Subject: This Month in Mongolian Studies - December 2017

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December 2017
In this Issue:

ACMS Announcements 

ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events

Position Openings

Calls for Papers, Conferences, and Workshops

Research Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants

Other News and Events

Recent Publications

"This Month in Mongolian Studies" is a monthly listing of selected academic activities and resources related to Mongolia. This list is based on information the ACMS has received and is presented as a service to its members. If you would like to submit information to be included in next month's issue please contact the ACMS at

This publication is supported in part by memberships.  Please consider becoming a member of the ACMS, or renewing your membership by visiting our website at Thank you!
ACMS Announcements


TriciaI have completed my first official month as the new Resident Director of the ACMS Ulaanbaatar office and am more excited than ever to be a part of the Mongolian studies community.

Mongolia has been my home for the last five and half years. I am passionate about Mongolian culture and proud to be a part of the ACMS team. Having worked closely with Mongolia’s private sector for several years, I look forward to diving into this new community and getting to know each of you.

One of the greatest perks of this new role is the opportunity to work with an experienced and dynamic team, both here in Mongolia and in the United States. Many of the staff here in the ACMS Ulaanbaatar office have been with the organization for five or more years, and are true experts in the field of Mongolian studies. Additionally, on the U.S. side, I am thrilled to be working with Ambassador Addleton, a Mongolia enthusiast and one of Mongolia’s most beloved U.S. ambassadors.

I believe that this combination of fresh leadership and a highly experienced and knowledgeable local team will successfully usher ACMS into a new era of credibility, innovation, and growth. There are numerous exciting opportunities in the field of Mongolian studies and I am enthusiastic about reenergizing existing projects while I partner with our stakeholders to tackle new projects.

I hope to improve our center’s interconnectivity with researchers around the world and to identify opportunities for projects in new areas of research. I look forward to meeting more of our members and partners, and I encourage you to reach out to me by either stopping by the ACMS office or by sending me an email.

I am eager to hear about your projects, ideas for collaboration, and to get to know you. You can reach me at: 

Tricia Turbold
Resident Director,
American Center for Mongolian Studies



As usual, ACMS will hold its annual board meeting during the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) annual conference which many of you will attend in Washington, DC in late March 2018. This year, our meeting will be held on the evening of Friday, March 23 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.  We will provide more detals later -- but look forward to seeing many of you at that time.



As the new US-based ACMS Executive Director, I want to reach out to you as a supporter of ACMS to ask for your help in supporting ACMS programs. Your donations are crucial to insure that ACMS programs such as fellowships for young researchers, efforts to document and preserve Mongolia’s cultural heritage, and training courses for Mongolian academics and librarians continue to be offered.

In 2017 ACMS hosted numerous visiting student groups, sent Mongolian scholars to the Smithsonian Institution for training, and hosted over 20 Speaker Series and other events that connect scholars to a wider audience.

In 2018 we will host an NEH funded Summer Institute for K-12 teachers at the University of Pennsylvania, and are planning for a major cultural heritage conference in Ulaanbaatar as part of our Cultural Heritage program supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Please consider an end-of-year gift, above and beyond membership dues -- your support is vital in maintaining a strong on-ground ACMS presence in Mongolia and in further strengthening academic and research ties between Mongolia and the United States.

Contributions can be made via the ACMS website or by accessing the following link:

Donate now to the ACMS

With thanks and appreciation,
Jonathan Addleton
Executive Director,
American Center for Mongolian Studies
Mercer University
Macon, GA



ACMS memberships generally follow our fiscal year of October 1st to September 30th. That means it may again be time to renew your membership. If you are not already a member of the ACMS, please consider becoming a member.

ACMS Members are an important part of the governance of the organization, having voting rights to elect “At-Large” representatives of the Board of Directors for individual and student members and rights to nominate a representative on the Board of Directors for institutional members. The Board of Directors is the governing body of the organization, and it has complete authority over all programs and activities. Members, both individual and institutional, therefore have a direct stake in the future development of the organization.

Membership is open to individuals, corporations, and institutions that support the ACMS's mission of promoting scholarship in Mongolia, and dues go directly towards supporting the programmatic and administrative expenses of the organization. As a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, academic organization, membership dues and other donations paid to the ACMS are tax deductible in the United States.

