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Academic & Professional Books  History & Other Humanities  Environmental History

Entangled Lives Human-Animal-Plant Histories of the Eastern Himalayan Triangle

By: Joy LK Pachuau(Author), Willem van Schendel(Author)
315 pages, plates with colour illustrations; maps
Entangled Lives
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  • Entangled Lives ISBN: 9781009215473 Hardback Nov 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
Price: £89.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

This book considers three questions about understanding the past. How can we rethink human histories by including animals and plants? How can we overcome nationally territorialised narratives? And how can we balance academic history-writing and indigenous understandings of history? This is a tentative foray into the connections between these questions. Entangled Lives explores them for a large area that has seldom been explored in academic inquiry. The 'Eastern Himalayan Triangle' includes both uplands and lowlands. The region is the meeting point of three global biodiversity hotspots connecting India and China across Myanmar/Burma, Bangladesh and Bhutan. The 'Triangle' is treated as a multispecies site in which human histories have always been utterly intertwined with plant and animal histories. It foregrounds that history is co-created – it is always interspecies history – but that its contours are locally specific.


List of Maps
List of Plates


Part I. The Deep Past:
1. An Epic Crash
2. Human Beginnings
3. Changing the Environment
4. Livelihoods

Part II. Cosmologies:
5. Stories of Human Origins
6. Human-animal Histories
7. Human-plant Histories

Part III. More-Than-Human Histories:
8. Cultural geographies
9. Exploiting Natural Resources
10. Dealing with Environmental Decay
11. The Elephant Strikes Back

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Customer Reviews


Joy L. K. Pachuau is a historian and anthropologist with an interest in Northeast India, gender studies, and the history of Christianity in Asia. Her recent works include Landscape, Culture and Belonging: Writing the History of Northeast India (2019, ed. with Neeladri Bhattacharya), Christianity in India: Issues of Culture, Power and Knowledge (2016, ed. with Tanika Sarkar et al.). She was awarded the Sneh Mahajan Prize for the best book in modern Indian history for 2012–14 by the Indian History Congress for her monograph Being Mizo, Identity and Belonging in Northeast India (2014).

Willem van Schendel works in the fields of history, anthropology, and sociology of Asia. Recent books include The Camera as Witness: A Social History of Mizoram, Northeast India (2015, with Joy L.K. Pachuau); A History of Bangladesh (new edition, 2020); and Flows and Frictions in Trans-Himalayan Spaces: Histories of Networking and Border Crossing (2022, ed. with Gunnel Cederlöf).

By: Joy LK Pachuau(Author), Willem van Schendel(Author)
315 pages, plates with colour illustrations; maps
Media reviews

"Entangled Lives builds on the fundamental insight that history is always interspecies history. With elegance and in-depth knowledge, Joy Pachuau and Willem van Schendel outline a new mode of writing history where the lives of animals and plants matter and where scholars have to rethink taken for granted geographies and temporalities. This is a highly ambitious project that takes us from the movement of tectonic plates to indigenous cosmologies in the region that they aptly name the 'Eastern Himalayan Triangle'. It is a marvellous read, a book full of telling accounts of human care for elephants, mithun, bamboo, areca nut and other living beings. Through these entangled histories of co-becoming, we face the larger question of how to survive on a damaged planet."
– Bengt G. Karlsson, Stockholm University, Sweden

"Reading Entangled Lives, is a most effective way of getting acquainted with the Eastern Himalayan Triangle, a territory that forms a geographical and ecological region, buttressed between India and China at the core of which lies North-East India. The Triangle cuts across many international boundaries raising fascinating questions for the historian. A striking feature of this study is the charting of inter-relationships between plant, animal and human life, drawing on the symbolism of local narratives and information from contemporary disciplines. The book is a most impressive statement on how these human societies have related to their landscape, cosmologies, histories, and informs us about the continuities from the past and the changes in the present. Maps and illustrations add to the readability of a very accessible text."
– Romila Thapar, Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

"Entangled Lives – the first more-than-human history of the Eastern Himalayan Triangle by two master historians – is a groundbreaking text on the accounts of storying the intertwinement of Himalayan geology, homo sapiens, animals, and plants in the span of 40,000 years, overcoming modern anthropocentric historiographies' blindness to nonhuman lifeworlds, and recounting the co-creating, co-becoming, and co-transforming roles of humans and nonhumans who have together shaped the shared habitability of the Triangle. The authors' planetary engagement with a regional interspecies history critically reaffirms the invaluable role of more-than-human perspectives in our understanding of locally-manifested planetary challenges!"
– Dan Smyer Yü, Yunnan University, China; International Faculty Member, Universität zu Köln, Germany

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