Subject: This Month in Mongolian Studies - October 2015

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October 2015
In this Issue:

ACMS Announcements

Become an ACMS member or renew your membership

ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events

Calls for Papers, Conferences, and Workshops

Position Openings

Research Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants

Other News and Events

Recent Publications

"This Month in Mongolian Studies" is a monthly listing of selected academic activities and resources related to Mongolia. This list is based on information the ACMS has received and is presented as a service to its members. If you would like to submit information to be included in next month's issue please contact the ACMS at and/or the editor, Marissa Smith, 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
NEH Summer Institute at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, June 6-July 1, 2016.

The ACMS is pleased to host a 4-week Summer Institute in 2016 for twenty five college and university instructors, on the theme of Modern Mongolia: Heritage and Tradition Amid Changing Realities.The goal of this institute is to provide the tools necessary for educators to better understand the impact of modernization on the cultures of Mongolia and the challenges to Mongolia’s religious, artistic, and literary heritage. Such influences will be analyzed through an interdisciplinary approach to teaching modern Mongolia. In addition to stimulating plenary sessions held on a daily basis, Institute faculty will lead thought-provoking and reflective discussions to enable participants to understand contemporary Mongolia’s challenges, successes, and problems, thus broadening their perspectives on the world and their place in it. These discussions will range from such subjects as comparisons of the Mongolian experience with those of other states struggling with modernization to the traditions of Mongolian diaspora communities in our own country.

We will welcome applications from college and university and instructors with some experience in teaching Mongolia, as well as those who have never taught or studied aspects of Mongolia--but hope to. More information on the Summer Institute can be found at the website:

Become an ACMS Member or renew your annual membership
Become a Member of 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. As a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, academic organization, membership dues and other donations paid to the ACMS are tax deductible in the United States.

For more information on member benefits and ways to pay, please see our membership page. If you are unsure if your membership has expired with the ACMS, please contact David Dettmann at
ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events
Speaker Series Events
Tuesday, October 13, 5:30pm, American Corner (UB)

Tuya Shagdar - "Homeland Associations and Production of Informal Power in Mongolia: the Case of Uvs Nutgiin Zuvlul"

Following Gramsci and more recently Steven Lukes, Shagdar is exploring issues of power and consent through ethnographic field work carried out in relation to Uvs Province Homeland Associations (Uvs aimgiin nutgiin zuvlul), non-government organizations that operate in the public domain and that has a significant influence on formal politics in Mongolia. As informal political institutions, these organizations are often overlooked as domain where powerful elites draw its legitimacy and mobilize public consent. The issues of Homeland Associations as powerful ideological institutions for political mobilization were explored by a few scholars in Mongolian studies, including David Sneath who emphasized “locality” as an emerging sub-national field for the production of collective identity as opposed to ethnicity based identity. To take this argument one step further Shagdar suggests that if membership in HA can be regarded as evidence of powerful source of political mobilization albeit in “unofficial” public domain, then we may use the examination of these social groups as a way to take a closer look at what Lukes termed the third dimension of power- as opposed to visible and behavioral forms that are manifest in established political institutions and practices. From the anthropological point of view social theory that defines power in terms of domination and resistance presents a number of limitations. This paper argues that power can also be seen in processes designed to mollify various needs of the public in ways that do not fit the domination/resistance model, as the case study in Uvs HA shows. The ethnographic interviews with both local and national elites as well as rural residents reveal that such “informal” political institutions can be locus of reciprocity between elites and non-elite groups and individuals. Following her thesis, Shagdar will discuss the historical background of the formation of these associations, their structure, recruitment and membership, including the youth organizations, women’s associations under the HA umbrella and finally, the political, economic and cultural spheres upon which these associations exert their influence and how local people intentionally seek out such structures to improve their daily lives.