For more information on member benefits and ways to pay, please see our membership page. If you are unsure if your membership has expired with the ACMS, please contact David Dettmann at



ACMS is pleased to announce that Tuvshinzaya Tumenbayar has joined the ACMS office in Ulaanbaatar as the new Cultural Heritage Program Assistant, reaffirming the center's continuing commitment to help preserve Mongolia's cultural heritage. Tuzvshinzaya recently graduated from the National University of Mongolia with an MA in International Relations, successfully defending her thesis on "Issues of Cultural Identity in Foreign Policy". She previously worked in education and tourism, and is passionate about Mongolian arts and culture.



Dr. J. Bayarsaikhan from the National Museum of Mongolia has been awarded a Luce Cultural Heritage Fellowship to conduct research and write a publication at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. An archaeologist with a specialization in Mongolian Deer Stones, he has just arrived in Washington, DC and will remain there until April 2018. Some members and friends of ACMS have worked with Dr. Bayaraa in the past -- if you would like to contact him while he is in the United States, you can reach him through ACMS or directly at



ACMS is donating several of its old computers to Secondary School Number 17, located in a ger district in Chigeltei.  The school was founded in 1955 and now has about 90 teachers and 2,300 students.  Mrs. B. Chimgee is the principal.  The computers that ACMS is donating will be used in IT training class at the school's children's development center.

ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events

Kip Hutchins:  "On Wooden Horses: Musical Interactions between Humans, Animals and Others in Post-Socialist Mongolia"

Tuesday, December 19 at 5:30 PM, American Corner, Ulaanbaatar public library

This paper examines the roles and meanings of musical heritage in lived experiences of post-socialism. Drawing upon one year of ethnographic research, "On Wooden Horses" explores how people in Mongolia manage relationships with livestock, landscape and spirits musicallly. The talk will focus on three field work vignettes in particular, highlighting some of the ways Mongolian herders and musicians use musical heritage to navigate ruptures and challenges presented by increasing urbanization and transformations to herding economies as well as areas of flux, such as the confluence of socialist and post-socialist ideas about religion and spirituality. Throughout these examples, musical heritage in Mongolia stands as a mediator through which people make sense of, and interact with, the non-human forces that have sway in their everyday lives, from soaring mountain peaks to sheep reluctantt to nurse, from supernatural entities to urban sprawl.

Kip Hutchins is a Ph.D student in cultural anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently based out of Ulaanbaatar, undertaking fieldwork for his dissertation until the summer of 2018. He has been working with horse-head fiddle players and teachers, long-song singers, and herders in central and eastern Mongolia since 2010. Kip's research interests are focused on the role of musical performance in the restructuring of nomadic pastoralism in 21st century Mongolia. He is currently a Cultural Heritage Research Fellow with the American Center for Mongolian Studies, and has been affiliated with ACMS since he first began working in Mongolia.

Speaker Series events are Co-Sponsored by the American Cultural and Information Center, Ulaanbaatar

Dr. Ariell Ahern: "Disintegrations? Mega Projects and Narratives of State Legitimacy in the Gobi Desert"

Tuesday, December 5 at 5:30 PM, American Corner, Ulaanbaatar public library

This paper examines narratives of territorial integration and development in infrastructure projects linked to China’s One Belt, One Road. In particular, it engages with qualitative research around social conflicts surrounding the Oyu Tolgoi mega mine in the Gobi desert as a means to explore the concept of state fragility. At what moments are infrastructure projects a catalyst for imagining state integration, and at what moments do they lead to ruptures in the legitimacy of the state? The extent to which international corporations are seen as a mediating agent for restructuring inequalities in national economic distribution and social development is explored.

Dr. Ariell Ahearn is an ESRC postdoctoral fellow at the School for Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. She holds an MPA from Cornell University and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. She has worked with rural pastoralists in Mongolia since 2004 with research focusing on land tenure, local governance, gendered divisions of labor and social organization. In 2016, she worked in Omnogovi province as an independent expert on a panel to address the IFC's Compliance Advisor Ombudsman case on Oyu Tolgoi's impacts on pastoralism and the environment in Khan Bogd. She joined ACMS in 2004 as an SIT student and credits ACMS with contributing to her academic success, including support for her PhD fieldwork.

