Professor of Criminology Piers Beirne has the honor of being the third recipient of the Provost's Research Fellowship for the 2012-2012 academic year. He will be focusing his research on William Hogarth's famous prints of 1751, The Four Stages of Cruelty, with the goal of publishing two journal articles; one on the Hogarth's representation of the animals featured in his work, the second on the particulars of this print collection.
The research will combine the fields of criminology, human-animal studies and art history as he strives to answer questions about this work of the 18th century English artist, painter, printmaker, and social critic. Among the questions he seeks to answer is why Hogarth limits the species victimized in this series to cats, dogs, sheep, and a horse, rather than the animals routinely killed by landed gentry: foxes, deer, partridge and pheasant.
Before arriving in USM, Professor Beirne taught sociology and criminology in England and Ireland. His publications include Criminology: A Sociological Approach (2010, fifth edition, with USM Professor Jim Messerschmidt, Oxford University Press); and Confronting Animal Abuse: Reflections on law, cruelty and speciesism (2008, Rowman and Littlefield).
A well-respected and leading scholar in the field of green criminology, he earned his PhD in Sociology from Durham University in England. Most recently, Beirne was one of two finalists under consideration to host eight one-hour shows on the Animal Planet TV channel about the links between animal cruelty and inter-human violence.
The USM Provost’s Research Fellowship is designed to allow a tenured professor the opportunity to spend time on activities related to research, creative work and scholarly attainment. Chosen through a competitive process, Research Fellows are given release time from teaching one class for two semesters, alloweing them to the time to proceed with their proposed research project.