Alasdair Pettinger studied at the Universities of Birmingham and Essex, completing his PhD in Literature in 1988 while working as a civil servant in London. Since 1992, he has been based in Glasgow, working at the Scottish Music Centre and pursuing his academic interests as an independent scholar. He has held visiting research fellowships at the University of Central Lancashire (2000), Nottingham Trent University (2004-2007) and the University of Liverpool (2010-2013).
He is the editor of Always Elsewhere: Travels of the Black Atlantic (1998), and has published a number of essays reflecting his (overlapping) interests in travel literature, the cultures of slavery and abolitionism, and representations of Haiti. His latest books are Frederick Douglass and Scotland, 1846 (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) and (co-edited with Tim Youngs), The Routledge Research Companion to Travel Writing (Routledge, 2019).
Other work explores the documentary and aesthetic possibilities of field recordings.