Subject: This Month in Mongolian Studies - March 2018

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March 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, News and Media References


As we approach our 2018 Annual Meeting, I wanted to provide an update on my new role within ACMS. I served as Executive Director from its founding in 2002, overseeing both operations and development. After 15 years, I was ready to transition to a new role, and Jonathan Addleton joined ACMS as our new Executive Director in fall 2017. In December 2017 the ACMS Executive Board appointed me to an Executive Board positoin as ACMS Vice President for External Affairs, taking over the position previously held by Julian Dierkes.  I also serve as the ACMS Board Representative for Royal Rhodes University (RRU) in Victoria, BC, where I have a full-time position in the School of Business. 

I am very excited about this new opportunity to serve on the ACMS Board and turn over management and operational responsibilities to our excellent ACMS team led by Jonathan Addleton in the US and Tricia Turbold in Mongolia. For the past 15 years I have focused on administrative work with ACMS, which has limited opportunities to teach and conduct research work in Mongolia. I am currently working on a new initiative that if all goes well will allow me to travel to Mongolia regularly to help lead a field school program for North American and Mongolian students.

ACMS was first organized 15 years ago in Washington, DC during the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) annual conference, and thus it is fitting that the ACMS Annual meeting is being held in Washington, DC this year. Unfortunately I will not be able to join in person as I am currently on sabbatical in Innsbruck, Austria, but I do plan to join the ACMS Board Meeting by teleconference. I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to join the ACMS Annual Meeting where you will have the chance to hear from Jonathan and Tricia about the many programs and activities of ACMS, and you can offer your input and ideas for the continued growth and development of ACMS and Mongolian studies.

I greatly enjoyed my time as ACMS Executive Director, working with our excellent personnel and affiliated scholars and institutions in both Mongolia and North America to develop and implement a range of programs including our field research fellowships, speaker series events and annual meetings. I am proud to have helped ACMS raise more than $4 million from the US government, Henry Luce Foundation and other sources to support academic research and exchanges, build global awareness about Mongolia and assist in the development of Mongolian studies. I look forward to continuing to support ACMS through my role on the ACMS Board and through future programs and activities.

Thank you for the support you have offered to me and to ACMS over the past years, and please stay in touch. I can be reached at



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.

ThIs year's schedule involves three separate ACMS events:

1.  Board Meeting involving executive board members, at-large board members and Institutional board members

     When:  1 PM on Friday, March 23   
     Where:  Home of ACMS Treasurer Meredith Giordano (2828 28th Street, NW)

For those unable to attend in person, a phone-in arrangement is being put in place -- all board members will receive instructions on how to connect in this fashion prior to the event.

2.  Annual General Meeting involving all dues-paying ACMS members.

     When:   4:30 on Friday, March 23
     Where:  Home of ACMS Treasurer Meredith Giordano (2828 28th Street, NW)

The actual meeting will begin at 5 PM -- but please feel free to arrive by 4:30 PM, providing an opportunity to meet informally with new ACMS country director Tricia Turbold.

3.  Embassy Reception: 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.

     When:   6:30 PM on Friday, March 23
     Where:  Embassy of Mongolia (2833 "M" Street, NW in Georgetown)

If you have not already done so, please notify ACMS Executive Director Jonathan right away so he can ensure that your name is on the Mongolian Embassy invite list!

Additional Information?  If you have any questions about any of the ACMS events being held in Washington, DC on Friday, March 23 please e-mail Jonathan Addleton directly:



ACMS Cultural Heritage Coordinator Dr. Julia Clark reports that the National Museum of Mongolia has just announced completion of an initiative aimed at barcoding all objects held by the museum as a part of their inventory process.

Implemented with support from the Luce Foundation and the US Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation, this represents a significant success for the continued partnership between ACMS, the National Museum of Mongolia, and the US Embassy.

This initiative was launched in Fall 2016 as a way to prevent cultural heritage theft, provide information to researchers on collection holdings, and improve museum work flow. In other good news, the dual-language guidebook that supports this work has just been finalized and will be sent to the printers shortly.



