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Art History Speaker Series: Jonathan Saha on “Decolonising Animals: Burmese Elephants and the End of Empire”

March 29 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm MDT

Friday, March 29, 2024

12:00 – 1:15 p.m. MT


The Boise State Department of Art, Design and Visual Studies and the Visiting Artist and Scholar Program are pleased to present Jonathan Saha, Professor of History at Durham University, as part of their 2023-2024 Art History Speaker Series: “Extinction.”

Saha is the author of Colonizing Animals: Interspecies Empire in Myanmar published by Cambridge University Press in 2021, which examines the animal history of British colonialism in Myanmar through an “interspecies lens.” His previous book  Law, Disorder and the Colonial State published in 2013, addressed the history of corruption in the Ayeyarwady Delta. He has also published on the history of imperial masculinity, crime, medicine and colonial psychiatry.

Saha will present on “Decolonising Animals: Burmese Elephants and the End of Empire.”

Saha says, “The growing call to decolonise Animal Studies and Environmental Humanities more broadly is overdue and welcome. The imperative to decolonise enables scholars in the field to better recognise the underlying hierarchies, biases, and occlusions in our research, encouraging us to find creative ways of reconceptualising our work anew. Nevertheless, there is something of a tendency in the literature towards considering decolonisation as an abstract process and a predominantly epistemological problem. This divorces decolonisation in the academy from social and political histories of decolonisation. By looking at what happened to Burmese elephants during the collapse of British imperialism in Myanmar, in my talk I argue that historical struggles for decolonisation can help to ground and hone what it means to decolonise our studies.”

To participate, please utilize the Zoom link below:

This event is free and open to the public.