampora's work is interesting given the subject he has focused on. "If you're someone who is concerned about animal rights, this is very important work," he said.

In addition, Acampora's work is seen as just another way in which philosophy helps us, Fristedt said. "Philosophy is supposed to help us live our lives, including with the relationship between humans and animals. [Acampora] is a good resource to help us with that."

Acampora was the only American winner out of the three major categories set up by the Humane Society of the United States. The other two winners both came from the United Kingdom. Criteria used to determine the winner included the depth and rigor of the topic, its impact on the study of animals and society and originality.

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