Associate Professor Tulasi Srinivas’s class is going to the birds!
Her prized pets, an African Grey Parrot named Carnie Parrot Williams and a Green-cheeked Conure, named Monster Williams, were ushered into her Gender in a Global Perspective class on December 10 as an end-of-semester treat for students.
Srinivas, an anthropologist teaching in the Communication Studies Department, said she wanted the students to get at least one glimpse of her birds after referring to their behavior during lessons throughout the semester.
“It’s great to show real-life examples,” she said. “My parrots were part of a story that unwound gradually over the semester and it makes the students curious.”
Srinivas said the African Grey Parrot has intelligence similar to that of a young child and, over time, learned to say phrases such as “I love you.”
“I use them as tools to unpack our understanding of learning and self,” she said. “How do you move from a state of survival to one of love and rationality?”
Srinivas revealed interesting observations of her birds. She said Carnie Parrot Williams only calls himself “Carnie,” but calls other parrots “birds.”
“Similarly, we understand ourselves not as humans but as our names, and we look at other people as ‘human beings,’” she said.