Subject: This Month in Mongolian Studies - September 2015

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September 2015
In this Issue:

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 Sponsored Programs and Events
Speaker Series Events
Tuesday, September 1st, 5:30pm, American Corner (UB)

Joseph A. Cook: "Building Scientific Research Infrastructure for Mongolia: The Role of Natural History Collections in Biodiversity and Human Health Studies"

“Understanding the history of biogeographic connections between Asia and North America provides a critical foundation for studies of biodiversity and human health. Over the past three decades we have built natural history specimen collections of mammals and associated parasites from Canada, Alaska, Siberia and Mongolia that provide a powerful basis for a number of scientific studies. Because our planet is changing rapidly, natural history specimens are now essential baselines for the study of changing conditions. Each specimen provides a baseline sample because it represents a unique individual and species at a particular place (spatial) and time (temporal). These samples are necessary for understanding changing environments, especially when scientists use new technologies (GIS, stable isotopes, genomic analyses) to explore the fields of biodiversity discovery, biogeography, genomics, morphology, ecology, vector biology, and emerging zoonotic pathogens. Support for ensuring preservation of records generated in various research efforts should be a national priority for Mongolia. In the near future, we need to work together to help build a development plan for natural history collections for Mongolia (including training the next generation of Mongolian biologists) so that Mongolians will continue to benefit from the distinctive, long-term contributions of natural history museums. Developing this infrastructure depends on broader engagement and support from across scientific, educational, business, and international communities, and is both an ethical and scientific imperative given the rapidly changing environmental conditions on our planet.”

Joseph A. Cook is Professor of Biology and Director and Curator of Mammals and Genomic Resources, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico. Co-Sponsored by the American Cultural and Information Center, Ulaanbaatar

In Philadelphia:

Wednesday, September 16th, 12pm in 844 Williams Hall, University of Pennsylvania

Nancy Steinhardt:
"The Pagoda in Kherlen Bars"

For this brown bag talk, Professor Nancy Steinhardt (University of Pennsylvania) will discuss a unique Khitan (Liao Empire) pagoda located in present-day far eastern Mongolia, Kherlen Bars.

ACMS events are free and open to the public.

Calls for Papers, Conferences, and Workshops
InterAsian Connections V: Seoul (SSRC), Seoul National University Asia Center, April 27-30, 2016. This series showcases innovative research from across the social sciences and related disciplines and explores themes that transform conventional understandings of Asia. Crossing traditional area studies boundaries and creating international and interdisciplinary networks of scholars working to theorize the intersection of the "global" and the "regional" in a variety of contexts, the conference reconceptualizes Asia as a dynamic and interconnected historical, geographical, and cultural formation stretching from West Asia through Eurasia, South Asia and Southeast Asia to East Asia. Following the model used in previous conferences, the 2016 Seoul conference--comprising ten concurrent, closed director-led workshops and plenary sessions open across workshops and to the general public—will be structured to enable intensive working group interactions on specific research themes as well as broader interactions on topics of shared interest and concern. Deadline for paper proposals September 8th. More information on the ten workshops and applications here:

Guerrilla Cartography is seeking maps, ideas, cartographers, and researchers for a special atlas on water.  As a project of Guerrilla Cartography, Water: An Atlas will be a collaborative project, bringing together a diversity of disciplines all connected by the theme of water. Any and all subject matter related to water is welcome—from fisheries and agriculture to water diversion and infrastructures; from the politics of access to the morality of waste; from sea-level rise and vanishing glaciers to gray water and hydroelectricity; from the water cycle to the origins of water—Water: An Atlas endeavors to map water in its myriad contexts and conditions and at all scales of research and geography. We seek contributions from current or recent research that may already be mapped and current or recent research that could be mapped, including historical data and investigation. You may submit as many maps or ideas as you wish as long as you are able to supply adequate and appropriate data. For more details about submission requirements, visit If you have any questions, please contact us at