The ACMS office in Ulaanbaatar is pleased to announce that we now 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 



As reported by the Mongolian news agency MONTSAME, on February 22 ACMS Country Director Tricia Turbold met with D. Regdel, President of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences  (MAS) to discuss ACMS programs and potential cooperation with MAS. There is also interest in developing a Memorand of Cooperation aimed at further strengthening links between the two organizations.



ACMS Country Director Jonathan Addleton traveled to Washington, DC on March 2 and met with Enkhbold Zandaakhuu, former Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament and current Chief of Staff for the President of Mongolia. Addleton was initially scheduled to also speak to approximately 50 Congressional staff and others on the same day -- but heavy winds and rain resulted in a closure of all US government offices. Hopefullly, the briefing can be rescheduled for later in the year.

ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events


The American Center for Mongolian Studies’ (ACMS) Cultural Heritage Program (CHP) is organizing a conference scheduled to take place on June 15, 2018 in Ulaanbaatar that highlights Henry Luce Foundation-sponsored Cultural Heritage activities and other cultural heritage-related topics in Mongolia.

Past CHP/Luce Fellows are especially encouraged to participate. We are seeking both presentations and posters (in English) on topics related to Mongolian cultural heritage, not only from traditional disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology and history but also from other disciplines not traditionally associated with cultural heritage themes such as biology, economics, politics, ecology, medicine and others. All papers must have a clear cultural heritage linkage.  Participation is free and does not involve a registration fee.

To register as a presenter, please send a 100-200 word abstract in English to Julia at 
or Tuvshee at


The American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) invites students and scholars to enroll in an eight week Intensive Mongolian Language Program in Ulaanbaatar from June 11 to August 10, 2018. The intermediate level program entails 8 weeks of intensive Mongolian language study over a 9-week period, equivalent to approximately 9 semester credit hours.  The course is taught by experienced Mongolian language teachers and the aim is to provide students with an opportunity to strengthen their communcate competence through systematic kmprovement of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.

Tuition and fees cost $2,000, covering tuition, course materials, admission to museums and events, and local transportation to course-required activities. Students are responsible for their own living and travel arrangements and expenses, which typically include $1,000 for housing; $1,000 for food and incidentals; and $2,500 for round trip travel from the US. The application deadline is April 1, 2018, with tuition payments due on May 1, 2018.

All applicants must have a self-assessed or officially assessed Intermediate or greater level of proficiency in Mongolian and at least 1 year experience studying Mongolian or equivalent.  For more details, see the ACMS website.  Feel free to also contact ACMS country director Tricia Turnbold: 

Apply online here.



Petya Andreeva:  "Fantastic Beasts on the Eurasian Steppes: The Politics of Burial Regalia in Iron Age Funerary Art along the Mongolian Steppes and Further West"

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 5:30 PM, American Corner, Ulaanbaatar Public Library

The term “animal style” is often used to describe groupings of portable luxury goods with zoomorphic designs commonly found in burials dispersed across the Eurasian steppe. The high-end objects featuring this approach include headdresses, clothing plaques, belt buckles and textile fragments embellished with detailed scenes of dynamic animal interaction in which anatomically accurate animals as well as hybrid and abstracted zoomorphs are depicted in vigorous acts of predation, hunt or mystic transformation.

During the last decade, newly excavated elite burials dispersed throughout the western Mongolian steppes as well as the Mongolian Altai, Tuva basin, Kazakh uplands and Northern Black Sea grassland have shed further light on the various approaches to burial practices among distinct nomadic groups thus challenging the concept of “nomadic unity”.  Such differences are especially pronounced in the treatment of the body and its systematic decoration before its placement in the tomb.

This talk will focus on the political and cosmological implications of the strategic placement and ceremonial usage of headdresses in early Iron Age elite burials. In particular, the presentation will demonstrate that various nomadic entities which inhabited the Ordos Loop and its surrounding regions in the 7th -3rd century BCE invented individual artistic approaches to dealing with the same conceptual problem, namely the presence of a real-life audience to attend the funerary ceremony and an imagined one present in the afterlife.

