Michelle Szydlowski

Creativity, 2024, Grantee Link >

Michelle Szydlowski received a grant for “The Complex Lives of Cultural Icons: A Captive Elephant Biography Project,” which attempts to identify the ways in which Nepalese working elephants are defined and discussed. Biographical writing can demonstrate individual animal agency and make animals’ roles more visible in society. Likewise, biographies are a novel way to allow more-than-human animals to co-produce their identity, allowing readers to better assess individuals’ physical and psychological needs. Biographical writing encourages concern for animal lives and acknowledges their intrinsic rights. For more on the project, visit: https://internationalelephants.org/.

Michelle Szydlowski is Visiting Assistant Professor at Miami University, where she holds a Ph.D. in Anthrozoology. Michelle’s current research focuses on captive elephants in Nepal, their health and welfare, and the health and welfare of the members of marginalized communities who care for them. Her research includes an examination of governmental, NGO, and INGO programs that purport to help captive elephants and how their interactions impact both population-level health and individual elephant lives.