Speaker Series events are Co-Sponsored by the American Cultural and Information Center, Ulaanbaatar

Jessica Madison:  "Golden Mountain, Iron Heap: Poetic Ethnography of Extraction in Eastern Mongolia"

Tuesday, November 21 at 5:30 PM, American Corner, Ulaanbaatar public library

This presentation focused on a central puzzle: how does what otherwise appears to be a harmonious "magical ecology" accomodate a zinc mine? How can a tradition that sacralizes the unbroken earth also name mines after mountains? Considering both mountain and mine as different kinds of ovoo, nodes that function as both "energy centers" and "sacrifice zones" within the landsape, the paper discussed local theories that illuminate poetry to be a creater of worlds, and highighted the ambivalence, ambiguity and poetic irony of mineral extraction in Mongolia. The paper also explored Mongolia's mineral extraction boom through an examination of local concepts of landscape. In order to engage seriously with local place-making practices, it analyzed the steppe topologically, looking at attributes of landsape that transcend material upheaval. In eastern Mongolia, poetry is a primary means of mediating human interaction with space, and thus poetic literacy is necessary for producing and understanding knowledge that turns space into landscape.

Jessica Madison-Piskata is a PhD student in cultural anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has an MFA in poetry from the New School in New York. She is now based in Ulaanbaatar, where she will be conducting dissertation fieldwork until summer 2018. She first arrived in Mongolia in 2011, working for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sukhbaatar aimag; since then, she has split her time between Mongolia and the United States. Her research interests include the intersection of human creativity and environmental justice in the context of global climate change, particularly in the way local theories of landscape can broaden our understanding of the multiplicity inherent in human/non-human relations.

Speaker Series events are Co-Sponsored by the American Cultural and Information Center, Ulaanbaatar


The ACMS will again be leading an NEH Summer Institute in summer 2018, this time for K-12 teachers! Co-directors Morris Rossabi and David Dettmann will be running the program at the University of Pennsylvania from July 16th to August 10, 2018. Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $3,300 to come to beautiful University City to study about the Mongol Empire! Application deadline will be March 1st, 2018

See our NEH Summer Institute 2018 website for more information.

Position Openings

JOB OPENINGS: Canadian-Funded MERIT/WUSC Programs in Mongolia

Enhancing Resource Management through Institutional Transformation (MERIT) is a seven-year program in partnership with World University Services Canada (WUSC) and in close collaboration with the Mongolian government. The project works to strengthen public sector resource management skills as part of a broader effort to advance sustainable economic and social development in Mongolia.

MERIT is currently seeking help in matching Volunteer Advisors wiith Mongolian clients who need expertise in a variety of areas including HR management; four potential assignments are currently available in Mongolia, including one position focused on capacity building in result-based management in Dornod.  If interested, please contact Ashna Faroze (

MERIT is also soliciting interest in a Project Director position in Mongolia. This two-year opportunity is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents and is based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. If interested, please contact Jennifer Rovet at the folloiwng e-mail address:

INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY:  Private Equity and SME Development in Mongolia

Schulze Global Investments ( ), a pioneer in private equity that has supported the food-processing, cashmere processing and construction materials industries in Mongolia, is offering internship opportunities based in Ulaanbaatar. The next intake will start in May/June 2018, with application submissions anticipated during the February/March time frame.

Working closely with seasoned private equity practitioners, interns will get hands-on experience in both deal sourcing and portfolio management. Opportunities may also exist to work with local client SMEs to review business practices and offer support for training and practice improvements.

Candidates must be senior undergraduates, recent graduates or graduate students in the fields of finance, business, or economics. Other requirements include professional level computer literacy (especially in Excel & Power point); English language proficiency; good communication and writing skills; an ability to work in a multi-cultural and developing country environment; a willingness to work hard and learn with strong self-motivation; and strong interpersonal and analytical skills.

