Subject: This Month in Mongolian Studies - November 2020

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November 2020
In this Issue:

ACMS Announcements 

ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events

Vacancies and Fellowships

Grants, Scholarships, Calls for Paper

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 Please note that 

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



On October 15, ACMS Executive Director Dr. Bolortsetseg and Program Coordinator Tuvshinzaya had a fruitful video call with the U.S. Ambassador Michael Klecheski and Public Affairs section staff to touch base and discuss our Ambassadors' Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) Project, as well as possible future collaborations. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with the U.S. Embassy by assisting more scholars of Mongolian studies, and connecting our two countries more in the future.


Online Mongolian

Learn Mongolian online with a professional tutor!

The American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) has been teaching Mongolian to researchers and students of all levels since 2002 and our instructor Dr. Tsermaa has been teaching Mongolian language for 24 years!

Wherever you are located, our online lessons are always within reach. Our veteran instructor will help you improve with a program tailored for your level of Mongolian.

To book your Skype lesson, email us at or call at +976 99170042.


ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events



October 20, 2020 (ULAT) 05:30pm, American Corner, UB Public Library


ACMS (Physical) Speaker Series is back after a long period of COVID-19-related restrictions. Moving ahead, we are going to organize the event in either virtually or at the American Corner depending on the availability of the speaker and the restrictions on public gathering due to COVID-19. Please note that mask wearing is mandatory when attending the event.

Doing data science in Mongolia has its own unique challenges and opportunities. Robert created Mongolian Data Stories, a Medium Publication, in 2017 to tell Mongolia’s story in data. Since then, Robert has used data science to analyze air pollution, election data, and more in Mongolia. Robert believes that data science can be used both to improve the business environment in Mongolia and to improve society through data-driven policy.

Robert Ritz is a data scientist and the Director of LETU Mongolia, an all English business school also in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In 2017 Robert created Mongolian Data Stories, an online series of blogs that aims to use data to tell Mongolia’s story. Through data visualization, machine learning, and interactive dashboards Robert seeks to understand current trends and reveal misconceptions about Mongolia’s past and present. More recently Robert founded to bring commercial data science solutions to Mongolia.




October 23, 2020 (EDT) 6:00am PST; 9:00am EST; 2:00pm GMT+1; 9:00pm ULAT

VSS Owen Lattimore

The ACMS Virtual Speaker Series panel discussion on Owen Lattimore, the renowned Mongolist, was organized on Oct 23, 2020. The Zoom session last for over two hours with 86 online participants, while the YouTube recording has already collected 200 views.

The panel was opened by the Executive Director Bolortsetseg Minjin, and moderated by Dr. Marissa Smith. The speakers included Dr. Caroline Humphrey from University of Cambridge who shared her memories of Lattimore during her time at the inaugural Mongolian Studies program at Leeds University. Dr. Judith Nordby from Leeds University presented about Lattimore's legacy, the founding of the East Asian Studies Department at the outset of UK-Mongolia diplomatic relationship. Mr. Evan Lattimore, the grandson of Owen Lattimore, spoke about the family history and legacy, as well as the Dilowa Khutugtu's relationship. Dr. Saruul-Erdene from Library of Congress presented about Owen Lattimore's influence in founding of the Mongolian Studies in the U.S.

After the presentations were over, the panelists responded to each other's and the audience's questions, as moderated by Dr. Marrisa Smith. Mr. David Lattimore, the father of Evan and the son of Owen Lattimore, also attended the panel and shared his memories during the Q&A session.

Recording of the virtual panel has been uploaded on our YouTube channel. 



Position Openings, Fellowships, and Scholarships


Princeton in Asia (PiA) is an independent, non-profit organization affiliated with and located on campus at Princeton University. Founded by students in 1898, the program has long been driven by a mission to foster mutual appreciation and cultural understanding by connecting service-minded graduates and partner organizations in Asia through immersive work experiences that transform perspectives, cultivate long-lasting friendships and benefit local and global communities.

Princeton in Asia Fellows teach in kindergartens, secondary schools, polytechnics and universities; they work with international and local nonprofits as well as some of Asia’s most innovative businesses and social enterprises; they write for newspapers and create content for news platforms with an international reach. Considering the number and diversity of the positions available, we encourage applicants of all disciplines and backgrounds to apply.

