Guns, ivory and elephant graveyards: The biopolitics of elephants' teeth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Through contextualised readings of European travel accounts both real and fictional, and economic histories of the ivory trade, this chapter shows how the ivory trade obscured the contradictory status of elephants as both fragmented objects - 'delivery systems' for ivory - and sentient, intelligent beings living in complex social structures. 'Elephants' teeth' become fetishised European objects, their living origins obscured. This chapter examines the ecological and biopolitical impact of the European trade in Africa on its people and its 'more-than-human' denizens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnimals and Humans
Subtitle of host publicationSensibility and Representation, 1650-1820
EditorsKatherine M Quinsey
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameOxford University Studies in the Enlightenment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • Sociology and Political Science


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