Wade Davis (anthropologist)

Wade Davis (born January 14, 1953) CM is a Canadian anthropologist , ethnobotanist , author, and photographer Whose work has focused on worldwide indigenous cultures, met name in North and South America and met name Involving the traditional uses and beliefs associated with psychoactive plants. Davis cameramen to Prominence with his 1985 best-selling book The Serpent and the Rainbow about the zombies or Haiti . Davis is Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia .

Davis has published popular articles in Outside , National Geographic , Fortune , and Conde Nast Traveler .

Davis is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society . Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has leg DESCRIBED as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” In recent years his work has tasks im to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, Polynesia, Tibet, Mali, Benin, Togo, New Guinea, Australia, Colombia, Vanuatu, Mongolia, and the high Arctic or Nunavut and Greenland.


An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and RECEIVED his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent about three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living onder fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections. In 1974, at the age of 20, he crossed the Darien Gap on foot in the company of the celebrated English author and amateur explorer, Sebastian Snow . [1] His work later took im to Haiti to Investigate folk préparations implicated in the creation of zombies , an assignment therein led to his writing Passage of Darkness (1988) and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international bestseller and, Loosely, the base or a horror film .

His other books include Penan: Voice for the Borneo Rainforest (1990), Shadows in the Sun (1993), Nomads of the Dawn (1995), The Clouded Leopard (1998), Rainforest (1998), Light at the Edge of the World (2001), The Lost Amazon (2004), Grand Canyon (2008), Book of Peoples of the World (ed. 2008) and One River (1996), welke was nominated for the 1997 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. His books port leg translated JSON fourteen languages, zoals Basque, Serbian, Japanese and Malay.

A native of British Columbia, Davis, a licensed river guide, has worked as a park ranger, forestry engineer, and conducted Ethnographic fieldwork onder verschillende indigenous societies or northern Canada. He has published 180 scientific and popular articles on subjects ranging from Haitian vodoun and Amazonian myth and religion to the global biodiversity crisis, the traditional use of psychotropic drugs , and the ethnobotany of South American Indians. Davis has written for National Geographic , Newsweek , Premiere , Outside , Omni , Harpers , Fortune , Men’s Journal , Condé Nast Traveler , Natural History , Scientific American , National Geographic Traveler , The New York Times , Wall Street Journal , Washington Post , The Globe and Mail , and numerous other international publications. Davis is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP)

His photographs port Appeared in some 20 books and morethan 80 magazines, journals and Newspapers, zoals National Geographic , Time , GEO , People , Men’s Journal , Outside , and National Geographic Adventure . Way Down port leg exhibited at the International Center of Photography (ICP), the Marsha Ralls Gallery, Washington, DC, the United Nations (Cultures on the Edge exhibition 2004), the Carpenter Center or Harvard University , and the Utama Center, Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia. Select images are part of the permanent collection of the US State Department , Africa and Latin America offices.

Davis is the co-curator of The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes , first exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History , Smithsonian Institution , and Currently touring Latin America.

A first collection of Davis’ photographs, Light at the Edge of the World , Appeared in 2001 published by National Geographic Books , Bloomsbury and Douglas & McIntyre. A second collection is under contract for fall 2011 publication with Douglas & McIntyre .

Davis’ research has leg the subject or morethan 800 media reports and interviews in Europe, North and South America and the Far East, and has inspired numerous documentary films as well as three episodes of the television series, The X-Files.

A professional speaker for over twenty years, Davis has lectured at the American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, California Academy of Sciences , Missouri Botanical Garden , Field Museum of Natural History , New York Botanical Garden , National Geographic Society , Royal Ontario Museum , the Explorer’s Club , the Royal Geographical Society , the Oriental Institute, the Chattauqua Institute, the World Bank , the Inter-American Development Bank as well as some 400 Renowned educational institutions, zoals Harvard, MIT , Oxford, Yale , Stanford , UC Berkeley , Duke, Vanderbilt, University of Pennsylvania , Tulane, Georgetown, and St. George’s School.

