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Explorations in Ethnoelephantology

Social, Historical, and Ecological Intersections between Asian Elephants and Humans

Piers Locke

Humans and elephants have lived together and shared space together in diverse ways for millennia. The intersections between these thinking and feeling species have been differently explored, for different reasons, by disciplines across the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Such disciplinary divisions, predicated on oppositions of human-animal and nature-culture, are integral to the configuration of modernist thought. However, posthumanist and biocultural thinking questions the underlying epistemological conventions, thereby opening up interdisciplinary possibilities for human-animal studies. In relation to issues of conflict and coexistence, this article charts the emergence of an interdisciplinary research program and discursive space for human-elephant intersections under the rubric of ethnoelephantology. Recognizing continuities between the sentient and affective lifeworlds of humans and elephants, the mutual entanglements of their social, historical, and ecological relations, and the relevance of combining social and natural science methodologies, the article surveys recent research from anthropology, history, and geography that exemplifies this new approach.

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Eleanor Sterling, Tamara Ticktin, Tē Kipa Kepa Morgan, Georgina Cullman, Diana Alvira, Pelika Andrade, Nadia Bergamini, Erin Betley, Kate Burrows, Sophie Caillon, Joachim Claudet, Rachel Dacks, Pablo Eyzaguirre, Chris Filardi, Nadav Gazit, Christian Giardina, Stacy Jupiter, Kealohanuiopuna Kinney, Joe McCarter, Manuel Mejia, Kanoe Morishige, Jennifer Newell, Lihla Noori, John Parks, Pua’ala Pascua, Ashwin Ravikumar, Jamie Tanguay, Amanda Sigouin, Tina Stege, Mark Stege, and Alaka Wali

, local communities ( Cochran et al. 2008 ). Elsewhere we have argued that in situ, culturally grounded approaches to developing indicators of human well-being and coupled ecological resilience—what we term biocultural approaches—can lead to effective

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Introduction

People and Plants

Kay E. Lewis-Jones

(FAO) and “80% of the people in developing countries use wild plants (many of them efficacious) for their primary health-care” ( Smith et al. 2011: 2 ), the loss of biocultural diversity and changing land use has placed many plants in peril during the

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J. Cristobal Pizarro and Brendon M. H. Larson

keystone species in this work connotes the meaning of “foundation” or “root” similar to the concept of biocultural keystone proposed by Ibarra et al. (2012) . Key species connote in turn the meaning of “unlocking” or “opening” (i.e., the gateways to new

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Humans, Plants, and Networks

A Critical Review

Laura Calvet-Mir and Matthieu Salpeteur

Komáromi 2013 ; Thomas and Caillon 2016 ). Mathieu Thomas and Sophie Caillon (2016 ) base their work on a rich ethnographic background to build three categories of plants according to their biocultural properties (for example, as prestige-related goods

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Brendon M. H. Larson

, ed. Richard J. Hobbs , Eric S. Higgs , and Carol M. Hall , pp. 66 – 80 . Oxford : Wiley–Blackwell . 10.1002/9781118354186.ch8 Pfeiffer , Jeanine M. , and Rorbert A. Voeks . 2008 . “ Biological Invasions and Biocultural Diversity

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Decoupling Seascapes

An Anthropology of Marine Stock Enhancement Science in Japan

Shingo Hamada

environmental, food, and identity issues, explore how the ocean can entangle fish and human lives and how multiple conflicting realities emerge. Elspeth Probyn (2016) problematizes the simplified historical view of the biocultural relatedness of oceanic fish

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Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

The Social Worlds of Wheat

Jessica Barnes

. 2014 . “ Genetic Fallout in Bio-Cultural Landscapes: Molecular Imperialism and the Cultural Politics of (Not) Seeing Transgenes in Mexico .” Social Studies of Science 44 : 901 – 929 . 10.1177/0306312714548258 Brush , Stephen . 2004 . Farmers