Broadly speaking my research is located in Animal Studies, also known as Anthrozoology or Human-Animal Studies.
My Doctoral research assessed the Sociology of human-animal relationships with a particular focus on the consequences for phenomenological and post-modern social theories of taking human-animal studies seriously. This entails an engagement with various disciplines including Social Anthropology and Criminology as well as Sociology. In particular my interests lie in the exclusionary nature of current epistemologies and the challenge that acknowledging the interdependence of human and animal lives offers to these established ways of knowing the social world. This enables me to work within a broad framework and analyse many different aspects of human-animal relationships including human-animal violence links, animal rights activism and activists, general social and cultural attitudes towards animals and the social construction of animals by various groups such as animal shelter workers. As such I work at both theoretical levels (e.g. analysing the interlinked oppressions of disenfranchised Others and current paradigms regarding the place of animals in human society) and pragmatic levels (e.g. assessing the needs of those in violent familial relationships who have companion animals). My work is informed by feminist and Foucauldian analyses of power and by actor-network and other post-humanist critiques of traditional social theory.
Current Research Projects
I am currently involved in various research projects:
- With Dr Tania Signal (CQUniversity), From Gate to Plate: Perspectives on Contemporary Food Production and Animal Welfare.
- With Dr Tania Signal, Equine facilitated Therapy as Treatment for Children and Adolescents who have been sexually abused. Analysis of the efficacy of an adjunct EAT therapy.
- With Dr Tania Signal, Canine facilitated Therapy as Treatment for children who have been sexually abused. Analysis of the efficacy of an adjunct AAT therapy.
- With Dr Heather Fraser (Flinders University), Investigating the Gendered Experiences of Companion Animals.
- With Dr Heather Fraser, Academics and/or Advocates? Negotiating Controversial Issues in Teaching Human-Animal Studies.
Current Writing Projects
I am currently writing two books:
- Multi-Species Ethnography: Power, Politics and Philosophy after Humanism, with Lindsay Hamilton (Keele University), Palgrave, due 2016.
- Working from the Margins in the Neoliberal Academy: Intersecting Privilege
and Oppression, with Heather Fraser (under review).
I am currently the managing Editor for Society & Animals: Journal of Human-Animal Studies.
I am also an Associate review board member of Sociology and a member of the editorial advisory board for Anthrozoos. Additionally, I review on an ad hoc basis for Critical Criminology; Journal of Contemporary Ethnography; Australian Animal Law Protection Journal; and the Journal of Critical Animal Studies.
Australian Animal Studies Group; New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies (Honorary Member); Animals and Society Institute US (Charter Scholar and member of HAS Executive Committee); Minding Animals Australia; Human-Animal Research Group (HARG: University of Adelaide); British Sociological Association; Flinders Institute of Public Policy and Management, and the Gender and Sexuality Studies research cluster at Flinders University.
The Australian veterinary Forensics, Law and Animal Conference, 2012. Keynote speech, with Dr Tania Signal, “Condoned Harm, the Criminal Justice System and Penalties for Animal Abuse.”
The 23rd New Zealand Companion Animal Conference, October, 2012, “Human-Animal Relationships: The Link to Society.
Animals, People – a Shared Environment’, the 4th Biennial Australian Animals Studies Group Conference, Brisbane, July, 2012, with Dr Tania Signal, A Different Cut? Comparing Attitude to Animals & Propensity for Aggression within two Primary Industry Cohorts: Farmers & Meatworkers.
Animal assisted therapy: Improving the lives of child sexual abuse victims. Australian College for Child & Family Protection Practitioners Conference, Brisbane, May 2009, with Dr Tania Signal and Kathy Prentice.
Reducing the incidence of human/animal abuse. Invited Presentation: Humane Education: a compassionate ethic for animals, Brisbane, October, 2007, with Dr Tania Signal.