Tuya Shagdar is a doctoral candidate at the department of Anthropology and Archaeology at National University of Mongolia. She is also a lecturer of courses related to political anthropology, socialism and post-socialism. Her research interests include studies on informal power institutions, political imagination in 20th century Mongolian cinema, maps and pastureland management. During her recruitment at the local department she was a recipient of the Wenner Gren funded Institutional Development Grant for visiting research at University of Cambridge. Her teaching position was funded by the Open Society Academic Fellowship program which enabled her to develop and teach new courses at the department. She was also a recipient of research grant from the Swiss Development Agency to study Mongolian Pastoralism and herders’ livelihoods from which she retained interest in maps and management of land in rural areas. Recently, she assisted a team of researchers from Helvetas, a Swiss intercooperation to conduct a fieldwork on local homeland associations. Using the data from her ethnographic fieldwork she extended her academic research into the study of an “informal” political mechanism and study of elites.

Co-Sponsored by the American Cultural and Information Center, Ulaanbaatar
Calls for Papers, Conferences, and Workshops
CESS Award for Best Graduate Student Paper. This award gives special recognition to a paper written by a current graduate student and presented at the CESS Annual Conference. The winner of the prize will receive $500 on attendance of the CESS Annual Conference, will be honored at the conference, and will be offered the opportunity to publish the paper in Central Asian Survey. The prize is awarded only to a conference presenter, and will only be given if papers are of sufficient quality to merit the award. Any graduate student enrolled in a program toward a degree beyond the B.A. or first university diploma is eligible.  The applicant must be registered as a student during the semester that the conference takes place. The paper should be consistent with the framework of those presented at the CESS Annual Conference, addressing any topic in the humanities or social science study of Central Eurasia. The papers will be evaluated by a three-member jury representing a range of disciplinary approaches.  The evaluation criteria include originality, appropriate use of sources, and quality of writing. The paper may be drawn from thesis work or intended for eventual publication, and should conform to standard academic guidelines in terms of style and presentation. Papers must be submitted electronically.  It is the responsibility of the paper writer to ensure that it is delivered in good order and on time.  Papers (and any questions) should be sent to the Chair of the Awards Committee, Dr. David Montgomery. The submission deadline is October 7, 2015. Visit:
Position Openings
Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor, 20th and 21st Cent. Central Asia

The Department of Central Eurasian Studies in the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University Bloomington seeks an assistant, associate, or full professor of 20th and 21st century Central Asia. Applicants must specialize in the region’s economics, geography, history, international relations, political science, or sociology. Applicants should have fieldwork experience in the region. The appointment begins August 1, 2016. Proficiency in one or more Central Asian languages plus Russian is preferred. Applicants must demonstrate potential (assistant rank) or proven (associate or full rank) impressive research, teaching, service, program development, and public engagement. She or he is expected to teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on relevant aspects of contemporary (20th and 21st century) Central Asia. Candidates should have the PhD at time of appointment and demonstrate commitment to research, teaching, public engagement, and working on program development with Indiana University’s world-class faculty of Central Eurasian studies as well as the School of Global and International Studies. Application materials, including a cover letter, career statement describing research, teaching experiences and philosophy, CV, names of three references for assistant professor level and six references for associate and full professor level applications, samples of published and in-press work, and teaching evaluations should be submitted online at Inquiries and any hard copy submissions can be directed to Ms. Jackie Breeding, CEUS, GISB 3024, 355 N. Jordan Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405, or Applications received by October 15, 2015 are assured full consideration.
Research Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants

Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) Multicountry Field Research Fellowship Program The CAORC Multi-Country Fellowship Program supports advanced regional or trans-regional research in the humanities, social sciences, or allied natural sciences for U.S. doctoral candidates and scholars who have already earned their Ph.D. Preference will be given to candidates examining comparative and/or cross-regional research. Applicants are eligible to apply as individuals or in teams. Scholars must carry out research in two or more countries outside the United States, at least one of which hosts a participating American overseas research center (like the ACMS in Mongolia, for example). Approximately nine awards of up to $10,500 each will be given. Funding is provided by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Deadline for application is January 30, 2015. More details can be found at CAORC's website.