The Second Ethnographic Film and Media Program of the Middle East and Central Eurasia of EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists), The Department of Sociology, University of Nantes, Nantes, France, November 2015. We invite and encourage all students, anthropologists, sociologists, documentary filmmakers and media artists to participate in our program by submitting ethnographic videos, films (including online and cell phone styles, short and feature-length films) as well as interactive media (websites, hyperlinked documents, etc.). Films and other materials submitted for the program should be submitted online or as DVD preview copies, accompanied by a synopsis, a 10-line description and technical data, no later than 10th September 2015. Visit: Contact: Dr. P. Khosronejad

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

The CESS Public Outreach Award is presented to an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization in recognition for extraordinary work that contributes to advancing and making accessible knowledge of Central Eurasia to a broad audience. The award is accompanied by a monetary prize of $500. An interdisciplinary panel of three scholars of Central Eurasia—appointed by the CESS Executive Board—will consider the nominations for the Public Outreach Award on grounds of the accessibility and impact of the contribution in service (broadly defined) to the field of Central Eurasian Studies.  Normally, the committee will consider submissions and present the award every other year, unless there are no nominations that merit recognition. Materials relevant to the nomination of the Public Outreach Award should be received by September 15, 2015. Visit:

Kiva is now accepting applications for their 29th class (starting Jan 2016) of Kiva Fellows.
Kiva, a microlending non-profit organization, has new placements available for its unpaid fellow program. Among placements around the world, Kiva also works in Mongolia. The application deadline for the January 2016 class is September 27, 2015. Candidates accepted into the program are required to attend a five-day training program in San Francisco, from January 25-29, 2016. For more information about Kiva Fellows, including application information, visit their website. Kiva is also looking for its US-based initiative Kiva Zip. Visit that website for more information.

Other News and Events
Events in the United States:

Mongolia Celebration: Cultural Event in the Bay Area, September 26-October 06, 2015.
The Mongolia Foundation is organizing a cultural event "Mongolia Celebration" that includes following activities: 09/26, 9am-5pm. An interdisciplinary conference "Archeology of Knowledge: New Archival and Material Discoveries in Mongolia." 145 Dwinelle, UC Berkeley. The conference will illuminate new areas of research in Mongolian Studies as well as will bring different communities together for the cause of Mongolian Studies at UC Berkeley. 09/26, 7-9pm. Fundraising Dinner at International House, UC Berkeley with Mongolian traditional cuisine, music and dance performance by Bay Area's Ger Youth Center. Booths featuring academic and informational books about Mongolia; Bay Area Mongolian Community Association, Ger Youth Center and Zanabazar Dharma Center. 10/04, 12-6pm. Bay Area Mongolian artists' exhibition at Silk Road House, Berkeley. The exhibition is the first of its kind and will show diversity of styles, genres, media, and themes ranging from portraiiture, traditional Mongolian painitng style "Mongol Zurag" and paper-cut media. 10/06, 1-5pm. Mongolian Women Artists' exhibition featuring Mugi (whose work is also currently at Venice Biennale in Italy), Tugs-Oyun, and Nomin, the artist of traditional paitning style "Mongol Zurag." The "Mongolia Celebration" event will be part of Asia Week in San Francisco. See:
For registration and further info, see:

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.


River, Stars, Reindeer: Imaging Evenki & Orochen communities of Inner Mongolia & Siberia, 23 June – 27 September 2015. One hundred years ago the Russian ethnographer, Sergei Shirokogoroff and his wife Elizabeth, were invited to the snowforests of the Amur River to study the indigenous Evenki and Orochen peoples.  In 1929 Cambridge’s own graduate, Ethel Lindgren and her soon to be husband Oscar Mamen, went in search of these ‘ little-known tribes’ as they were considered to be ‘fast dying out’.  Together they amassed a considerable collection of 26,000 culturally and historically important photographs, the majority of which have never been seen, until now. In collaboration with Evenki and Orochen communities and scholars, MAA and MAE (Kunstkamera), St Petersburg, as caretakers of Shirokogoroff and Lindgren’s photographic collections, are working to share these photographs with the people of Inner Mongolia and Siberia.  From the excitement of recognizing faces, to the beauty of the reindeer, or the heated debates about what is happening in the photographs, this evocative exhibition is about the reconnection of these communities with their images, their histories, and their stories.

