Subject: This Month in Mongolian Studies - March 2021

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In this Issue:

ACMS Announcements 

ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events

Vacancies and Fellowships

Grants, Scholarships, Calls for Papers

New Resources

Other News and Events

Recent Books

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

Note: This issue of the newsletter has undergone some experimental changes in design. We would love to hear your feedback on what you like and where you think we could improve! 

Thank you!

ACMS Announcements, News and Media References


Due to the (still) upheld travel restrictions, the ACMS and Field School instructors are offering online Mongolian studies courses. We're pleased to note that through the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation, the courses will be completely free and open to all participants. The first session of the OFS starts on March 10, with the course "Digitizing Mongolian, with Dr. Marissa Smith". This will be followed by "Mining and Environment in Northern Mongolia, with Dr. Gantulga Bayasgalan" on April 5, and "Mongolian Buddhism: Sacred Geography in Munkh Khukh Tengriin Oron, with Dr. Betsy Quammen and Rebecca Watters" on June 6.

The seven courses of the 2021 Online Field School are open to everyone, and will provide opportunities to learn about Mongolia from different disciplinary perspectives, including digital humanities, geology, environmental studies, buddhism, journalism, climate change, public health, literature, and renewable energy.

The lessons will be delivered in English. No prior knowledge of Mongolia or Mongolian is required


The long-awaited announcement of the online offshoot of our annual intensive language program is here. ACMS invites students, faculty, and other interested persons to participate in the eight-week Online Intensive Mongolian Language (OIML) Program from June 7 to August 6, 2021.

The 2021 OIML program will admit up to three cohorts out of the four levels of Mongolian aptitude, which are Beginner (Level 1), Lower-Intermediate (Level 2), Upper-Intermediate (Level 3), and Advanced (Level 4). Some of our members may recall that we held the Level 4 course successfully last summer. 

Each applicant will be tested for Mongolian language proficiency and enrolled into the appropriate level. Each cohort will admit up to five students.

Tuition for each course is $2000 as described in the program costs section. A limited number of Language Program Fellowships from the US Department of State will provide stipends of up to $2,000 to cover tuition costs for US citizens applicants based on merit and need. 

The goal of the program is to assist as many people as possible to participate in language training to enhance their ability to conduct research in Mongolia.

ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events
Please note that our VSS programming is alternating monthly between Mongolian and English as part of our larger plan to create inclusive and accessible discourse. March events are "Mongolia's 20th Century History" panel and "Zoomorphism as elitism: The legacy of Iron-Age steppe design in the Mongol empire" lecture. Both events will be held in English.

The ACMS Virtual Panel Series on "The Science of AI" was hosted on February 23, with five Mongolian researchers and experts leading in the science of AI in Mongolia and the world from the academic, business, and community aspects. The event garnered over 3,100 interests on Facebook, with ~1,700 signups, and over 10k views on the live stream, 57 comments, 134 shares as of February 25. The comments received on Zoom, Facebook, and email were overall extremely positive, thanking the speakers--and the ACMS for the initiative to introduce the experts' work to the general public.

The abridged, annotated, and bilingually subtitled recording of the March events are soon going to be uploaded on the ACMS YouTube channel.
Dr. Bayarsaikhan Dashdondog of the National University of Mongolia presented "Armenian sources of the 13th-14th century on Mongol history" on February 16. Dr. Bayarsaikhan's presentation garnered over 700 responses, and over 6,000 views on her video. Dr. Bayarsaikhan's presentation focused on how the Armenian sources for the Mongols differ in their attitudes towards the Mongols, expressing both neutral and personal views and depending on where they have been written, in Greater Armenia or in Cilician Armenia.

Vacancies and Fellowships

Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Modern Tibetan Studies, Columbia University

The Weatherhead East Asian Institute invites applications for the role of Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Modern Tibetan Studies for academic year 2021-2022. WEAI seeks a Postdoctoral Research Scholar who studies Tibet from any of a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, environmental studies, film studies, gender studies, geography, history, literature, material and visual culture, political science, and religion.

The appointment is for the 2021-2022 academic year, beginning September 1, 2021, ending August 31, 2022. The position comes with shared office space and access to the libraries and resources of Columbia University. The incumbent is eligible for a number of benefits, including health and dental.


Applicants must have completed all Ph.D. degree requirements (dissertation completed and filed) between May 1, 2018 and August 31, 2021.
Individuals without prior full-time teaching experience preferred.
Preference will be given to candidates who speak and read Tibetan (and write Tibetan at a basic level) in order to conduct research using primary source materials.
2021-2022 Australia Awards Scholarship

Australia Awards scholarships are prestigious international awards offered by the Australian Government to the next generation of global leaders for development. Through study and research, recipients develop the skills and knowledge to drive change and help build enduring people-to-people links with Australia.

Applicants are assessed on their professional and personal qualities, academic competence and, most importantly, their potential to make a positive impact on development challenges in Mongolia. Applications are strongly encouraged from those living in rural areas, people with disability and other marginalised groups. countries, which will depend on a variety of factors, including the status of COVID-19 in-country. We will share this information with you as soon as it is available.
The priority fields of study are agriculture and environment studies, education, engineering, mining, and construction.

Grants, Scholarships, and Calls for Paper


The Berlin Program Summer Workshop 2021 seeks proposals from a diverse array of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives on what it means to be “alone together” in historical or contemporary terms. The proposals may take a variety of forms: from case studies, literary analyses, and policy examinations to media matters, cultural comparisons, historical considerations, and aesthetic investigations. The workshop will be an English language online event free of charge.

Application deadline: Submit one PDF file containing a 250-word abstract, a two-page CV, and a 150-word bio by March 17, 2021 to bprogram[at]


The ASCJ executive committee is pleased to announce that Early Bird registration for this year’s conference is now open via link below and at the ACSJ website’s “Conference” section. Pre-registration offers a substantial fee reduction. From April 21, the registration fee will revert to the “Regular” level. (Please be aware that the ASCJ is only able to provide letters of invitation for visa or funding purposes to participants whose name will appear on the program.)

As we noted in our earlier Call for Papers, we are planning for an on-site meeting in 2021, but given the uncertainties surrounding the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic, we cannot absolutely rule out the cancellation of this year’s conference. (We have no plans for a hybrid or online only event).

New Resources

Digital collections related to Mongolia we discovered in February, 2021:

  • "The Science and Technology Database" This is the website of the Science and Technology Foundation (The words for database and foundation are the same in Mongolian), which was established in the 1990s under the directive of the government of Mongolia to synergize and promote academic research in Mongolia. The website is currently organizing online exhibition to promote fruits of research by major higher education institutes and academies in five domains: medicine, technology, agriculture, natural sciences, social and humanities.

Selected scholarly articles published in February, 2021:

Other News and Events

Reviving an (Almost) Forgotten Script: self-taught calligrapher Amgalan Zhamsoev mixes traditional Mongolian aesthetics with modern influences
Amgalan Zhamsoev is a self-taught calligrapher and scholar of Buryat and Mongolian studies, based in Ulan-Ude, Russia. Through his art, he aims to revive the use of Mongolian script for the Buryat language by mixing traditional aesthetics with modern influences...
Mongol Identity dictionary definition campaign influences the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (Mongol Identity)
To mark World Education Day on 24th January 2021, Mongol Identity launched a campaign for improved dictionary definitions of the word ‘Mongol’ to help counter racism and discrimination against people with disabilities. [The Mongol Identity] approached the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and are very pleased with the outcome...
Commentary | Marissa J. Smith, “Quality, not Apology! Resign!": COVID-19 Response Exposes Issues of Governance in Mongolia (Critical Asian Studies)
In this short write-up, [Marissa J. Smith] explore[s] emerging and on-going issues within Mongolia’s COVID-19 response. While these are currently not getting much attention from Mongolian politicians, issues related to COVID-19 certainly demand attention in the context of not only a Cabinet reshuffle ostensibly responding to public dissatisfaction with the government’s COVID-19 response, but also the run-up to Presidential elections in June 2021...
Review | 'Pages from the past: The 1910 Moscow trade expedition to Mongolia' by Elizabeth Endicott (Development Research Institute of Mongolia and Inner Asia)
Beyond secure land tenure, strengthening pastoral institutions entails integrated management of production components: pastureland - management, livestock - production and marketing, and labor - movement and migration1. This is particularly important when the interdependence between private livestock production and markets have direct influence on pastureland use...
The Double-Tongued Dilemma: Translating Chinese Workers’ Relations in Mongolia (Made in China Journal)
Drawing on fieldwork conducted at a Chinese-owned mine and factory in Mongolia, this essay will reflect on the critical roles of language and translation as boundary-keeping and boundary-crossing practices in intra and interethnic labour relations. While the monolinguals rely on the bilinguals to facilitate industrial production, they also view the latter in a suspicious light—often refracted through the issue of sexual intimacy...
COMMENT: Why critics are asking if Inner Mongolia is the next Tibet or Xinjiang (BNE Intellinews)
The new policy replaces Mongolian with Mandarin in core subjects—morality and law, history, and language and literature—while Mongolian would remain, alongside English and Korean, as a foreign language. The Chinese government says that the presence of the Mongolian language class is proof that they are not scrapping the Mongolian language altogether...

April 9, 2021 4:00 PM CDT
The Mongol Impact: Why Weave When you Can Paint or Sculpt?
Speaker: Yong Cho (UC Riverside)

A webinar, co-sponsored by the Art History and Transnational Asian Studies at Rice University

March 17, 2021 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST
Xinjiang, a special webinar
Moderator: Kevin O'Brien (UC Berkeley)
Speakers: Sean Roberts (George Washington University)
Darren Byler (University of Colorado)
Elise Anderson (Uyghur Human Rights Project)
Rachel Harris (SOAS University of London)

March 3, 2021 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EST
Why Chinggis Khan can't get an exit visa: China's Great State legacy
Speaker: Timothy Brook (University of British Columbia)
Moderator: Gray Tuttle (Professor at Columbia University)

Contact Information
Ling-Wei Kung

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February 27, 2021 4:00 PM EST
Elections, Virtual Reality, and Climate Change: What Can Anthropology of Mongolia Offer 
Speaker: Dr. Manduhai Buyandelger, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

This was a keynote address at the Association of Central Eurasian Students (ACES) Conference.
February 25, 2021, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
The Ger for the 21st Century: Air pollution and coal in the ger-districts of Mongolia
Panel: Mark Gardner, William Braham, and Achilles Kallergis (Center for Environmental Building + Design (CEBD) at the University of Pennsylvania)

February 24, 2021, 4:30 PM GMT
Veterinary Science, Zud, and Wolves: Environmental and Animal History of Collectivization in Mongolia
Speaker: Kenneth Linden (Indiana University)
Research Seminar, MIASU, Cambridge University

February 14, 2021, 4:30 PM GMT
Tsagaan Sar 2021: Year of the Ox! Virtual Celebration
Host: Friends of Mongolia
Music performances, videos, interviews and more
February 9, 2021, 4:30 PM GMT
Why the Mongol Conquests? Sources and Explanations of the 1211 Campaigns against North China
Speaker: Christopher Atwood (University of Pennsylvania)
Research Seminar, MIASU, Cambridge University
Access Passcode: 7Mlz8!md

February 3, 2021, 1:15 PM EST
Settler Nativization in the Inner Eurasian Borderlands of the Qing and Russian Empires
Speaker: Wei-chieh Tsai (Shenzhen University)
Inner Asian and Altaic Studies Lecture Series, Harvard University

Recent Books

Transforming Inner Mongolia: Commerce, Migration, and Colonization on the Qing Frontier by Yi Wang
Page: 336. Price: 105 USD
This groundbreaking book analyzes the dramatic impact of Han Chinese migration into Inner Mongolia during the Qing era. In the first detailed history in English, Yi Wang explores how processes of commercial expansion, land reclamation, and Catholic proselytism transformed the Mongol frontier long before it was officially colonized and incorporated into the Chinese state. Wang reconstructs the socioeconomic, cultural, and administrative history of Inner Mongolia at a time of unprecedented Chinese expansion into its peripheries and China’s integration into the global frameworks of capitalism and the...

Yi Wang is associate professor of history at Binghamton University.
Contemporary Mongolia: Political, economic and strategic chronicle of a nomadic country by Antoine Marie (in French)
Page: 242. Price: 25 Euro
Mongolia is mainly known in Europe for the conquests of the most illustrious of its emperors, Genghis Khan, or for the survival of a pastoral nomadism. These two elements explain the attraction of a growing number of tourists in search of exoticism and authenticity, and give rise to a varied literary production, in particular numerous travelogues...

Antoine Maire is an associate researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS)...
Mixing Medicines: Ecologies of Care in Buddhist Siberia by Tatiana Chudakova
Page: 288. Price: 32 USD
Traditional medicine enjoys widespread appeal in today’s Russia, an appeal that has often been framed either as a holdover from pre-Soviet times or as the symptom of capitalist growing pains and vanishing Soviet modes of life. Mixing Medicines seeks to reconsider these logics of emptiness and replenishment. Set in Buryatia, a semi-autonomous indigenous republic in Southeastern Siberia, the book offers an ethnography of the institutionalization of Tibetan medicine, a botanically-based therapeutic practice framed as at once foreign, international, and local to Russia’s Buddhist regions...

Tatiana Chudakova is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University.
American Center for Mongolian Studies, 642 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States
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