The occurrence of elongated, spiral-shaped gold headdresses, usually accompanied by torques terminating into fantastic animals, is a prominent component in most of the elite burials discussed in this study; the talk will also delve into the spiritual and political motivations behind the construction of such carefully planned burial attire.

Petya Andreeva is a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Her main research interest is in the cultural and artistic exchange between nomadic entities and sedentary empires in Eurasia. Her previous publications include an article on rock drawings in the South Gobi province, co-authored with Professor Christopher Atwood. She has also written articles and catalogue entries on various topics in East Asian art, including image and script in modern Chinese art, textiles in Tokugawa Japan and Uyghur imagery in Buddhist complexes in Xinjiang.

Petya Andreeva has been awarded Asian art fellowships by various museums in Asia and the North America including the National Museum of Korea, University of Hong Kong Museum, Freer Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. In addition, she received grants to support her dissertation fieldwork in museums and other cultural institutions in St. Petersburg, Siberia, Almaty and Astana.
Position Openings


The ACMS office in Ulaanbaatar is looking for a part-time Accountant to (1) prepare all necessary tax and financial reports; (2) manage petty cash transactions and payroll; (3) ensure that current copies of all invoices, bills and financial statements have been received and filed appropriately; (4) enter financial information from Mongolian operations into the approved financial management software; and (5) oversee the financial management of Mongolian scholarships and related reports and documentation.

The ideal candidate for this position will be a motivated professional with a Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university, knowledgeable of Mongolian finance and tax systems, fluent in Mongolian and with good English (written and spoken), and having the ability to work effectively with a team.  Experience with QuickBooks is preferred.

This is a part-time position. In order to apply, submit the following materials (in English):  cover letter; current resume with contact information; and a list of three references to Baigalmaa Begzsuren, CM Manager at:

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. However, we encourage interested candidates to apply as soon as possible. For more information, see the following link:

LECTURER IN MONGOLIAN LANGUAGE AND CIVILIZATION (Deadline for Submitting Application:  March 23, 2018)

INALCO (National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations) in Paris, France is advertising for a Lecturer in Mongolian Languages and Civilization.  This is a full-time position requiring a PhD in either the humanities or social sciences.

Candidates must speak good English and French and teach Mongolian. Integrating with the relevant INALCO research team, candidates will also provide instruction on the civilization and culture of Mongolia.  

For more information, see the INALCO website ( or contact the following e-mail address:  recrut-ec@inalcofr



The University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany invites applications for two 3-year PhD positions in the European Research Council Project Entangled Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China, and Mongolia, 1905–2005.” One PhD candidate will explore the history of Ukrainian parliamentarism from the participation of Ukrainian representatives in the State Duma of the Russian Empire to the 2004 Constitutional Reform. The other 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).

The project 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 New Imperial History and Transcultural Studies, the project looks beyond narrow state-centered approaches and takes advantage of multidisciplinary methodology involving both history and political science. The project traces parliamentary developments, 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 by providing a nuanced political and intellectual history of parliamentarism.

The University of Heidelberg will employ both PhD candidates for three years (gross monthly salary is approximately 2,475 EUR) and sponsor two months of archival fieldwork in Ukraine and Mongolia, respectively. Prospective candidates should hold an MA or equivalent in history or a related field and have excellent knowledge of English (TOEFL 90 or IELTS 7), Ukrainian or Mongolian, respectively, and Russian. The positions are scheduled to start on October 1, 2018.

Candidates should submit the following documents electronically as a single PDF-file to by May 31, 2018: (1) cover letter; (2) CV; (3) certificate of MA or equivalent; (4) transcript of records; (5) certificate of proficiency in English (TOEFL or IELTS); and (6) short essay (750–1000 words without references) explaining how  research on the proposed topic will be conducted.

The CV and essay must be written in English. Other documents can be submitted in English, Ukrainian, Russian, or German. If completion of the MA degree is expected in 2018, a transcript of records will suffice. Please attach any peer-reviewed publications as PDF copies to the application (not mandatory). 