ACMS 2016 Field Research Fellowship Program
This program provides awards of up to $4,000 to students and/or faculty from US universities to conduct academic field research in Mongolia between May and October 2016. Student applicants can be at an advanced undergraduate, masters, or doctoral level, and all fields of study are eligible. Students graduating in the spring of 2016 are eligible to apply. Faculty applicants can be faculty members from US colleges and universities with plans to conduct short-term field research in Mongolia between May and October 2016. All applicants must be US citizens currently enrolled in or teaching at a college or university in the United States. The program priority is to support faculty from non-research intensive universities and colleges, especially faculty who are helping guide student research projects or who can show how the experience will enhance their teaching. The fellowship is 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. Application deadline: February 15, 2016.

ACMS 2016 Library Fellowship Program

This fellowship supports US advanced graduate students or faculty members in library science or related fields from US colleges and universities to conduct short-term projects and/or research in Mongolia between May and October 2016. Applicants must be US citizens. The ACMS Library Fellowship program is to help support the development of the ACMS research library through specific defined projects designed to enhance the collection content and resource availability. The Fellow will also offer training and support for local scholars and the public. Fellows will spend up to 12 weeks onsite in Mongolia at the ACMS library; prior experience working in Mongolia is not a requirement. Fellowships will be awarded to fund travel and living expenses of up to $4,000. The fellowship is 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. Application deadline: February 15, 2016.

ACMS 2016 Intensive Mongolian Language Program
The American Center for Mongolian Studies invites students and scholars to enroll in an eight week Intensive Mongolian Language Program from mid-June to early August (dates TBA), 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The purpose of this summer language program is to provide Intermediate-level students of the Mongolian language 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. Application deadline March 1st, 2016.

For more information on ACMS Fellowships visit

Other News and Events
Events in the United States:

The Central Eurasian Studies Society at the Central Asia Program at George Washington University in Washington DC. The convention will hold 60 panels, from political science, sociology and anthropology, to history and literature. It will cover the five post-Soviet Central Asian states, the Caucasus, Xinjiang, Afghanistan, and Russian Muslim regions. The Mongolia Society will hold its own convention in parallel to the CESS, in order to foster integration of Mongolian studies into the Central Eurasian field. Visit:

The Mongolia Society will be meeting in conjunction with the 16th Annual conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) at George Washington University in Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 17, 2015. This event has received generous support from the US-Asia Institute of Washington DC. The Mongolia Society meeting is free and open to the public. Contact for more details.

Genghis Khan: Bring the Legend to Life
is a continuing special exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. See the Franklin Institute website for more information. Exhibit runs from May 9th to January 3rd, 2016.

In Mongolia:

Monthly Biobeers Talk: Biobeers is a monthly gathering of government and NGO staff, biologists,researchers,and other professionals interested in conservation. Each month, Biobeers sponsors presentations on topics relevant to Mongolian conservation, followed by an informal gathering to discuss activities and issues of interest. Biobeers is an opportunity to find out what is happening in the field of conservation in Mongolia, talk informally to other researchers and peers in your field, and share information about issues critical to the environment and people of Mongolia. Biobeers is organised by the Zoological Society of London's Steppe Forward Programme and the Wildlife Conservation Society. At Biobeers the beer is on us! Join the Yahoo! Group Mongolbioweb for announcements.

Recent Publications

Nomads on Pilgrimage: Mongols on Wutaishan (China), 1800-1940, by Isabelle Charleux. July 2015, Brill. This work is a social history of the Mongols’ pilgrimages to Wutaishan in late imperial and Republican times. In this period of economic crisis and rise of nationalism and anticlericalism in Mongolia and China, this great Buddhist mountain of China became a unique place of intercultural exchanges, mutual borrowings, and competition between different ethnic groups. Based on a variety of written and visual sources, including a rich corpus of more than 340 Mongolian stone inscriptions, it documents why and how Wutaishan became one of the holiest sites for Mongols, who eventually reshaped its physical and spiritual landscape by their rites and strategies of appropriation.

