Thanzeel Nazer Vengalath

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Minnesota, Minneapolis-St.Paul, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10639

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Vengalath, Thanzeel Nazer (Minnesota, Minneapolis-St.Paul, U. of) ""Shoot that Elephant": An Ethnographic Study of Human-Wildlife Conflicts in Kerala, India"

The increasing number of Human-Wildlife conflicts in the forest frontier village of Kerala’s highlands have resulted in numerous deaths, injuries, and casualties to humans and non-humans. Measures and mitigation policies adopted by the state and officials often do not always solve the conflicts. Instead, they aid as a catalyst in escalating the conflicts. The village land becomes a stage of death and survival during the intense human-wildlife conflicts. The popular discourse around Human-Wildlife conflicts in Kerala frames humans as victims and wildlife as perpetrators. This study departs such an essentialist paradigm of human-wildlife conflict and demonstrates the complex diagram of the land and landscape. My research emphasizes that Human-wildlife conflicts cannot be told without acknowledging the complex socio-political stories of land, settlement, and agrarian transition. In this context, my research asks, how did certain non-humans become a deadly presence among human communities? How do state initiatives aimed at promoting equality among humans deepen the tensions between humans and non-humans? My research provides a detailed analysis and in-depth ethnography of violent human-wildlife conflicts in the highlands of Kerala, India.