For the 2021-2022 fellowship cycle, PiA will be making significant changes in response to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the road ahead is still unclear, we plan to offer a number of fellowships in 2021-22. We anticipate that some of these fellowships will be remote, some will be in-person, and some will be hybrid remote and in-person. We are working to develop the roster of available fellowships and fellowship 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.

In the 2019-20 cycle, PiA offered 140 full-year fellowships in the following locations: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong S.A.R., Macau S.A.R., Taiwan, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

We have completed our last online information session for this fall. If you would like to receive a recording of one of our webinars, please email

More information about specific 2019-20 fellowships is available below. Applicants may also view past Fellow reports with more detailed information about specific fellowships.

All inquiries, including requests for website login information, can be sent to




BEYOND BORDERS supports research about borders and boundaries in past and present times. It promotes interdisciplinary exchange in social sciences and humanities. The Call for Applications 2020 is open till January 15, 2021, and focuses “Borders, Democracy and Security”.

The scholarships include:

Start Up Scholarships for advanced master’s students and Ph.D. students in an early stage of project formulation. Duration: 10 months; Monthly living stipend of € 1,200Dissertation Proposal Development Workshop.

Ph.D. Scholarships for Ph.D. students enrolled in Ph.D. programs or admitted to an individual Ph.D. scheme. Duration: one to three years; Monthly living stipend of € 1,400; Yearly Students’ Conference.

Dissertation Completion Scholarships for advanced Ph.D. students. Duration: one year; Monthly living stipend of € 1,400Yearly Students’ Conference.

We invite applications from Ph.D. students worldwide studying borders and bordering phenomena in different regions of the world. Both empirical research based on extensive fieldwork and projects centered on theoretical reflection are eligible for support. Innovative and challenging research questions as well as comparative approaches are highly welcome.

The deadline for applications is 15 January 2021.




The Board of Electors to the Caroline Humphrey Professorship of the Anthropology of Inner Asia invite applications for this Professorship from scholars whose work falls within the general field of the Professorship to take up appointment on 1 September 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

A munificent donation from the Sigrid Rausing Trust has enabled the University to establish this new Professorship, in recognition of the work of Caroline Humphrey in founding and building the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit (MIASU) within the Department of Social Anthropology. The Professor, who will be a full member of the Department, will have an outstanding research record of international stature in the Anthropology of Inner Asia, an outstanding record in teaching and in the mentorship of early-career researchers, and the intellectual and administrative capacities to provide strategic direction and leadership as Director of the MIASU.

Standard professorial duties include teaching and research, examining, supervision and administration. The Professor will be based in Cambridge. A competitive salary will be offered.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit :

Further information is available at:

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by the end of 2020.



The Department of Transnational Asian Studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas invites applications for two full-time tenure-track positions. Both will be named chairs: the Gragg Professor of Transnational Asian Studies (Assistant or Associate Professor) and the TT and WF Chao Professor of Transnational Asian Studies (Assistant Professor). 

Responsibilities include 1) teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, 2) active research and publication in area of specialization, and 3) service to the department, the university and the field. 

The application process is entirely web-based. Submit a letter of application, full CV, the names of three references, a writing sample, and evidence of teaching excellence by December 1, 2020.  Further publications may be requested at a later date. Applications are accepted only through Rice University’s electronic system, and complete instructions are available at Specific questions may be sent to Prof. Lisa Balabanlilar, Chair of the Department of Transnational Asian Studies, at


Grants and Call for Papers


NOVEMBER 21-22, 2020 (ONLINE)

The Department of Political Science, the National University of Mongolia and  International Association for Political Science Students – Asia invites you to its virtual academic conference on ‘Democracy, Power, and Identity in Asia’, designed to explore Asia in a new light. The conference is a great way for students and enthusiasts of politics to listen to experts and emerging local voices for their view on some of the more pressing matters of democracy and politics in Asia.

The theme of the conference closely corresponds with the IAPSS Annual Theme which serves IAPSS as a common thread throughout the year. With a truly international audience with participants from all sub-disciplines of political science, international relations, and neighboring social sciences, the IAPSS Asia Academic Conference is a unique opportunity for individual academic learning, vivid debate, and networking.