Mongolian Studies: The Journal of the Mongolia Society is now available on JSTOR. Click here for a link to the entry, including volumes 1-33.

Asian Highlands Perspectives 36: Mapping the Monguor
by Gerald Roche and C. K. Stuart, published 2015). Nearly ten years in the making, this book focuses on the people officially referred to in China as the Tu and more commonly known in the West as the Monguor. The Tu live mostly in Qinghai and Gansu provinces, on the northeast Tibetan Plateau. The thirteen contributions in this collection shed new light on diversity among the Monguor, challenging representations that treat them as a homogenous category. This mapping of cultural and linguistic diversity is organized according to the three territories where the Monguor live: the Duluun Lunkuang 'The Seven Valleys', where the Mongghul language is spoken; Sanchuan 'The Three Valleys', where the Mangghuer language is spoken; and Khre tse Bzhi 'The Four Estates', where the Bonan language is spoken. In addition to mapping diversity among the Monguor in terms of these territories, we also map the project of the contemporary Chinese state and Western observers to describe and classify the Monguor. Consisting of translations of valuable source materials as well as original research articles, this book is an essential reference work for Tibetologists, Sinologists, Mongolists, and all those interested in cultural and linguistic diversity in Asia. Includes maps, images, references, article abstracts, and a list of non-English terms with original scripts Mapping the Monguor is is available as a free download at:
PlateauCulture and can be purchased as a hardback HERE.

Faces of the Wolf
, by Bernard Charlier (Brill, 2015). In his study of the human, non-human relationships in Mongolia, Bernard Charlier explores the role of the wolf in the ways nomadic herders relate to their natural environment and to themselves. The wolf, as the enemy of the herds and a prestigious prey, is at the core of two technical relationships, herding and hunting, endowed with particular cosmological ideas. The study of these relationships casts a new light on the ways herders perceive and relate to domestic and wild animals. It convincingly undermines any attempt to consider humans and non-humans as entities belonging a priori to autonomous spheres of existence, which would reify the nature-society boundary into a phenomenal order of things and so justify the identity of western epistemology.

The Hunter, the Stag, and the Mother of Animals: Image, Monument and Landscape in Ancient North Asia
by Esther Jacobson-Tepfer (Oxford University Press, 2015).
This book explores the archaeology of myth within North Asia from the pre-Bronze Age through the early Iron Age. It is the first study to explore the interweaving of petroglyphic imagery, stone monuments and landscape context to reconstruct the traditions of myth and belief of ancient hunters and herders. The ancient taiga, steppe and mountain steppe of Mongolia and the region to the north gave rise to a mythic narrative of birth, death and transformation. Within that tale reflecting the hardship of life of ancient nomadic hunters and herders, the hunter, the mother of animals and the stag are central protagonists. That is not, however, the order in which they appeared in prehistory. We tend to privilege the hero hunter of the Bronze Age and his re-incarnation as a warrior in the Iron Age. But before him and, in a sense, behind him was a female power, half animal-half human. From her came permission to hunt the animals of the taiga, and by her they were replenished. She was, in other words, the source of the hunter’s success. The stag was a latecomer to this tale, a complex symbol of death and transformation embedded in what ultimately became a struggle for priority between animal mother and hero hunter.
From the region in which this narrative is set there are no written texts to illuminate prehistory. Hundreds of burials across the steppe reveal little relating to myth and belief before the late Bronze Age. What they tell us is that uncertain people and cultures came and went, leaving behind huge stone mounds, altars and standing stones as well as thousands of images pecked and painted on stone. This book uses that material as well as ethnographic materials to reconstruct the prehistory of myth and belief in ancient North Asia; it does so by placing stone monuments and imagery within the context of the physical landscape and by considering all three elements as reflections of the archaeology of belief. Within that process, paleoenvironmental forces, economic innovations and changing social order served as pivots of mythic transformation. They underlie the long transition from animal mother to the apotheosis of hero hunter and warrior in North Asia.

