Eastern Professor Examines Role of Elephants in Southeast Asia

During a Q & A, Davis referenced how Hannibal famously led an army of war elephants across the Alps as part of his war machine.

On April 17, Bradley Davis, associate professor of history, presented a talk titled “An Elephant’s Eye View: Megafauna and Dominion in Southeast Asia.”

As a member of a multi-disciplinary team working on the history of elephant populations in Africa, Europe and Asia, Davis has worked with anthropologists, forest ecologists, and biologists to reexamine the cultural history of large animals and their relationships with humans.

Davis’ talk covered findings from recent archival research in Vietnam, including a case of death by elephant from the 1830s. 

Davis and his colleagues, who began their interdisciplinary investigation in Singapore this past November, will continue with a meeting in Paris this summer.

Davis’ work on elephants is part of his second book project, an environmental history of Vietnam, which he will complete during his sabbatical leave as a visiting fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University this fall.

Written by Dwight Bachman