What effect did British imperialism in Myanmar have on frogs? And, given that the lives of these small amphibian creatures were rarely ever recorded or preserved in archival collections, how might we find out? Sceptical readers may also wish to take a step back and ask, why should historians even care about their lives? These are unusual questions for a historian to confront, but they are occasioned by the deepening conversation between ecology and history. This paper delves into the ecological impact of colonial rule in Myanmar through the lives of Burmese elephants and the creatures that they lived alongside. In it I argue that the concepts of ‘accumulation’ and ‘cascade’ are useful for enabling historians to apprehend the full extent of the impact of imperialism on the lives of animals.
Saha, J. (2022). Accumulations and Cascades: Burmese Elephants and the Ecological Impact of British Imperialism. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 32, 177-197. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0080440122000044