Although the call for submission is past by November 1, the Registration for participants is open until November 18, 2020.





FEBRUARY 26-28, 2021 (ONLINE)

The Association of Central Eurasian Students (ACES) at Indiana University is requesting submissions for our annual conference on Central Eurasian studies. They are accepting abstracts for 15-20 minute presentations on topics related to Central Eurasia. They welcome proposals from all disciplinary backgrounds, as well as from any regional or historical focus. Presentations may include, but are not limited to, topics in Iranian (Afghan/Persian), Mongolic, Tibetan, Tungusic, Turkic, and Uralic (Balto-Finnic, Hungarian, etc.) studies. Undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars are all invited to apply. 

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference will be held virtually on Zoom on the weekend of 26-28 February, 2021. We welcome submissions from any part of the globe, so long as presenters are able to participate online. Accepted panelists should be prepared to give their presentation during normal business hours (9:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.) in U.S. Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5:00).

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Manduhai Buyandelger as our keynote speaker at this year's conference. Dr. Buyandelger is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her prize-winning first book, Tragic Spirits: Shamanism, Gender, and Memory in Contemporary Mongolia (University of Chicago Press, 2013), looks at the revival of shamanism in Mongolia as a response to the collapse of the socialist state. More recently, her research has focused on gender and politics in postsocialist Mongolia. 




Digital magazine and arm the American Oriental Society, The Digital Orientalist, is happy to announce its annual open call for editors and contributors. As we continue to expand our publication and readership, we are also looking to enter into new fields and as such we are eagerly looking for several new editors for the next academic year (2020-2021) from the following (or related) fields:


  • African Studies.
  • Central Asian Studies.
  • Indian Studies.
  • Korean Studies.
  • Middle Eastern Studies.
  • Mongolian Studies.
  • Sinology.
  • South East Asian Studies.
  • Oceania or Pacific Island Studies.
  • Persia or Iranian Studies.

These editorial positions will be particularly attractive to graduate students and early career researchers, but are also open to senior academics. Editors will be expected to contribute 5-6 short posts (up to 1,000 words each) between September 2020 and June 2021. In addition to new editors, we are also looking for people who are able to contribute guest posts or series of guests posts on the Digital Humanities in General, Islamic Studies, Japanology, Syriac Studies or any of the above noted fields. If you have something interesting to say and you wish to reach an expanding global audience then do not hesitate to get in contact.


Interested parties should send a CV to Dr. James Harry Morris MTheol, PhD, FRAS (University of Tsukuba) at




Vernon Press invites book proposals for edited volumes, co-authored books and single-author monographs on East Asian Studies, with an interdisciplinary outlook.

Generally described as the subregion in Asia comprised by North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Macao, Mongolia, Hong Kong, and China, East Asia has always fascinated the Western world. The history, culture, art, and literature—to name but a few—of this area have been consistently studied in academic circles for many generations, frequently in departments called East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC). However, and in recent decades, new outlooks have emerged to study these aspects and many others related to East Asia, especially in the wake of Edward Said’s essential Orientalism (1978). The interest in this region and its study can also be observed by the increasing number of East Asian Studies programmes in universities all around the world.

This series will be of interest to scholars and students as well as independent researchers with an interest in East Asian studies from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Possible contributions include (but are not limited to):

  • Literary interpretations of East Asian countries
  • Cultural studies on the region
  • East Asian American literary studies
  • East Asian representation in media
  • Rediscovering and rewriting East Asian history
  • Forgotten East Asian women
  • Sociological studies on the region
  • East Asian archaeology
  • How to submit your proposal

Please submit one-page monograph proposals to or, including a summary, a short biographical note and (if applicable) a list of similar titles. Proposals that treat other topics of relevance to the series in Irish Studies are also welcome. More information on what we look for in a proposal is available on our website. 

New Resources

Digital collections related to Mongolia we discovered in October, 2020:

  • "Digital HimalayaThe Digital Himalaya project was designed by Alan Macfarlane and Mark Turin as a strategy for archiving and making available ethnographic materials from the Himalayan region. Based at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, the project was established in December 2000. From 2002 to 2005, the project moved to the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University and began its collaboration with the University of Virginia. From July 2014, the project has relocated to the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and is engaged in a long term collaboration with Sichuan University.