The Mongol Century: Visual Cultures of Yuan China, 1271–1368
by Shane McCausland (Univ. of Hawaii Press, 2014). The Mongol Century explores the visual world of China's Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), the spectacular but relatively short-lived regime founded by Khubilai Khan, regarded as the pre-eminent khanate of the Mongol empire. This book illuminates the Yuan era—full of conflicts and complex interactions between Mongol power and Chinese heritage—by delving into the visual history of its culture, considering how Mongol governance and values imposed a new order on China’s culture and how a sedentary, agrarian China posed specific challenges to the Mongols' militarist and nomadic lifestyle. Shane McCausland explores how an unusual range of expectations and pressures were placed on Yuan culture: the idea that visual culture could create cohesion across a diverse yet hierarchical society, while balancing Mongol desires for novelty and display with Chinese concerns about posterity. Fresh and invigorating, The Mongol Century explores, in fascinating detail, the visual culture of this brief but captivating era of East Asian history.

Chinese Architecture in an Age of Turmoil, 200-600
, by Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt (Univ. of Hawaii Press, 2014). Between the fall of the Han dynasty in 220 CE and the year 600, more than thirty dynasties, kingdoms, and states rose and fell on the eastern side of the Asian continent. The founders and rulers of those polities represented the spectrum of peoples in North, East, and Central Asia. Nearly all of them built palaces, altars, temples, tombs, and cities, and almost without exception, the architecture was grounded in the building tradition of China. Illustrated with more than 475 color and black-and-white photographs, maps, and drawings, Chinese Architecture in an Age of Turmoil uses all available evidence—Chinese texts, secondary literature in six languages, excavation reports, and most important, physical remains—to present the architectural history of this tumultuous period in China’s history. Its author, Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, arguably North America’s leading scholar of premodern Chinese architecture, has done field research at nearly every site mentioned, many of which were unknown twenty years ago and have never been described in a Western language.

Recent Outer Mongolian International Relations: a Time Capsule
(e-book), by Dr. Jon D. Holstine. This is a "revised version of a master's thesis describing Mongolian foreign affairs through 1962, based on open sources. Originally copyrighted 1965 through University Microfilms," and with a foreword by Dr. Alicia Campi. This historical introduction traces Central Asian political developments involving the Mongols after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 until the rise of Communist China. Subsequent chapters chronicle relations of the Mongolian People's Republic with the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, other nations, and the United Nations. Written from translations of the Soviet and mainland Chinese press, news accounts, and UN documents, the book provides a record of the MPR's publicly reported diplomatic dealings. It emphasizes the significance of Mongolia's place in the complex of Chinese inner Asian politics, with attention to the role of Lamaist Buddhism (the Tibetan connection). This is a newly edited work.

Chanter, s'attacher et transmettre chez les Darhad de Mongolie [Singing, attachment and transmission among the Darhad of Mongolia]
, by Laurent Legrain (Centre d'Études Mongoles et Sibériennes (EPHE), 2014). For more information about this publication in French, please visit the editor’s website:

Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society,
by Vesna A. Wallace (Oxford University Press, January 2015) explores the unique elements of Mongolian Buddhism while challenging its stereotyped image as a mere replica of Tibetan Buddhism. Vesna A. Wallace brings together an interdisciplinary group of leading scholars to explore the interaction between the Mongolian indigenous culture and Buddhism, the features that Buddhism acquired through its adaptation to the Mongolian cultural sphere, and the ways Mongols have constructed their Buddhist identity. The contributors explore the ways that Buddhism retained unique Mongolian features through Qing and Mongol support, and bring to light the ways in which Mongolian Buddhists saw Buddhism as inseparable from "Mongolness." They show that by being greatly supported by Mongol and Qing empires, suppressed by the communist governments, and experiencing revitalization facilitated by democratization and the challenges posed by modernity, Buddhism underwent a series of transformations while retaining unique Mongolian features.The book covers historical events, social and political conditions, and influential personages in Mongolian Buddhism from the sixteenth century to the present, and addresses the artistic and literary expressions of Mongolian Buddhism and various Mongolian Buddhist practices and beliefs.