He has spoken at the Aspen Institute , Bohemian Grove and on numerous occasions for the Young Presidents’ Organization and at the TED Conference . His clients port included Amongst others Microsoft , Shell , Hallmark , Fidelity Investments , Bank of Nova Scotia , Mackenzie Financial , Healthcare Association of Southern California, National Science Teachers Association , NDMA (non-prescriptive Drug Manufacturers Association), International Baccalaureate , European Council of International Schools , Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists , Canadian Association of Exploration Geophysicists, American Trial Lawyer’s Association, American Judges Association, American Bankers Association , Centaur Technology , Canadian Association of Actuaries , Canadian Veterinary Medical Association , as well as verschillende leading pharmaceutical companies waaronder Warner -Lambert , Bayer , Miles, Bristol-Myers , and Abbott Laboratories .

An Honorary Research Associate of the Institute of Economic Botany of the New York Botanical Garden, he is a Fellow of the Linnean Society , Fellow of the Explorer’s Club, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society . Davis was a founding board member of the David Suzuki Foundation and have Recently COMPLETED a six-year term on the board of the Banff Centre , Canada’s leading institution for the arts. He has served on the Board of Directors since 2009 for the Amazon Conservation Association , Whose mission is to preserver the biological diversity of the Amazon. [2] In 2009 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures , Canada’s most prestigious public intellectual forum.

Davis was the series creator, host and co-writer of Light at the Edge of the World , a four-hour Ethnographic documentary series, shot in Rapa Nui , Tahiti , the Marquesas , Nunavut , Greenland, Nepal and Peru , welke is Currently airing in 165 countries on the National Geographic Channel and in the USA on Smithsonian Networks .

Davis is a principal character in the MacGillivray Freeman IMAX film, Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk , released in the spring of 2008. Currently playing in 55 Theatres worldwide, the film has grossed morethan $ 25 million. Other television credits include the award winning documentaries, Spirit of the Mask , Cry of the Forgotten People , Forests Forever , and Earthguide , a 13-part television series on the environment, welke Aired on the Discovery Channel in 1990.

Davis has Recently COMPLETED a new four-hour series for the National Geographic, Ancient Voices / Modern World , welke was shot in Australia, Mongolia, and Colombia. It is Currently airing worldwide on the National Geographic Channel as the second season of Light at the Edge of the World .

Davis is a member of the International Advisory Board, Hunt Consolidated, PLNG, and have died Currently Engaged in a three-year campaign, Journey to Zero, an effort sponsored by Nissan and TBWA to support zero emission vehicles .

When not in the field, Davis and his wife Gail Percy divide hun time tussen Washington, DC, Vancouver and the Stikine Valley of northern British Columbia. Way Down have two children.

In late 2013, Davis joined the University of British Columbia as a research and teaching faculty. [3]

Criticisms of work in Haiti

In 1983, Davis first advanced his hypothesis therein tetrodotoxin (TTX) poisoning Could explain the existence or Haitian zombies . [4] This idea has leg controversial and his popular 1985 follow-up book ( The Serpent and the Rainbow ) elaborating upon this claim has leg criticized for a number of scientific inaccuracies. [5] One of These is the suggestion dat Haitian witchdoctors kan keep “zombies” in a state of pharmacologically induced trance for many years. [6] As part of his Haitian investigations, Davis commissioned the exhumation of a Recently buried child. [7] [8] (Dead human tissue is Con to be a part of the “zombie powder”-used by witchdoctors to produce zombies.) This has leg criticized in the professional literature as a breach of ethics. [9] [10]

The strictly scientific criticism of Davis’ zombie project has focused on the claims about the chemical composition, or the “zombie powder”. Several samples of the powder ulcers Analyzed for TTX levels by experts in 1986. Way Down Reported [11] dat only “insignificant traces of tetrodotoxin [ulcers found] in the samples or zombie powder” welke ulcers supplied for analysis by Davis ‘and that’ it kan be concluded therein the widely circulated claim in the lay press to the effect therein tetrodotoxin is the causal agent in the initial zombification process is without factual foundation “. Davis claims ulcers subsequently defended by other scientists doing work area analysis [12] and synthesis findings ulcers criticized in turn for poor methodology and technique to the original skeptics. [13] Aside from the question whether Whether or not “zombie powder” contains significant Bedragen or TTX, the underlying concept of “tetrodotoxin zombification” has ook leg questioned more directly on a physiological basis. [14] TTX In this housing blocks sodium channels on the neural membranes, produces numbness, slurred speech, and Possibly paralysis or even respiratory failure and death in severe cases. If an isolated pharmacological agent, it is not Berninahaus to produce the trance-like or “mental slave” states Typical of the zombies or Haitian mythology, or whether Davis’ descriptions.

Awards and braces

This list is incomplete ; u can help with Expansion it .
  • 2002 Lowell Thomas Medal ( The Explorers Club ) [ citation needed ]
  • 2002 Lannan Foundation $ 125,000 prize for literary non-fiction [ citation needed ]
  • 2003: Honorary Degree (Doctorate of Sciences) from the University of Victoria [ citation needed ]
  • 2004: Honorary Member of The Explorers Club, one or twenty [ citation needed ]
  • 2008: Honorary Degree, University of Guelph [ citation needed ]
  • 2009: Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society [ citation needed ]
  • 2009: Speaker for the Massey Lectures , for his publication, The Wayfinders. [15]
  • 2011: The Explorers Medal, the Highest Award of The Explorers Club. [ Citation needed ]
  • 2010: Honorary Degree, Colorado College [ citation needed ]
  • 2010: Honorary Degree, University of Northern British Columbia (Doctorate of Laws) [ citation needed ]
  • 2012: David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration Considered the must prestigious prize for botanical exploration. [16]
  • 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize , winner, Into the Silence [17]
  • 2012: Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature , Shortlist, Into the Silence [18]
  • 2012: Governor General’s Literary Award , Shortlist, Into the Silence [19]
  • 2012: Banff Mountain Book Festival , Mountain & Wilderness Literature, Shortlist, Into the Silence [20]
  • 2015: Order of Canada with the grades or member [21]


As author

  • Davis, Wade (1985). The Serpent and the Rainbow . New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN  0-671-50247-6 .
    • 1997 edition retitled: The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard scientists’ [22] Astonishing Journey into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, zombies, and Magic .
  • Davis, Wade (1988). Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie . Robert F. Thompson, Richard E. Schultes. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN  0-8078-1776-7 .
  • Davis, Wade and Thom Henley (1990), Penan Voice for the Borneo Rainforest , Western Canada Wilderness.
  • Davis, Wade (1991), The Art of Healing shamanic , Cross Cultural Shamanism Network.
  • Davis, Wade (1996). One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest . New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN  0-684-80886-2 . [23]
  • Davis, Wade (1998). Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire . ISBN  1-55963-354-9 . (Published in Canada as The Clouded Leopard: A Book of Travels , Douglas & McIntyre , 1998)
  • Davis, Wade (2001). Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures . National Geographic. ISBN  0-7922-6474-6 .
  • Davis, Wade (2009). The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World . Toronto: Anansi Press. ISBN  0-88784-766-8 .
  • Davis, Wade (2009). Grand Canyon: River at Risk . San Rafael, CA: Earth Aware Editions. ISBN  1-60109-013-7 .
  • Davis, Wade (2011). Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest . New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN  0-37540-889-4 .
  • Davis, Wade (2012). River Notes: A Natural and Human History of the Colorado . Washington, DC: Island Press. ISBN  1-61091-361-2 .
  • Davis, Wade (2015). Los guardianes de la sabiduría Ancestral. Su importancia en el mundo moderno . Medellin, Colombia: Sílaba Editores. ISBN  978-958-8794-65-5 .

Photography books

  • Davis, Wade, Ian MacKenzie, and Shane Kennedy (1995), Nomads of the Dawn: The Penan of the Borneo Rainforest .
  • Osborne, Graham (Photographs) and Wade Davis (Text) (1998), Rainforest: Ancient Realm of the Pacific Northwest White River Junction, Vermont , Chelsea Green Publishing Company.
  • Davis, Wade (2004), The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes , Chronicle Books (Intro by Andrew Weil ).

As editor

  • Davis, Wade and K. David Harrison (2008) Book of Peoples of the World: A Guide to Cultures , National Geographic, (2nd edition).

Provided introduced, Foreword or afterword

  • Callañaupa, Nilda (2007), Weaving in the Peruvian Highlands , Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco.
  • Ranier, Chris (2004), Ancient Marks: The Sacred Art of Tattooing and Body Marking , Media 27, Inc.
  • Price, Travis (2006), Archaeology of Tomorrow , Earth Aware.
  • Semeniuk, Robert (2007), Among the Inuit , Raincoast Books.
  • Grand Canyon: A River at Risk (2008), Earth Aware Editions.
  • Canadian Geographic Atlas of Canada (2014), Harper Collins .