Internships may start at any time and will range from 2-3 months in length (based on performance and business need, internships may also be extended). Internships are unpaid; however, the firm will support accommodation on site in Ulaanbaatar and in select cases provide an airfare subsidy (not to exceed US$500).

Interested candidates should submit a resume with a cover letter to the following e-mail address:

Research Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants

ACMS Field Research Fellowship Program
provides awards of up $4000 to US citizen students and/or university faculty to conduct academic field research in Mongolia between May and October. The ACMS Library Fellowship Program provides US citizen advanced graduate students or faculty in library science or related fields with up to $4000 to conduct short-term projects and/or research in Mongolia between May and October. The program helps support the development of the ACMS research library through specific defined projects designed to enhance the collection content and resource availability. Both of these fellowships are supported with funding from the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs through a grant by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. Deadline for receipt of complete applications: February 15, 2018. For more information about two fellowship programs, please visit

ACMS Intensive Mongolian Language Fellowship. Students and scholars are invited to enroll in an eight week Intermediate Intensive Mongolian Language Program at the ACMS in Ulaanbaatar, from mid-June to early August 2018. The focus of this program is to provide students with an opportunity to enhance their communicative competence through systematic improvement of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, in an authentic environment. The Language Program Fellowship covers the cost of tuition. For more information visit our Language Program page. Deadline for receipt of applications: March 1, 2018.

Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) NEH Senior Research Fellowship Program - deadline to apply:  January 31st, 2018
. The Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) is pleased to announce the National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Research Fellowship Program! This fellowship supports advanced research in the humanities for U.S. postdoctoral scholars, and foreign national postdoctoral scholars who have been residents in the US for three or more years. Scholars must carry out research in a country which hosts a participating American overseas research center. Eligible countries for 2017-2018 are: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Georgia, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Senegal, Sri Lanka or Tunisia. Fellowship stipends are $4,200 per month for a maximum of four months. This program is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) under the Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions (FPIRI). For more information, visit the CAORC fellowship page.

Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) Multi-Country Research Fellowship Program  - deadline to apply:  January 31st, 2018. The Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) Multi-Country Fellowship Program supports advanced regional or trans-regional research in the humanities, social sciences, or allied natural sciences for U.S. doctoral candidates and scholars who have already earned their Ph.D. Preference will be given to candidates examining comparative and/or cross-regional research. Applicants are eligible to apply as individuals or in teams. Scholars must carry out research in two or more countries outside the United States, at least one of which hosts a participating American overseas research center (like the ACMS). Approximately nine awards of up to $10,500 each will be given. Funding is provided by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit the CAORC fellowship page.

Other News and Events


The Mongolian Cultural Center and The Embassy of Mongolia are pleased to invite interested participants to the XII Annual Mongolian Studies Conference. Research topic presented must be relevant to Mongolian Studies subjects such as Mongolian language, history, religion, arts, literature, anthropology and other subjects that contain Mongolian social, economic, and cultural issues. The papers must be original work of the author(s) and can be written and presented in either Mongolian or English. However, presenters, who are planning on presenting in Mongolian, must submit full English translation of the paper at least one month prior to the conference.

The conference will be held at the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington DC during February 9-10, 2018.  Abstracts should be sent to:


The Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) will host the third Conference of Central Asian Language and Linguistics (ConCALL-3) at Indiana University March 2-4, 2018.

Keynote Speakers include leading names in Turkic and Iranian linguistics, as well as second language acquisition: Jason Rothman, Professor of Literacy and Multilingualism, University of Reading, UK; Vera Gribanova, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Stanford University; Pollet Samvelian, Professor of Linguistics, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle; Mehmet Yavaş, Professor of Linguistics, Florida International University; Rex Sprouse, Professor of Second Language Studies, Indiana University. Additional guest speakers are also expected , including in Mongolic and Tibetan languages and linguistics.

We are accepting submissions for 20-minute paper presentations (with 10 minute post-presentation questions and discussion) on topics related to Central Asian languages and linguistics, including both the Altaic and Eastern Indo-European languages spoken in the region (among others), a diverse range of languages such as Azerbaijani, Dari, Kazakh, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Mongolian, Pashto, Persian, Tajiki, Tibetan, Turkish, Turkmen, Tuvan, Uyghur, Uzbek, and more.  Submissions on endangered Central Asian languages (e.g. Buryat and Kalmyk (Mongolic), Shugni (Iranian), Selkup (Uralic), and Chuvash, Baskirt and Yakut (Turkic), among others, are especially welcome. 

Questions regarding the conference may be directed to Dr. Öner Özçelik (Director, CeLCAR) at

For more information, please visit conference website at


Nomad Science is offering an opportunity for students and others interested in Mongolia to travel to Mongolia next summer as part of an international interdisciplinary research team.  No prior experience is necessary; individuals from all ages, academic backgrounds and nationalities are encouraged to apply.

Participants will support fieldwork related to archaeology, anthropology, geology, botany, ecology and related disciplines, with a view toward producing high quality data-driven research while traveling in one of the most scenic and remote regions of the world. In addition to investigating and helping to conserve Mongolia's unique natural and cultural heritage, the summer experience also includes a Wilderness First Responder Certification option.

See the Nomad Science website for further information:


According to Inner Mongolia University in Hohhot, a new system is now available to convert Mongolian paper documents into editable and digital versions. Users can log into the official website of the system, named oyun, which will recognize various Mongolian fonts and transfer them into Word files and other editable digital versions.

The Chinese news agency account notes that Inner Mongolia is home to a large number of Mongolian language books and newspapers that are valuable for the study of Mongolian history and culture. "Digital archiving is a good way to preserve them, but it requires a large amount of manpower and time to do the work," said Feilong, associate professor with the university's computer science college."Now it only takes 40 to 50 seconds to transfer a 100-page Mongolian book into a digital version after scanning through the system," he said.

These efforts were also highlighted in a recent Smithsonian blog (November 28, 2017) on the same subject under the headline "A Look Inside China's Effort to Preserve Mongolian Manuscripts," adding that various project are attemptiong to digitize the more than 200,000 volumes of Mongolian books and documents in the country:

"Because the public rarely gets access to ancient Mongolian books, which remain shelved, multiple archival projects are now bringing new life to the works, making many available Online for the first time . . . In the last three years, for instance, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a region north of Beijing bordering Mongolia, has digitized and published 120 Mongolian classics".

"This November, Inner Mongolia University created new software that will help with these efforts, as it can quickly recognize Mongolia fonts on paper documents and convert them into editable, digital files . . . Feilong, an associate professor at Inner Mongolia University tells the site that now a 100-page Mongolian book takes less than a minute to scan".

"The Northwest University for Nationalities, in Gansu Province in northwest China, has also established a database with a collection of more than 10,000 Mongolian folk tales, CNS reports. And researchers in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, have collected 384 books in Todo bichig, a writing system used by Mongolian tribes in the Qing Dynasty of 1644-1911"

Recent Publications

Wolves by Jeon Sungtae (author) and Sora Kim-Russell (translator); paperback; $11 (White Pine Press, 2017)

On the basis of a blog review by Charles Montgomery, a former English teacher in Seoul, this book will be of special interest to those interested in a fictional reflection on the growing connections between Mongolia and South Korea.  Six of the ten short stories in Wolves take place in Mongolia itself, involving "sad and lonely" characters from Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and elsewhere who often "are trying to escape their circumstances or rediscover themselves".

The very first story takes its name from a Korean restaurant in Ulaanbaatar operated to earn hard currency for North Korea, in turn becoming a platform for critical reflections on Mongolia's shift from communism to a market economy. The title story "Wolves" revolves around similar reflections, in this case told in part by a Mongolian who voices deep skepticism about both Korean tourists and the lure of money which draws him to them.

According to Montgomery,  "Jeon is very good at interweaving the elements of his stories to create a larger context. . . (he) creates very particular characters and events and places them in a mosaic they are incapable of seeing".

Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society, edited by Verna A. Wallace (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016);  xxii + 325 pp. $105.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-995864-1; $36.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-19-995866-5

H-Net recentlly posted a review of this book by Erdenchuluu Khochahar (University of Tokyo), describing it a an "innovative and progressive work" and noting that it provides a usesful reflection on how Buddhism has adapted to Mongolian indigenous culture and society, in turn developing into a unique “Mongolian Buddhism” and Mongolian Buddhist identity:

"This book contains fifteen individual articles that focus on three major topics. The first group of articles addresses the religious and political activities of Mongolian Buddhist personages of the prerevolutionary period. This includes chapters 1 to 5, by (respectively) Johan Elverskog, Richard Taupier, Baatr Kitinov, Matthew King, and Vesna A. Wallace, on what happened to Queen Jӧnggen; the western Mongolian Clear Script and the making of a Buddhist state; the last attempt to build the Buddhist state; modernities, sense making, and the inscription of Mongolian Buddhist place; and envisioning a Mongolian Buddhist identity through Chinggis Khan.

"The second set of articles addresses strategies used to indigenize and popularize Buddhism in Mongolian society through religious, cultural, and artistic practices. This section features work by Uranchimeg B. Ujeed, Uranchimeg Tsultemin (chapters 7 and 8), Simon Wickham-Smith, and Vesna A. Wallace (chapters 10 to 12) on the establishment of the Mergen tradition of Mongolian Buddhism; Vajrayāna and the state in medieval Mongolia; the power and authority of Maitreya in Mongolia; a literary history of Buddhism in Mongolia; how Vajrapāṇi became a Mongol; commonalities among protective deities, Mongolian heroes, and swift steeds; and Buddhist sacred mountains, auspicious landscapes, and their agency. 

Finally, three articles cover the persecution and revitalization of Buddhism in modern Mongolian societies. These include Christopher Kaplonski, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, and Hürelbaatar Ujeed, on court cases against Buddhist monks in early socialist Mongolia; Buddhist women of Buryatia; and the social and cultural practice of Buddhism in the local context of Inner Mongolia in the first half of the twentieth century".

Genocide on the Mongolian Steppe: First-Hand Accounts of Genocide in Southern Mongolia During the Chinese Cultural Revolution (Volume I Paperback – published on October 30, 2017; available on Amazon for $19.49) by Enghebatu Togochog (Translator), Yang Haiying (Author)

(Note:  This is an English translation of the book documenting the history of the persecution of Mongols in Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution; it is already available in Japanese and German).

Professor Yang Haiying of Shizuoka University received the Shiba Ryotara Award upon publication of this book in Japanese several years ago. According to an article in the Japanese newspaper Iwanami Shoten at the time, Professor Haiying was "shocked speechless by hearing about the cruelties, I could not hold back my tears during the interviews with the victims".

Born in Ordos in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Yang Haiying came to study in Japan in March 1989, inspired by Tadao Umesao, founding head of the National Museum of Ethnology (1920-2010). Married to a Japanese woman, he obtained Japanese citizenship in 2000. Employed by Shizuoka University as a professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science since 2004, his research has focused on Mongolian ethnology.

Vividly describing the ethnic cleansing and forcible displacement of the Mongolian people based on testimonials and other materials, Genocide on the Mongolian Steppe is described in Iwanami Shoten as a "masterpiece in two volumes," taking the author 18 years to research and write. The effort included collecting a large number of official Chinese documents and interviewing more than 100 eyewitnesses.

Long Narrative Songs from the Mongghul of Northeast Tibet: Texts in Mongghul, Chinese, and English by Li Dechun (李得春, Limusishiden) and Gerald Roche

Available as an Open Access publication (, Long Narrative Songs from the Mongghul of Northeast Tibet: Texts in Mongghul, Chinese, and Englishcontains ballads of martial heroism, tales of tragic lovers and visions of the nature of the world, providing a rich repository of songs collected among the Mongghul of the Seven Valleys, on the northeast Tibetan Plateau in western China. These songs represent the apogee of Mongghul oral literature, providing valuable insights into the lives of Mongghul people—their hopes, dreams, and worries. They bear testimony to the impressive plurilingual repertoire commanded by some Mongghul singers: the original texts in Tibetan, Mongghul, and Chinese are here presented in Mongghul, Chinese, and English.

The kaleidoscope of stories told in these songs include that of Marshall Qi, a chieftain from the Seven Valleys who travels to Luoyang with his Mongghul army to battle rebels; Laarimbu and Qiimunso, a pair of star-crossed lovers who take revenge from beyond the grave on the families that kept them apart; and the Crop-Planting Song and the Sheep Song, which map the physical and spiritual terrain of the Mongghul people, vividly describing the physical and cosmological world in which they exist.

This collection of songs is supported by an Introduction by Gerald Roche that provides an understanding of their traditional context, and shows that these works offer insights into the practices of multilingualism in Tibet. Long Narrative Songs from the Mongghul of Northeast
 is vital reading for researchers and others working on oral literature, as well as those who study Inner Asia, Tibet, and China’s ethnic minorities. Finally, this book is of interest to linguistic anthropologists and sociolinguists, particularly those working on small-scale multilingualism and pre-colonial multilingualism.

Among Herders of Mongolia
 by Christel Braae (2017 National Museum of Denmark).  This is a study of a unique collection of INner Mongolian artifacts that are part of the Haslund-Christensen Collection at the National Museum of Denmark.  They are analyzed and visually presented in a ctalogue of more than 800 items, documenting daily life in a pastoral society.

Dark Heavens: Shamans and Hunters in Mongolia
 by Hamid Sardar (2016 Iranian-born anthropologist Hamid Sardar has been photographing different aspects of rural Mongolia since 2000, immersing himself in daily life and capturig on film the daily rituals, hunting expeditions and spiritual practices of countryside.  Mixing color and black-and-white images, this book showcases Mongolian shamans and hunters, reflecting their relationship with land and animals.  Along with the visual images, this book also includes an informative text that provides additional details and information that will be of special interests to anthropologists and photographers, regardless of whether they have visited Mongolia or not.

Marriage and the Law in the Age of Khubilai Khan by Bettine Birge (2017 Harvard University Press). The Mongol conquest of China in the thirteenth century and Khubilai Khan’s founding of the Yuan dynasty brought together under one government people of different languages, religions, and social customs. Chinese law evolved rapidly to accommodate these changes, as reflected in the great compendium Yuan dianzhang (Statutes and Precedents of the Yuan Dynasty). The records of legal cases contained in this seminal text, Bettine Birge shows, paint a portrait of medieval Chinese family life—and the conflicts that arose from it—that is unmatched by any other historical source. Marriage and the Law in the Age of Khubilai Khan reveals the complex, sometimes contradictory inner workings of the Mongol-Yuan legal system, seen through the prism of marriage disputes in chapter eighteen of the Yuan dianzhang, which has never before been translated into another language. Birge’s meticulously annotated translation clarifies the meaning of terms and passages, some in a hybrid Sino-Mongolian language, for specialists and general readers alike. The text includes court testimony—recorded in the vivid vernacular of people from all social classes—in lawsuits over adultery, divorce, rape, wife-selling, marriages of runaway slaves, and other conflicts. It brings us closer than any other source to the actual Mongolian speech of Khubilai and the great khans who succeeded him as they struggled to reconcile very different Mongol, Muslim, and Chinese legal traditions and confront the challenges of ruling a diverse polyethnic empire.

How Mongolia Matters: War, Law, and Society, edited by Morris Rossabi (2017 Brill). The essays in this volume dispel some of the myths concerning the Mongolians and other Inner Asian peoples. This remarkable volume edited by and dedicated to Morris Rossabi challenges the depictions of these mostly nomadic pastoral groups as barbaric plunderers and killers while not denying the destruction and loss of life they engendered. Several essays pioneer in consulting Mongolian and other Inner Asian rather than exclusively Chinese and Persian sources, offering new and different perspectives. Such research reveals the divisions among the Mongolians, which weakened them and led to the collapse of their Empire. Two essays dispel myths about modern Mongolia and reveal the country’s significance, even in an era of superpowers, two of which surround it. Contributors are: Christopher Atwood, Bettine Birge, Michael Brose, Pamela Crossley, Johan Elverskog, Jargalsaikhan Enkhsaikhan, Yuki Konagaya, James Millward, David Morgan, and David Robinson.