Selected scholarly articles published in October, 2020:


Oct 13 - Nov 10, 2020

echoes of empire

A Zoom panel including the filmmaker, Morris Rossabi (historian, CUNY), Orkhon Myadar (geographer, U Arizona), and moderated by Julian Dierkes (sociologist, U of British Columbia) on Oct 23, 2020. The YouTube recording is available below.



Oct 7, 2020





Oct 8, 2020


Image courtesy of CNN






Oct 13 - Nov 10, 2020

East Asian Architecture

Image courtesy of USC





Oct 22, 2020




(in Mongolian)

Oct 31, 2020

Mongol Identity



Interesting Links -- A variety of articles and content related to Mongolia were posted during October 2020. Here are some of the more notable ones:

Recent Books

Batu, Khan of the Golden Horde: The Mongol Khans Conquer Russia by Diane Wolff: 178 pages; $19.99 (Genghis Productions, 2020)

Batu Khan of the Golden Horde

This is the lost story of Batu Khan, a true nomad prince and the grandson of Chinggis Khan. 

Batu Khan distinguished himself in battle with the greatest strategist of the Mongol Army, the great General Subudei, by his side. Together they were victorious in the Russian Campaign and went on to invade Europe.

Very little is understood about the Mongol conquest of Russia. Because it was the furthest west that the Mongol Army had conquered, Russia became the attack wing of the Empire. 

Yet the Mongol Empire was as much about trade as it was about war. The roads that spanned the continents were opened for the first time since antiquity. Russia was located on the trade routes of the Silk Road and became the hub of trade between China and Europe. 

Batu could have become the ruler, but he had no intention of moving into the civilized world to become Supreme Khan. He liked growing rich from trade on the Silk Road. 

In a brilliant coup d'etat, planned with the most extraordinary woman of her time, the Princess Sorghagtani, Batu did not become the king, but instead became the kingmaker. This changed the course of European history. This is the story of his life and times..

Diane is a Florida born-and-raised author/scholar. In 2010, she published Tibet Unconquered, with an introduction by Robert Thurman, the foremost scholar in the U. S. on Tibetan Buddhism. In February of 2018, Diane did a reading from her book Civilizing the Khan: The Man Who Saved China at the 12th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL MONGOLIAN STUDIES CONFERENCE, sponsored by the Mongolian Cultural Center, at the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington, D. C.


Along the Silk Roads in Mongol Eurasia: Generals, Merchants, Intellectuals, by Michal Biran (Ed.), Jonathan Brack (Ed.), Francesca Fiaschetti (Ed.)360 pages; $29.95 (University of California Press, 2020)

Along the Silk Roads in Mongol Eurasia

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Chinggis Khan and his heirs established the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world, extending from Korea to Hungary and from Iraq, Tibet, and Burma to Siberia. Ruling over roughly two thirds of the Old World, the Mongol Empire enabled people, ideas, and objects to traverse immense geographical and cultural boundaries. Along the Silk Roads in Mongol Eurasia reveals the individual stories of three key groups of people—military commanders, merchants, and intellectuals—from across Eurasia. These annotated biographies bring to the fore a compelling picture of the Mongol Empire from a wide range of historical sources in multiple languages, providing important insights into a period unique for its rapid and far-reaching transformations.

Read together or separately, they offer the perfect starting point for any discussion of the Mongol Empire’s impact on China, the Muslim world, and the West and illustrate the scale, diversity, and creativity of the cross-cultural exchange along the continental and maritime Silk Roads.

Michal Biran teaches Inner Asian, Chinese, and Islamic history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Jonathan Brack teaches Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Francesca Fiaschetti teaches Inner and East Asian History at the University of Vienna.


Subjective Lives and Economic Transformations in Mongolia, by Rebecca M. Empson; 178 pages; £20 (UCL Press, 2020)

Subjective Lives and Economic Transformations in Mongolia

Almost 10 years ago the mineral-rich country of Mongolia experienced very rapid economic growth, fuelled by China’s need for coal and copper. New subjects, buildings, and businesses flourished, and future dreams were imagined and hoped for. This period of growth is, however, now over. Mongolia is instead facing high levels of public and private debt, conflicts over land and sovereignty, and a changed political climate that threatens its fragile democratic institutions.