  • Earthguide (1991). Cinetel Productions for the Discovery Channel. 13-part documentary on environmental issues. Davis was host and co-writer.
  • “The Spirit of the Mask” (1992). Produced by Gryphon Productions. 1992. Davis was host and co-writer. 1 hour documentary.
  • “Cry of the Forgotten Land” (1993). 1 hour documentary on the Moi people of West Papua, New Guinea. Davis was storyteller / co-writer
  • “The Explorer” Life and Times (2002). Produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) DVD at Monarch Films. 1 hour Biographical documentary.
  • “Grand Canyon: River at Risk” (2008). 3D IMAX, MacGillivray Freeman Films. Davis was principal character.
  • Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey (2008). Produced in collaboration with Gryphon Productions. Filmed on location in New Mexico, Oaxaca, and Lowland Ecuador. Two-hour special for the History Channel-based Davis’ books One River (1996) and The Lost Amazon (2004). DVD available, A & E Television Network. Davis was host / co-writer / co-producer.
  • Light at the Edge of the World: Science of the Mind. Directed by Andrew Gregg, produktie at Davis and Andrew Gregg for National Geographic .


Wade Davis on Bookbits radio.
  • Davis’ research JSON “Haitian Zombies” was Explored in an episode of Science Channel’s Dark Matters: Twisted But True .
  • Davis’ research JSON “Haitian Zombies” was Mentioned in an episode or CUNY TV’s Science Goes to the Movies. [24]

See also

  • The Serpent and the Rainbow , the fictionalized horror movie based on Davis’s book by the co-naming and his doctoral dissertation.


  1. Jump up^ Snow, SebastianThe Rucksack Man, London:Sphere Books. 1977. pp. 199-244.
  2. Jump up^ “Amazon Conservation Association” .
  3. Jump up^ http://news.ubc.ca/2013/12/18/wade-davis-acclaimed-anthropologist-and-author-joins-the-university-of-british-columbia/
  4. Jump up^ Davis, Wade (1983),The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 9: 85-104.
  5. Jump up^ Hines, Terrence (2008), “Zombies and Tetrodotoxin” Skeptical Inquirer , Volume 32, Issue 3 (May / June), pp 60-62.
  6. Jump up^ Booth, W. (1988), “Voodoo Science”, Science , 240: 274-277.
  7. Jump up^ Davis, Wade (1985),The Serpent and the Rainbow, New York: Simon & Schuster, pp 92-95
  8. Jump up^ Davis, Wade (1988),Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie,University of North Carolina Press, pp 115-116.
  9. Jump up^ Booth,Op. cit.
  10. Jump up^ Anderson, WH (1988), “Tetrodotoxin and the Zombie Phenomenon”, Journal of Ethnopharmacology , 23: 121-126.
  11. Jump up^ Kao, CY and T. Yasumoto (1986), “Tetrodotoxin and the Haitian Zombie” Toxicon , 24: 747-749.
  12. Jump up^ Benedek, C. and L. River (1989), “Evidence for the presence of tetrodotoxin in a powder-used in Haiti for zombification”Toxicon, 27: 473-480
  13. Jump up^ Kao, CY and T. Yasumoto (1990), “Tetrodotoxin in Zombie Powder” “Toxicon, 28: 129-132.
  14. Jump up^ Hines,Op. cit. , Pg 62.
  15. Jump up^ CBC Massey Lecture Series 2009http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/massey/massey2009.html
  16. Jump up^ National Tropical Botanical Garden, Fairchild Awardhttp://ntbg.org/gardens/kampong-news.php?show=news&id=962
  17. Jump up^ Alison Flood (12 November 2012). “Into the Silence author Wade Davis profit Samuel Johnson award” . The Guardian . Retrieved November 13, 2012 .
  18. Jump up^ http://www.boardmantasker.com/site/shortlist2012.htm
  19. Jump up^ http://www.straight.com/article-799496/vancouver/six-bc-writers-shortlisted-2012-governor-generals-awards
  20. Jump up^ http://www.banffcentre.ca/mountainfestival/competitions/book/#3
  21. Jump up^ “Order of Canada Appointments” . The Governor General of Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston . Governor General of Canada . Retrieved 31 January 2015 .
  22. Jump up^ Davis was never actually on staff at Harvard.
  23. Jump up^ Bass, Joby (2000). “Review of One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest by Wade Davis.” Yearbook. Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers . 26 : 157-159. JSTOR  25,765,894 .
  24. Jump up^ http://scienceandfilm.org/articles/2680/science-goes-to-the-movies-zombies