Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
Tufts University
Before the Crystal Wall: A Story of Love and Death, Chimpanzees, and Science

Dale Peterson, a lecturer in English at Tufts University, writes books primarily about nature, conservation, evolution, evolutionary theory, animals, and people who work with animals. He has recently finished two books, one about giraffes and the other a narrative based on his recent travels across Africa in search of apes, elephants, and giraffes.

Peterson’s current project examines how we see animals, and it does so primarily as a nonfiction narrative that incorporates the personal stories of several researchers who worked at Jane Goodall’s research site from 1967 to 1969. Part of the narrative has to do with the complex and sometimes painful social relationships that developed among the people working in this isolated piece of African forest, and part considers the surprising relationships that emerged between some of the people and some of the animals they studied. Peterson intends to create a gripping story that feels like fiction, while at the same time raising serious questions about the nature of the scientific method in animal research and the human perception of nonhuman animals.

Peterson received his BA in English and psychology from the University of Rochester in 1967 and a PhD in English from Stanford University in 1977. His 17 published books have been translated into nine foreign languages.

2013–2014 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo