Subject: This Month in Mongolian Studies - February 2018

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February 2018
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, resources and other material 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


The ACMS Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on the fringes of the upcoming Association for Asian Studies (AAS) annual conference, scheduled to take place at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC from March 23-25, 2018.

The schedule this year involves three separate ACMS events:

1.  Board Meeting involving both executive board members and Institutional board members. For now, please reserve 1 PM on Friday, March 23 for this meeting.  We will meet in the home of one of our Board members who lives in Washington, DC.  Board members, please contact Executive Director Jonathan Addleton directly if you plan to attend (or if you wish to join by phone or skype):

2.  Annual General Meeting involving all dues-paying ACMS members. For now, please set aside 5 PM on Friday, March 23 for this meeting.  We plan to reserve a room in a restaurant or other venue in Georgetown, combining an informal "Happy Hour" with an opportunity to provide an overview of ACMS programs and activities from both last year and in the year ahead. We also look forward to introducing Tricia Turbold, the new ACMS country director in Ulaanbaatar, to all ACMS members during the AGM. Again, if you think you will be able to attend, please notify Executive Director Jonathan Addleton directly:

3.  Reception Hosted by Embassy of Mongolia: The Mongolian Embassy in Washington, DC has kindly offered to host a recepton for both ACMS and the Mongolia Society on the fringes of the upcoming AAS conference. The reception will begin at 6:30 PM at the Mongolian Embassy in Georgetown on Friday, March 23. ACMS members are invited to attend -- however, to enter the Embassy you will need to receive a formal invitation prior to the event.   Again, if any ACMS members are in Washington, DC at the time and think that they might want to attend this Embassy reception, please notify Executive Director Jonathan Addleton by February 12 at the latest, to ensure that you receive an invitation ahead of time:



The ACMS office in Ulaanbaatar is pleased to announce we have equipment available for our members to rent for their research projects.

ACMS established the Bruce W. Morrison Research Laboratory, which is possible thanks to the generous donation of a 3D scanner, 3D printer, microscope, and more from Dr. William Taylor, a former ACMS fellow.

Dr. Taylor dedicated the lab to his late uncle, who inspired him to pursue a career in archaeology.  The Bruce W. Morrison Research Laboratory at ACMS is intended to assist the research community in Mongolia and to further develop the field of Mongolian studies.

If you wish to donate equipment or, if you would like to rent equipment for your research, please contact 



In January 2018 ACMS awarded a second Cultural Heritage Fellowship, providing an opportunity for Oyundelger Batchuluun from Dornod to train at the Smithsonian Institute and learn about SIDora, a cutting edge data management system. The Fellowship is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and will assist in the preservation of Mongolia's cultural heritage through digital database creation and management.



ACMS country director Tricia Turbold was recently interviewed by Voice of Mongolia, providing an opportunity to discuss at length the center's mission as well as its partnerships with the Asia Foundation, Luce Foundation and US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.  This follows a similar interview by Bloomberg in Mongolia in December, again providing an opportunity to introduce ACMS to a larger audience.



Thank you for donations received during the Winter 2017-2018 ACMS Funding Appeal.  Contributions exceeded $4,000, providing important additional resources as we look forward to the next season of ACMS Fellows arriving in Mongolia.

Of course, contributions are welcome at any time and play an important role in strengthening our ability to support Fellows, maintain a regular series of ACMS lectures in Ulaanbaatar and further strengthen a vital on-ground ACMS presence in Mongolia.  Contributions can be made via the ACMS website or by accessing this link:

Donate now to the ACMS



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.

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 Sponsored Programs and Events

ACMS FIELD NOTES NUMBER 11:  "Linguistic Landscape Research: Ulaanbaatar" (Phillip Marzluf)

Linguistic landscape research examines written materials that are publicly accessible to people in their daily lives. Rather than looking at books, poems, textbooks, or student writing, linguistic landscape researchers are interested in more mundane types of writing such as street signs, advertisements, warnings, billboards, announcements, graffiti, company signs, slogans, advocacy posters, and flyers, among other possibilities. In short, anything that has been placed in the public environment using images or symbols is a candidate for analysis.

Why are literacy experts interested in linguistic landscapes? Linguistic landscape research is a new methodology that moves literacy research out of reading and writing classrooms and into the streets and public environments. Linguistic landscape research enables literacy to serve as an important historical variable to document social change:

-- It allows researchers to keep track of all of the scripts and languages that are possible in the public environment.
-- It reveals attitudes towards languages and, consequently, to speakers of these languages.
-- It shows what official language policies or unofficial, tacit policies are being enforced.

In this Field Note, I demonstrate how linguistic landscape research can be applied to Ulaanbaatar; at the same time, I link back to Paweł Szczap and others who are interested in focusing on Ulaanbaatar as an important place to conduct research.

Why is Mongolia a fascinating place for linguistic landscape research? Looking at the linguistic landscape of Mongolia enhances our knowledge about how Mongolians use language and literacy in their daily lives.

Mongolia's linguistic landscape has changed drastically over the past century as different political and economic regimes associated themselves with different languages, scripts, and public genres and purposes. For example, the linguistic landscape in socialist Mongolia was far different from that of post-socialist Mongolia. From the 1950s through to the late 1980s, Mongolia's linguistic landscape was almost exclusively in Cyrillic Mongolian and Russian. For the most part, these public signs exhorted Mongolian citizens to feel patriotic, be careful of public property, and identify with socialism and the Soviet Union. 

Another reason to examine Mongolia's linguistic landscape is to better understand the level of anxiety expressed by many Mongolians about their culture and language. Many Mongolians worry about the lack of standards in Mongolian grammar and vocabulary and about the frequent code-switching into English. As the largest Mongolian urban area in the world, the Ulaanbaatar Mongolian dialect shows the most linguistic change and innovation, yet many public intellectuals blame journalists, young people, and women—especially those who work for international organizations—for distorting Mongolian and lowering standards.

What is really at stake are questions about identity. These anxieties stem from concerns about “Mongolianness” in the post-socialist period, especially as many elite Mongolians study abroad or raise their children in non-Mongolian speaking countries. 

What does a linguistic landscape researcher do? During summer 2014, I walked around central Ulaanbaatar for a couple of weeks, using a digital camera to photograph company signs, advertisements, notices, and other public signs. I had to make decisions regarding how I was going to define and quantify the signs I encountered. For example, I included signs only when they were reasonably visible to the public, were relatively stable, and had been designed to communicate something to a public audience. My study of Ulaanbaatar's linguistic landscape involved 666 signs, which I then placed in a database with variables such as language, script, type of sign, and audience.
What can we say about the Ulaanbaatar linguistic landscape? To summarize, Mongolian and Mongolian Cyrillic, not surprisingly, were the most frequent language and script: of all signs analyzed, 86% included Mongolian and 84% included Mongolian Cyrillic. Yet, the linguistic landscape of Ulaanbaatar was also diverse, consisting of 11 languages and 7 scripts. English and the Latin alphabet were also ubiquitous: 51% of all signs in Ulaanbaatar included English and 58% contained the Latin alphabet. 

Despite the diversity of other languages and scripts, their use overall was infrequent. For example, there were only 5 signs (0.7%) that did not include Mongolian and English. Finally, Mongol Bichig, the traditional vertical script that is officially protected by several language laws and promoted strongly by several post-socialist governments, occurred 26 times (4%), though only 6 times (1%) as the only script on these signs.
Phillip Marzluf is an associate professor in the English Department at Kansas State University. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia from 1994 to 1996. He has returned many times to conduct research on language and literature. His new book Language, Literacy, and Social Change in Mongolia (Lexington Books) explores literacy and language policies in Mongolia over the past 100 years (see the "New Books" section below for more details).


ACMS FIELD NOTES NUMBER 12:  "Ikh Nart: An Archaeological Treasure Trove" (Blake Epstein)

Founded in 1996, Ikh Nart Nature Reserve contains 66,000 hectares and is located in Dornogobi Aimag (East Gobi Province).  Consisting of semi-desert and grassland steppe, it is home to one of the last remaining groups of Argali, the Mongolian bighorn sheep.  It contains a host of insects and rare vegetation, making it a prime place for biological
research and study.  It is also an area rich in archaeology spanning more than 9,000 years.

Archaeologists from Mongolia and the United States work collaboratively in Ikh Nart.  Earthwatch, a non-profit international environmental research organization, underwrites archaeological research there and is assisted in the field by volunteer citizen scientists. Drs. Joan Schneider and Arlene Rosen from the United States and Dr. Yaadma Tsrendagva of the Institute of History and Archaeology and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences led a group of volunteers and other scientists conducting research in Ikh Nart last summer.

As a volunteer, I had the privilege of working with this group in Ikh Nart which has archaeological features and sites dating to the Neolithic Period (8000 B.C.E. – 4000 B.C.E.),  Xiongnu Period (300 B.C.E. – 100 C.E.), Great Mongol Empire Period (1206 C.E. – 1370 C.E.) and Manchu Period (1640 C.E. – 1912 C.E.). Based on their statistical random study, Mongolian and Earthwatch scientists predict that 5,000 archaeological sites may exist at Ikh Nart. Thus far about 150 sites have been assessed and registered at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Institute of History and Archaeology in Ulaanbaatar.

While participating in this surveying effort, we came across thousands of artifacts and multiple burial and Balbal features. Artifacts located while surveying places suitable for human habitation such as areas around river beds were primarily from the Neolithic Period. These Neolithic artifacts included blade cores (rock from which small, sharp micro-blades were removed), micro-blades (a small early form of a razor mounted in a wood or bone handle, used to cut), sharpened projectiles (a sharpened double-edged tool to be attached to a spear or arrow for hunting or battle), stone tools and vessels, and pottery shards (used for holding liquids in most case). We also found Manchu Period pottery, clearly different than its Neolithic counterpart in that it had curved tops and painted sides.

Once we found these artifacts, we logged their coordinates using GPS, measuring their size, noting the type of stone and recording any unusual features. This was all described in our field notebook, which also included site number, date, and description. These notebooks will become part of the permanent record of Ikh Nart. We also took photographs to record the artifact’s image and placement. Some artifacts were set aside for further lab study but most were logged and then returned to their original location.

The burial features that we found were from several different time periods (Neolithic, Xiongnu, and Turkic). It was relatively easy to note distinctions between the burial styles from different periods. For example, some were circumscribed by rocks around the site while others were marked by rock piles. After finding these burial sites, we took GPS coordinates, then meticulously measured and mapped the rocks and features of the burial from a center-point in the site, the datum point. By mapping the style and features of the site, we could determine the time period and whether or not it had been disturbed by grave robbers, a problem that still haunts sites in Mongolia and around the world.
We also looked at a Balbal feature from the Turkic Period, which is an alignment of rocks, one rock for every one man that a certain tribe had killed in battle. This feature was used to intimidate other tribes by advertising their skill and ferocity in battle. The Balbal feature went on for 1.6 miles. We logged the coordinates and size of every five rocks to study the method and patterns of Balbal building. Also of interest were rock art drawings from both the Neolithic and Tibetan Periods of Mongolia. They included abstract and realistic designs and writing and could be of the painted type (pictographs) or engraved type (petroglyphs).

Ikh Nart Nature Preserve is a special place due to the pristine condition of its unique archaeological sites that have existed for millennia. Part of Earthwatch’s mission is not only to explore and study this area now, but to maintain it in its present state for the future. It is one of Mongolia’s most important heritage sites and merits its designation as a National Nature Reserve and Protected Area.

Blake Epstein is an 11th grade student at Ranney High School in Tinton Falls, NJ. During summer 2017, he conducted archaeological surveys at Ikh Nart Nature Preserve.
Position Openings


The University of Heidelberg invites applications for a 3-year PhD position as part of the European Research Council Project Entangled Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China, and Mongolia, 1905–2005. The PhD candidate will focus on the history of the concept of khural and its institutional forms in Mongolia and the Russian Federation (Buryatia, Kalmykia, and Tuva).

Entangled Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China, and Mongolia, 1905–2005 addresses the entangled histories of deliberative decision making, political representation, and constitutionalism on the territories of the former Russian and Qing Empires and focuses on the cases of Russia, Ukraine, China, and Mongolia between 1905 and 2005.  Employing the perspectives of the New Imperial History and Transcultural Studies, the project overcomes narrow state-centered approaches and takes advantage of multidisciplinary methodology crossing history and political science.

The project traces parliamentary developments, the interactions among imperial and post-imperial intellectuals and their engagement in global discussions, shared imperial legacies, mutual borrowings and references, imperial and post-imperial political practices, and translatability of concepts. It seeks to refute the stereotypes about inclinations towards democracy in particular national contexts by tracing relevant transnational practices and interactions and providing a nuanced political and intellectual history of parliamentarism. 

The University of Heidelberg will employ the PhD candidate for three years.  Gross monthly salary is budgeted at 45 percent of TV-L E13/2, or approximately 2,475 EUR. The position also anticipates two months of archival fieldwork in Mongolia.

The prospective candidate should hold an MA (or equivalent) degree in history or a related field and have excellent knowledge of English (TOEFL 90 or IELTS 7), Mongolian, and Russian.

The position is scheduled to start on October 1, 2018.Please submit the following documents electronically as a single PDF-file to by May 31, 2018 (CET): (1) cover letter; (2) CV; (3) certificate of an MA (or equivalent) degree; (4) transcript of records; (5) certificate of proficiency in English (TOEFL or IELTS); and (6) short essay (750–1000 words without references), explaining how you would do research on the proposed topic.

The CV and the essay should be written in English. Other documents can be submitted in English, Mongolian, Russian, or German. If the completion of the MA degree is expected in 2018, a transcript of records will suffice. If you have peer-reviewed publications, please attach them as PDF-copies to the application.

INTERNSHIP AND FULL-TIME OPPORTUNITIES:  Private Equity and Impact Investing in Mongolia

Schulze Global Investments (, a private equity firm focused on the world's most dynamic frontier markets, is offering internship and full-time opportunities based in Ulaanbaatar. Schulze Global is the only American private equity firm that is actively investing in Mongolia, where the firm maintains a fully-staffed office. The firm already has a robust portfolio of both debt and equity investments in the country, while also managing a long-term debt facility anchored by a leading development finance institution. 

The next intern intake will start in May/June 2018, with application submissions anticipated during the February/March time frame. Full-time opportunities are available on an ongoing basis. Working closely with seasoned private equity practitioners, interns and full-time employees will get hands-on experience in both deal sourcing and portfolio management in a frontier context. Given the firm’s commitment to a Double Bottom Line investment philosophy, team members will also have the opportunity to work with local small and medium-sized clients to analyze business practices and contribute to developing and building sustainable businesses.

Candidates for the intern position must be senior undergraduates, recent graduates or graduate students in the fields of finance, business, or economics. Applicants for the full-time position must hold a graduate degree (MA/MS/MBA) and ideally have 2-3 years of full-time or internship experience in finance. General requirements include strong interpersonal and analytical skills; excellent English language proficiency and writing ability; a desire to work hard and learn with strong self-motivation; and an ability to work in a multi-cultural and frontier environment.

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 the intern in finding accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, and in select cases, provide an airfare subsidy (not to exceed US$500). For full-time hires, Schulze Global will offer logistical and financial support to the candidate in acquiring a Mongolian work visa.

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

JOB OPENING: 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 following e-mail address:

Research Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants


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.


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.


The purpose of the fellowship is to provide individuals with the opportunity to pursue research in the area of Asian studies, using the unparalleled collections of the Asian Division and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC (which incudes an extensive Mongolian collection).

The fellowships are for a minimum of five business days of research at the Library of Congress. Grants may vary from $300 to $3,000 and are to be used to cover travel to and from Washington and overnight accommodations, as well as other research expenses. Graduate students, independent scholars, researchers, and librarians with a need for fellowship support are especially encouraged to apply.

The fellowship application is accepted only via email submission. In order to apply, the applicant must download the application form ( and follow the enclosed instructions. The deadline for the 2018 application season is February 28, 2018.

Contact Information: Tien Doan Florence Tan Moeson Fellowship Committee(202) 707-3625; e-mail:

(NOTE: The Library of Congress's Asian Division Florence Tan Moeson Research Fellowship Program is made possible by the generous donation of Florence Tan Moeson, who served as a cataloger at the Library of Congress for 43 years until she retired in 2001. Mrs. Moeson passed away on November 15, 2008).
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.

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

For more information, please visit conference website at


"Standardization, Information, Legalization and Internationalization of Mongolia Languages and Scripts"

The Third International Conference on Mongolic Linguistics (ML 2018) will be held in Lindong Town, Baarin Left Banner, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China from July 29 through August 1, 2018. The conference, undertaken by the Baarin Left Banner Government, is co-hosted by School of Mongolian Studies, Inner Mongolia University, and Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, National University of Mongolia, Kalmyk State University and Buryat State University, providing a forum for exchanging knowledge and information on Mongolic languages. Working languages at the conference will be English, Russian, and Mongolian.

If your paper is selected by the Organizing Committee, we will send a formal invitation and provide accommodation and meals during the conference, as well as certain sightseeing activities. Transportation costs are not included.

If interested, please submit the following materials by February 1, 2018: (1) completed application form; (2) short one-page CV; (3) photocopy of passport.  Conference Proceedings will be published after the conference.  You will be informed if your paper has been selected by February 15, 2018.

Application form should include the following details:  first and last name; city and country; affiliation and academic degree; title and position; mailing address, phone number and e-mail address; title of paper; abstract in English, Russian or Mongolian (up to 200 words).

For further information, please contact the following e-mail address:; please indicate the topic of your message as follows: "To the Organizing Committee".


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:

Recent Publications

Language, Literacy, and Social Change in Mongolia: Traditionalist, Socialist, and Post-Socialist Identities (Contemporary Central Asia: Societies, Politics, and Cultures) by Phillip P. Marzluf; 234 pages; $95 (Lexington Books, 2018)

Language, Literacy, and Social Change in Mongolia is the first full-length treatment of literacy in Mongolian. Challenging readers’ assumptions about Central Asia and Mongolia, this book focuses on Mongolians’ experiences with reading and writing throughout the past 100 years. Literacy, as a powerful historical and social variable, shows readers how reading and writing have shaped the lives of Mongolians and, at the same time, how reading and writing have been transformed by historical, political, economic, and other social forces.

Mongolian literacy serves as an especially rich area of inquiry because of the dramatic political, economic, and social changes that occurred in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. For the seventy years during which Mongolia was a part of the communist Soviet world, literacy played an important role in how Mongolians identified themselves, conceived of the past, and created a new social order. Literacy was also a part of the story of authoritarianism and state violence. It was used to express the authority of the communist Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, control the pastoral population, and suppress non-socialist beliefs and practices. Mongolians’ reading and writing opportunities and resources were tightly controlled, and the language policy of replacing the traditional Mongolian script with the Cyrillic alphabet immediately followed the violent repression of Buddhist leaders, government officials, and intellectuals.

Beginning with the 1990 Democratic Revolution, Mongolians have been thrust into free-market capitalism, privatization, globalization, and neoliberalism. In post-socialist Mongolia, literacy no longer serves as the center for Mongolian identity. Government subsidies to pastoral literacy resources have been slashed, and administrators now find themselves competing with other “developing countries” for educational funding. Due to the pressures caused by globalization, Mongolians have begun to talk about literacy and language in terms of crisis and anxiety. As global flows of English compete with new symbols from the distant past, Mongolians worry about the perceived lowering standards of Mongolian linguistic usage amid rapid economic changes. These worries also reveal themselves in official language policies and manifest themselves in the multiple languages and scripts that appear in the capital of Ulaanbaatar and other urban areas. 

Phillip P. Marzluf is associate professor in the English Department at Kansas State University, where he teaches classes on literacy, professional writing, pedagogy, and world literature.  A former ACMS Fellow, he also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia.

Ulaanbaatar Beyond Water and Grass: A Guide to the Capital of Mongolia by M.A. Aldrich; 328 pages; $39 (Hong University Press, 2018)

Ulaanbaatar Beyond Water and Grass is the first English language book that takes visitors to an in-depth exploration of the capital of Mongolia. In the first section, M. A. Aldrich paints a detailed portrait of the history, religion, and architecture of Ulaanbaatar with reference to how the city evolved from a monastic settlement to a communist-inspired capital and finally to a major city of free-wheeling capitalism and Tammany Hall politics. The second section offers the reader a tour of different sites within the city and beyond, bringing back to life the human dramas that have played themselves out on the stage of Ulaanbaatar.

At its best, Ulaanbaatar Beyond Water and Grass: A Guide to the Capital of Mongolia reveals much that remains hidden from the temporary visitor and even from the long-term resident. Writing in a quirky, idiosyncratic style, the author shares his appreciation and delight in this unique urban setting—indeed, in all things Mongolian.

M. A. Aldrich is a lawyer and author who has lived and worked in Asia for nearly thirty years. His previous books include The Search for a Vanishing Beijing: A Guide to China’s Capital Through the Ages and The Perfumed Palace: Islam’s Journey from Mecca to Peking. He has also written numerous articles on Chinese and Mongolian law and is currently writing a book about Lhasa.

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".