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School of Language, Social and Political Sciences
Sociology and Anthropology
+64 3 3694390
Piers Locke studied social anthropology at the University of Kent, and South Asian Studies at SOAS, University of London. He completed his PhD at the University of Kent, and has held previous teaching appointments at the University of Kent and the University of Wales. He commenced ethnographic fieldwork on captive elephant management in Nepal in 2001, later apprenticing as a mahout in a government elephant stable in the Chitwan National Park. This research has been concerned with apprenticeship learning, occupational culture, the ritual veneration of elephants, and interspecies relations, while also addressing protected area management, biodiversity conservation, and ecotourism. The documentary “Servants of Ganesh” provides a portrait of the human-elephant community in which Piers resided, focussing on the training of a juvenile, captive-born elephant called Paras Gaj. Since his doctoral fieldwork, Piers’ theoretical interests have turned to posthumanism and multispecies ethnography, which have informed the development of ethnoelephantology- an interdisciplinary framework for collaboratively studying the social, historical, and ecological aspects of all kinds of human-elephant relation. This is exemplified by the recently published volume from Oxford University Press- Conflict, Negotiation, and Coexistence: Rethinking Human-Elephant Relations in South Asia.