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The Elephant as a Key Symbol in Thailand

The Elephant as a Key Symbol in Thailand

Alexandra Denes is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University. Ms. Denes has spent over twelve years living, studying and working in the region of mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand and Laos. Her dissertation research, which was conducted in Surin province in 2002-2003, focuses on the myths, histories, and changing cultural practices of Thailand’s ethnic Khmer minority. Theoretically, she is interested in how nationalism, modernity, and globalization affect cultural identities and social practices, and how local communities interpret and negotiate these transformations. Ms. Denes has also lived and worked in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (1997-1998), where she conducted research for her Master’s thesis on the topic of wild foods and household food security, and in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she was enrolled as an exchange student through the College Year in Thailand Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison (1991-1992). Her interest in the region stems from a childhood spent living in Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.

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