Dr Peter Beatson
Peter Beatson has doctorates in English literature from Cambridge University (1974) and in sociology from the University of Provence (1978). Formerly an associate professor of sociology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, he is now retired, but remains an honorary research fellow at that institution. In the past, his two major areas of academic and personal interest were literature and the arts on the one hand, disability on the other. However, in 2005 he helped co-found an inter-disciplinary undergraduate course at Massey on animals and human society to which he still contributes. Although a comparative newcomer to the field of human-animal studies, he has developed a strong passion, both intellectual and humanitarian, for the subject. He feels his major potential contribution at this stage is the devising of an over-arching analytical framework for the study of human-animal interactions – a heuristic model that can be applied across historical, cultural and disciplinary boundaries. The text of the three lectures in which this model is outlined can be obtained by emailing Peter at the address below. His other nascent interest is in the representation of animals in world literature, with a particular focus for the moment on the depiction of animals in the fiction of the New Zealand writer Maurice Gee, about whom Peter is writing a book.