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Modern China Lecture Series featuring E. Elena Songster – Presenting the Panda: The Symbolic Transformation of Animal to Ambassador to Advocate

March 23, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Speaker: E. Elena Songster, Professor of History, History Department, Saint Mary’s College of California

The giant panda stumbled into ambassador work. Profoundly successful, its diplomatic roles multiplied and evolved, but its persistent existence as an animal repeatedly reframed its role as a diplomat and beyond. Songster discusses findings from her book, Panda Nation: The Construction and Conservation of China’s Modern Icon (Oxford UP),  examining the history of the emergence of the giant panda as a national icon and the impact it has had on foreign policy and the natural environment.

Elena Songster’s research focuses on the environmental history of modern China.  She is currently researching medicinals found in nature through a historical lens. Other research projects include the history of snow leopard conservation and forestry history. Elena Songster teaches classes on Chinese History, Japanese History, Asian History, and World History.  She has also taught in the Collegiate Seminar Program, and JanTerm and serves on the Advisory Board for the Global and Regional Studies Program.

Part of the Modern China Lecture Series

Presented via Zoom Webinar


March 23, 2021
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

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