A World Trimmed with Fur: Wild Things, Pristine Places, and the National Fringes of Qing Rule by Jonathan Schlesinger (2017 Stanford University Press). In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, booming demand for natural resources transformed China and its frontiers. Historians of China have described this process in stark terms: pristine borderlands became breadbaskets. Yet Manchu and Mongolian archives reveal a different story. Well before homesteaders arrived, wild objects from the far north became part of elite fashion, and unprecedented consumption had exhausted the region's most precious resources. In A World Trimmed with Fur, Jonathan Schlesinger uses these diverse archives to reveal how Qing rule witnessed not the destruction of unspoiled environments, but their invention. Qing frontiers were never pristine in the nineteenth century—pearlers had stripped riverbeds of mussels, mushroom pickers had uprooted the steppe, and fur-bearing animals had disappeared from the forest. In response, the court turned to "purification;" it registered and arrested poachers, reformed territorial rule, and redefined the boundary between the pristine and the corrupted. Schlesinger's resulting analysis provides a framework for rethinking the global invention of nature.

L’appel du bonheur: Le partage alimentaire mongol [The call for happiness. Mongolian food sharing] by Sandrine Ruhlmann (2015 Centre d’Études Mongoles & Sibériennes Nord-Asie 5). For Mongolian people, sharing food goes far beyond merely feeding. By a set of “opening” and “closing”, for everyday life or for special events, in the family circle or with visitors, the fact of sharing food ensures the good order of social relationships. It ensures also the good order of seasonal rhythm and of human life cycle. It therefore attracts happiness to humans and their herds. Between 2000 and 2015, Sandrine Ruhlmann lived long months in the Mongolian steppe and in the city. She describes and analyses in detail the existing food system. She recognizes in this latter intermingled ideas and values inherited from Shamanism, Buddhism, and from Communist ideology. Through the meat on bone, the fermented milk, the ravioli, or the odd soleshoe-shaped pastries a way of thinking and of living is revealed. (Published in French)

Uyghur Nation: Reform and Revolution on the Russia-China Frontier by David Brophy (Harvard University Press, April 2016). The meeting of the Russian and Qing empires in the nineteenth century had dramatic consequences for Central Asia’s Muslim communities. Along this frontier, a new political space emerged, shaped by competing imperial and spiritual loyalties, cross-border economic and social ties, and the revolutions that engulfed Russia and China in the early twentieth century. David Brophy explores how a community of Central Asian Muslims responded to these historic changes by reinventing themselves as the modern Uyghur nation. As exiles and émigrés, traders and seasonal laborers, a diverse diaspora of Muslims from China’s northwest province of Xinjiang spread to Russian territory, where they became enmeshed in political and intellectual currents among Russia’s Muslims. From the many national and transnational discourses of identity that circulated in this mixed community, the rhetoric of Uyghur nationhood emerged as a rallying point in the tumult of the Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War. Working both with and against Soviet policy, a shifting alliance of constituencies invoked the idea of a Uyghur nation to secure a place for itself in Soviet Central Asia and to spread the revolution to Xinjiang. Although its existence was contested in the fractious politics of the 1920s, in the 1930s the Uyghur nation achieved official recognition in the Soviet Union and China. Grounded in a wealth of little-known archives from across Eurasia, Uyghur Nation offers a bottom-up perspective on nation-building in the Soviet Union and China and provides crucial background to the ongoing contest for the history and identity of Xinjiang.

China's Early Mosques by Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt (Edinburgh University Press, Jan. 2016). What happens when a monotheistic, foreign religion needs a space in which to worship in China, a civilisation with a building tradition that has been largely unchanged for several millennia? The story of this extraordinary convergence begins in the 7th century and continues under the Chinese rule of Song and Ming, and the non-Chinese rule of the Mongols and Manchus, each with a different political and religious agenda. The author shows that mosques, and ultimately Islam, have survived in China because the Chinese architectural system, though often unchanging, is adaptable: it can accommodate the religious requirements of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and Islam.

The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century by Igor de Rachewiltz. Shorter version edited by John C. Street, University of Wisconsin―Madison. Electronic book freely available as part of Western Washington University’s Contributing to Education through Digital Access to Research (CEDAR) portal at