A long history of human hunting and habitat destruction has made the Indian tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) of South and SE Asia an endangered species. This project will examine the historical and cultural context for the ongoing conflict between people and tigers, from the period of the Mughal rulers (1526–1857), to British colonial rule (1858–1947) and independence (1947–present).
This project will map changing values attached to tigers, and the impact of colonialism and independence on regional value systems, synthesising written and artistic sources in British and Indian archives, as well as public and private collections between the 16th and 20th century. The pervading influence of The Jungle Book (1894) in shaping attitudes to the tiger in both Britain and India will be compared with the representation of the tiger in other forms of media. By scrutinising the role of the tiger in public education and how this has changed in the last century, the project will consider how knowledge has been transferred from scientific studies to the cultural sphere. Sources will include biology/zoology textbooks and pedagogical literature, as well as public outreach materials from scientific societies, zoos, and national parks.
Applicants are encouraged from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including history, anthropology and South Asia Studies. They should have a 2.1 degree and ideally undertake an MS or MSc in a relevant subject. While remaining with the scope of this project, they are invited to help shape a proposal to meet their interests and expertise.