Subjective Lives and Economic Transformations in Mongolia details this complex story through the intimate lives of five women. Building on long-term friendships, which span over 20 years, Rebecca documents their personal journeys in an ever-shifting landscape. She reveals how these women use experiences of living a ‘life in the gap’ to survive the hard reality between desired outcomes and their actual daily lives. In doing so, she offers a completely different picture from that presented by economists and statisticians of what it is like to live in this fluctuating extractive economy.

Rebecca M. Empson is Professor of Anthropology at UCL. Alongside teaching in the Department of Anthropology, her research has focused on personhood, ownership, memory and material culture (Harnessing Fortune, 2011), and forms of temporary possession in the global economy (Cultural Anthropology, 2019).



Politics and Literature in Mongolia (1921-1948), by Simon Wickhamsmith; 360 pages; €115 (Amsterdam University Press, 2020)

Politics and Literature in Mongolia (1921-1948)

This study investigates the relationship between literature and politics during Mongolia's early revolutionary period. Between the 1921 socialist revolution and the first Writers' Congress, held in April 1948, the literary community constituted a key resource in the formation and implementation of policy. At the same time, debates within the party, discontent among the population, and questions of religion and tradition led to personal and ideological conflict among the intelligentsia and, in many cases, to trials and executions. Using primary texts, many of them translated into English for the first time, Simon Wickhamsmith shows the role played by the literary arts - poetry, fiction and drama - in the complex development of the "new society," helping to bring Mongolia's nomadic herding population into the utopia of equality, industrial progress and social well-being promised by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party.

Simon Wickhamsmith is a scholar and translator of modern Mongolian literature. He teaches in the Writing Program and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at Rutgers University.


Beyond the Steppe Frontier: A History of the Sino-Russian Border, by Sören Urbansky; 392 pages; $39.95 (Princeton University Press, 2020)

Beyond the Steppe Frontier: A History of the Sino-Russian Border

The Sino-Russian border, once the world’s longest land border, has received scant attention in histories about the margins of empires. Beyond the Steppe Frontier rectifies this by exploring the demarcation’s remarkable transformation—from a vaguely marked frontier in the seventeenth century to its twentieth-century incarnation as a tightly patrolled barrier girded by watchtowers, barbed wire, and border guards. Through the perspectives of locals, including railroad employees, herdsmen, and smugglers from both sides, Sören Urbansky explores the daily life of communities and their entanglements with transnational and global flows of people, commodities, and ideas. Urbansky challenges top-down interpretations by stressing the significance of the local population in supporting, and undermining, border making.

Sören Urbansky is a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. He is the author of Kolonialer Wettstreit: Russland, China, Japan und die Ostchinesische Eisenbahn.


The State, Popular Mobilisation and Gold Mining in Mongolia, by Dulam Bumochir; 180 pages; FREE (UCL Press, 2020)

State Popular Mobilisation and Gold Mining in Mongolia

Mongolia's mining sector, with its environmental and social costs, has been the subject of prolonged and heated debate. This debate has often cast the country as either a victim of the 'resource curse' or guilty of 'resource nationalism'.

In this book, Dulam Bumochir aims to avoid the pitfalls of this debate by adopting an alternative theoretical approach. He focuses on the indigenous representations of nature, environment, economy, state and sovereignty that have triggered nationalist and statist responses to the mining boom. In doing so, he explores the ways in which these responses have shaped the apparently 'neoliberal' policies of twenty-first century Mongolia, and the economy that has emerged from them, in the face of competing mining companies, protest movements, international donor organisations, economic downturn, and local and central government policies.

Applying rich ethnography to a nuanced and complex picture, Bumochir's analysis is essential reading for students and researchers studying the environmental and mining, especially in Central and North East Asia and the post-Soviet regions, and also for readers interested in the relationship between neoliberalism, nationalism, environmentalism and the state.

Dulam Bumochir completed his PhD in Philology at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences in 2000, and in Social Anthropology at Cambridge University in 2006. He has been conducting research on a wide range of topics, exploring folk and shamanic practices, rituals and chants, and tracing the historical construction of the Mongolian concepts of shamanism and shamanic religion. In work on Qinghai, in north-western China, he looked at ethnic politics and the power of respect in the social production of identity, politics and the state.