Research Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants

(US and Canadian Scholars)

The ACMS Cultural Heritage Program (CHP) with support from the Luce Foundation is pleased to announce a call for applications to support North American student participation in the NOMAD Science Inter-Disciplinary Field School (www.nomadsciencemongolia.comduring summer 2018. A selected number of fellowships of up to $2,000 are available to support tuition costs or travel expenses associated with participating in Session II (July 9 - July 30, 2018).  

Eligible candidates must meet the following criteria:

(1) submit an application to NOMAD Science Session II by April 1, 2018;
(2) currently enrolled as an undergraduate or seeking admission to graduate school or in a graduate school program in the United States or Canada;
(3) available for a pre-program orientation with other CHP sponsored scholars (July 5 - July 6) in Ulaanbaatar; and
(4) agree to take on an independent project related to cultural heritage research or protection in Mongolia during the field school and to give at least one public or professional presentation upon returning to their home; independent projects will be jointly determined and carried out in collaboration with a Field School Director; candidates are not required to have developed an indepenent project prior to the time of application

The deadline for receipt of completed applications is April 1, 2018.

All inquiries about the program should be sent to:



The ACMS Cultural Heritage Program (CHP) with support from the Luce Foundation is pleased to announce a call for applications to support Mongolian student participation in the NOMAD Sciences Inter-Disciplinary Field School (
 during summer 2018. All costs associated with participation as well as a stipend of up to $500 will be offered to successful candidates to partcipate in Session II of this program (July 9 - July 30, 2018)

Eligible candidates must meet the following criteria:

(1) enrolled at the undergraduate or graduate level in archaeology, anthropology or a related discipline;
(2) available for a pre-progrm orientation with other CHP sponsored scholars (July 5 - July 6) in Ulaanbaatar; and
(3) agree to take on an independent project and to give a public or professional presentation following completion of the project.

The deadline for reception of completed applications is April 1, 2018

All inquiries about the program should be sent to:
Other News and Events


"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.

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

The Silk Road (Volume 15), edited by Daniel Waugh; 218 pages; free download (Annual journal of the Silkroad Foundation)

Volume 15 of the on-line journal The Silk Road covers a range of material and includes numerous photos, maps, drawings and other images. Articles also cover a range of subjects including ancient fortresses in Afghanistan's Wakhan region; caravanserais in the Mongol Golden Horde; and recent discoveries at a Turkic fortress in Kazakhstan. Other topics include a new analysis of the use of silver coins in Gaochang along the Northern Silk Road and articles about cross-cultural exchange: a ruler in Egypt who recognized his Central Asian heritage; items in museum collections connected with the “migration” of centaurs across Asia; connections involving Unified Silla Korea with the West; the deposit in a museum in the Urals of a relic from Timurid Samarkand; and the Chingissid legacy in post-Mongol East Asia. Photo essays cover Sasanian reliefs in Iran; the legacy of the Liao; and the importance of water across the Silk Roads. Finally, Volume 15 incude symposia reports and several book reviews and notices.

Volume 15 also contains a listing of the contents of the first fifteen issues of The Silk Road covering the period 2003 through 2017, an invaluable resource and especially valuable contribution for all those interested in scholarship on Central Asia and Mongolia, some of which is difficult to access and not always widely available.  

Volume 15 is freely available on line at:>, or alternatively at: <>

Print copies, sent free of charge to academic libraries, should be in the mail next month. Back numbers are also available. Volume 15 is the last issue that is also being printed in hard copy; future issues will only be available as an open access on-line publication.    

