Subject: Speaker Series - July 7th 5:30 PM, Natsagdorj library

ACMS Speaker Series
 Place Identity, Homeland Narratives and Transnational Migration Decisions in western Mongolia
Speaker: Holly Barcus

5:30 PM, Tuesday - July 7th, 2015, American Corner, Ulaanbaatar public library

Accompanying the dissolution of the USSR and the formation of new nation states in the 1990s, nearly half of Mongolian Kazakhs migrated from their adopted home of Mongolia to the imagined homeland of Kazakhstan.  By 2000, a sizable percentage returned to Mongolia.  In explaining their decisions to stay in or to return to Mongolia, the Kazakhs we interviewed cite several culturally specific factors.  Place identities, as expressed through cultural elements of religiosity, kinship ties, and language versatility tie Mongolian Kazakhs strongly to western Mongolia while meta-narratives about diaspora and homeland prescribe identity with Kazakhstan.  Utilizing life history interiviews, participant observation, and questionnaire data we argue that Mongolian Kazakhs actively employ narratives of their cultural history to re-create and re-establish place identities in Mongolia and ultimately re-imagine Mongolian-Kazakh community and identity.  These recreated place identities have emerged among Mongolian Kazakhs who chose to remain immobile or return migrate from the 'homeland' of Kazakhstan.
About the Presenter

  About the Speaker: Holly Barcus

As a broadly trained population geographer her research interests focus on ethnic minority migration, rural livelihood sustainability, and the implications of migration for rural communities.  She works primarily in two regions of the world, Mongolia and North America.  
Funded by a New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, she spent a year (2013-2014) at the Australian National University where she was Fellow at the Mongolia Studies Centre and completed a further degree in Asia-Pacific Studies, both of which enhance and forward her interests in the dynamic and rapidly changing migration and development landscape of Mongolia. In 2004, along with Cynthia Werner, she initiated a project in the western aimag of Bayan-Ulgii Mongolia to better understand the on-going migration of Mongolia Kazakhs between Mongolia and Kazakhstan during the transition period between 1991 and 2010.
She is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Rural Studies and a member of the International Geographical Union's Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems. 

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Thank you to the American Corner and the Natsagdorj Library for sponsoring this event.


The American Center for Mongolian Studies is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting scholarship in Mongolian Studies.

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