Recent Publications

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.

Sinophobia: Anxiety, Violence, and the Making of Mongolian Identity
, by Franck Bille (University of Hawaii Press, December 2014). Sinophobia is a timely and ground-breaking study of the anti-Chinese sentiments currently widespread in Mongolia. Graffiti calling for the removal of Chinese dot the urban landscape, songs about killing the Chinese are played in public spaces, and rumours concerning Chinese plans to take over the country and exterminate the Mongols are rife. Such violent anti-Chinese feelings are frequently explained as a consequence of China's meteoric economic development, a cause of much anxiety for her immediate neighbours and particularly for Mongolia, a large but sparsely populated country that is rich in mineral resources. Other analysts point to deeply entrenched antagonisms and to centuries of hostility between the two groups, implying unbridgeable cultural differences. Franck Bille challenges these reductive explanations. Drawing on extended fieldwork, interviews, and a wide range of sources in Mongolian, Chinese, and Russian, he argues that anti-Chinese sentiments are not a new phenomenon but go back to the late socialist period (1960-1990) when Mongolia's political and cultural life was deeply intertwined with Russia's. Through an in-depth analysis of media discourses, Bille shows how stereotypes of the Chinese emerged through an internalisation of Russian ideas of Asia, and how they can easily extend to other Asian groups such as Koreans or Vietnamese. He argues that the anti-Chinese attitudes of Mongols reflect an essential desire to distance themselves from Asia overall and to reject their own Asianness. The spectral presence of China, imagined to be everywhere and potentially in everyone, thus produces a pervasive climate of mistrust, suspicion, and paranoia. Through its detailed ethnography and innovative approach, Sinophobia makes a critical intervention in racial and ethnic studies by foregrounding Sinophobic narratives and by integrating psychoanalytical insights into its analysis. In addition to making a useful contribution to the study of Mongolia, it will be essential reading for anthropologists, sociologists, and historians interested in ethnicity, nationalism, and xenophobia.

The Lama Question: Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia
, by Christopher Kaplonski (University of Hawaii Press, December 2014). Before becoming the second socialist country in the world (after the Soviet Union) in 1921, Mongolia had been a Buddhist feudal theocracy. Combatting the influence of the dominant Buddhist establishment to win the hearts and minds of the Mongolian people was one of the most important challenges faced by the new socialist government. It would take almost a decade and a half to resolve the "lama question," and it would be answered with brutality, destruction, and mass killings. Chris Kaplonski examines this critical, violent time in the development of Mongolia as a nation-state and its ongoing struggle for independence and recognition in the twentieth century. Unlike most studies that explore violence as the primary means by which states deal with their opponents, The Lama Question argues that the decision to resort to violence in Mongolia was not a quick one; neither was it a long-term strategy nor an out-of control escalation of orders but the outcome of a complex series of events and attempts by the government to be viewed as legitimate by the population. Kaplonski draws on a decade of research and archival resources to investigate the problematic relationships between religion and politics and geopolitics and bio politics in early socialist Mongolia, as well as the multitude of state actions that preceded state brutality. By examining the incidents and transformations that resulted in violence and by viewing violence as a process rather than an event, his work not only challenges existing theories of political violence, but also offers another approach to the anthropology of the state. In particular, it presents an alternative model to philosopher Georgio Agamben's theory of sovereignty and the state of exception. The Lama Question will be of interest to scholars and students of violence, the state, bio politics, Buddhism, and socialism, as well as to those interested in the history of Mongolia and Asia in general.