This is the final volume The Silk Road edited by Daniel Waugh (now editor emeritus) at the University of Washington. Future volumes will be edited by Professor Justin Jacobs at American University in Washington, DC.  All submissions and correspondence regarding future volumes should be addressed to him at: <>

Finally, please note that past issues of The Silk Road are available at a newly created website (all new volumes will be posted only at this website):

Mongoliya by Guo Xuebo (author) and Bruce Humes (translator); part of "Kaleidoscope Series of China Ethnic Writers" published by China Translation and Publishing House

Set in twentyfirst-century Inner Mongolia, Mongoliya is a semi-autobiographical novel by Gua Xuebo, an ethnic Mongol from China. According to one review (Asia-Pacific Journal, January 31, 2018), "It comprises three distinct but intertwined narratives: a spiritual journey, in which the author — ostensibly the narrator — seeks his Shamanic roots, long obscured in post-1949, officially atheist China; vignettes from the Mongolian adventures of Henning Haslund-Christensen, born to a Danish missionary family in 1896 and real-life author of the anthropological masterpiece Men and Gods in Mongolia; and the tribulations of Teelee Yesu, a modern-day fictional Mongol herdsman, considered by many to be the village idiot, whose very survival is threatened by desertification and coal mine truckers running roughshod over his tiny plot of land".

The same review notes that "Very occasionally . . . a minority author manages to skirt the censors and turn the spotlight on burning issues," situating Guo Xuebo's novel among those books written by minority authors in China who creatively grapple with issues that are central not only to China but also to other parts of the world.

Further developing this theme, another reviewer notes that Mongoliya "treats comically two topics almost never mentioned in Chinese news reports or fiction: The exploitation of traditional Mongolian pasture lands by ruthless mining firms and the use of self immolation by China's ethnic minorities, to protest government policies aimed at acculturation".
Translator Bruce Humes has lived in Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kunming and Shenzhen.  He specializes in translating Chinese-language fiction by or about China's non-Hun peoples, especially those who speak Altaic languagues such as the reindeer-herding Evenki (Last Quarter of the Moon) and the Uyghur in Xinjiang (Confessions of a Jade Lord). 

Proceedings from 12th Annual International Mongolian Studies Conference, edited by Myagmaryn Saruul-Erdene, Sodnomyn Enkhtsetseg and Nyamkhuugiin Narangerel  (Mongolian Cultural Center/Embassy of Mongolia, 2018)

This very recent publication includes many (though not all) of the presentations given at a recent (February 9-10, 2018) conference on Mongolian Studies held in Washington, DC.  Organized by the Mongolian Cultural Center, the event was hosted by the Mongolian Embassy and included contributions from the Library of Congress, Mongolian-American Cultural Association (MACA), and Tashim Urtuu North American (TUNA), among others.

Topics covered include academic disciplines such as Archaeology, History and Philology and important themes such Inner Mongolia after World War II, national identity and Mongolian communities in the United States.  Individual contributions vary in length but at 340 pages this book covers a lot of ground. Friends, Fellows and supporters of ACMS are well represented in several articles, underscoring the positive role that ACMS plays in encouraging scholarship and supporting research on Mongolia.

Major articles include Kristen Pearson (University of Pennsylvania) on what the archeological record reveals about textiles; Anran Wang (Cornell University) on the Chinese Communist Party's approach to Eastern Inner Mongolia immediately after World War II; Dotno Dashdorj (University of Pennsylvania) on Land Reform in Inner Mongolia during the 1950s; Clyde Goulden (Drexel University) and Robert Macintosh (US National Park Service) on Lake Hovsgol; Amuguleng Wu (University of China/University of Pennsylvania) on the Qing Conquest of Jungar during 1755-1758, as recorded in the Manchu archives; Wei Chen (University of Pennsylvania) on the architecturial aspects of three Mongolian Lamaseries; Phlip Marzluf (Kansas State University) on writing by early female travelers on the Mongolian frontier; Amartuvshin Sukhee (Mongolian National University of Education) on Mongolian stereotypes in the American media; Joseph Cleveland (Indiana University) on Mongolian nationalism and national identity; and Karen Hollweg (Fulbright Specialist) on Herder Traditions and International Tourism.

In addition, the volume concludes with several chapters based on presentions at previous Mongolia studies conferences including Alicia Campi (Mongolia Society) on US-Mongolian relations; Petya Andreeva and Christopher Atwood on newly discovered rock drawings in Mongolia; and Simon Wickhamsmith (Rutgers University) on the influence of European Modernism on Natsagdorj, "Father of Modern Mongolian Literature".  

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".