Subject: This Month in Mongolian Studies - May 2020

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May 2020
In this Issue:

ACMS Announcements 

ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events

Position Openings and Fellowships

Grants and Call for Papers

New Resources

Other News and Events

Recent Publications

This Month in Mongolian Studies is a monthly listing of selected academic activities, resources and other material related to Mongolia. This list is based on information the ACMS has received and is presented as a service to its members. If you would like to submit information to be included in next month's issue please contact the ACMS at

This publication is supported in part by memberships.  Please consider becoming a member of the ACMS, or renewing your membership by visiting our website at Thank you!

ACMS Announcements, News and Media References


ACMS Staff 2019

"It is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure from ACMS. The past two and a half years have been an incredible experience for me both professionally and personally and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve a community that is invested in Mongolia’s past, present, and future.

While I am sad to be leaving ACMS, I am excited to embark on a new professional endeavor overseeing The Asia Foundation’s portfolio of women's economic empowerment programming. I have been inspired during my time with ACMS by the many researchers and professionals who are committed to better understanding and diminishing economic and gender disparity in Mongolia. I look forward to strengthening these networks that have been enriched by the work of ACMS.

Thanks to the hard work of the ACMS team, I believe I am leaving an organization that is stronger than ever and primed for success. I will miss the dedicated and talented team in the UB office most of all. Combined, the small team in the UB office has committed over 35 years to ACMS! They are truly the heart and soul of the organization and I have no doubt the team will continue to go above and beyond to serve the Mongolian studies community.

Perhaps, our biggest achievement during my tenure was the successful launch of the 2019 ACMS Mongolia Field School, which was made possible thanks to funding support from the Henry Luce Foundation. Through grassroots marketing, top notch organization, and incredible teamwork, we were able to successfully coordinate three courses on archaeology, renewable energy, and rural to urban migration with over 62 participants from North America and Mongolia. The program started in Ulaanbaatar with an orientation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, numerous meetings and site visits, and a reception at the National Museum of Mongolia. Participants and instructors then traveled from Ulaanbaatar to Khuvsgul, Selenge, and Darkhun-Uul provinces. While there were inevitable hiccups along the way (a broken down tour bus!), the team was relentless, and I can confidently say the 2019 Field School was a huge success.

While the fate of the 2020 Field School remains precarious due to COVID-19, the team has worked tirelessly to plan and advertise the program, which has attracted over 140 applicants!

Perhaps one of my favorite and most rewarding projects was the successful coordination of the AFCP Nomadic Textiles Cultural Heritage Exchange. This pilot exchange program, which was funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affair’s AFCP office, enabled ACMS to send three Mongolian cultural heritage experts to the U.S. for a program of meetings, site visits, networking opportunities, mentorships, and workshops at the leading textile conservation institutions in D.C. and NYC. This exchange program will not only have an incredible impact on the careers of the participants, but will also help with efforts to document and preserve Mongolia’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. I hope to see more exchange programs like this in the future.

The launch of the ACMS YouTube channel is another project that I am proud of. Initially, we created the channel as a way to share our Speaker Series videos online. Through creative collaboration, the team has expanded the content and the ACMS channel now features over 60 high-quality videos and has garnered more than 15,000 views.

ACMS continues to carry out a wide range of projects that are crucial to supporting the field of Mongolian studies. Please continue to support ACMS by becoming a member or making a donation. This funding is essential for the organization and directly supports the important work being done to assist scholars and preserve Mongolia’s cultural heritage.

I look forward to seeing what the future holds for ACMS. If you wish to keep in touch, you can reach me at"



As the COVID-19 pandemic crisis unfolds, ACMS is endeavoring to provide, as far as possible, essential services to all our scholars, members, and fellows. The ACMS will continue to monitor the situation closely and place the highest importance on the health and safety of our program participants and staff. At the current time we continue to make preparations for our summer 2020 programs, but are monitoring conditions and will make a final determination by May 15, 2020 on whether these will take place. The ACMS will announce any changes on the status of our programs via our website and social media accounts.

As of April 30, 2020, the ACMS office and library has reopened with essential staff. Our individual Mongolian lessons in our classroom are resuming with more cautionary measures.

Please visit The U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar's new webpage for the most accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 as it pertains to Mongolia:



The American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS), with funding support from the US State Department Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, seeks applicants for two short-term directed fellowships in Textile Conservation to take place in Mongolia between August 2020 and September 2021. The fellows will work with ACMS on a joint US-Mongolia textile conservation project sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar’s U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grant titled, “Conserving and Preserving Mongolia’s Endangered Textile Traditions and Collections.”

The fellows will have the opportunity for in-depth examination and treatment of fabrics and textiles, costumes, and accessories representing Eurasian steppe cultures roughly spanning 2,000 years. Applicants must be U.S. citizens with a graduate degree in conservation from a recognized program, or have equivalent work experience, at least one year of practical experience beyond graduation, and experience with a variety of analytical instruments and digital technology.

Application materials (CV, Personal Statement, 2 Letters of Recommendation) must be received on a rolling deadline.



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


ACMS Website Mongolian version

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Mongolian version of our website, as part of a series of redesign efforts. Mongolian speakers can visit the website at the following address and learn about our mission and activities:

Although our news and updates will be mainly hosted in the English version, our goal is to introduce ourselves to our Mongolian readers and visitors, and point them in the right direction.



acms vss

Due to COVID-19 restrictions ACMS has not been able to host its biweekly public lecture series since January, 2020. To continue the sharing of research on Mongolia with our audience, we moved the series online, and livestreamed our very first ACMS Virtual Speaker Series on April 28, with guest speaker Dolgion Aldar from the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia.

Despite some technical issues during the live Q&A, the one-hour livestream had a maximum of 55 people watching at its peak, with 95 comments, greetings, and questions from our viewers. The video has 264 views as of April 29, with 156 playbacks.




Young Mongols

We are supporting Aubrey Menardt, the author of an upcoming book "Young Mongols: Forging Democracy in the Wild, Wild East", in the organization of a Mongolian Short Story and Essay Writing Competition. We hope that this competition will inspire creativity during this time of crisis and will bring more Mongolian stories to the world.

The winners of the competition will be awarded a total of $1,000 in prize money (ten prizes of $100 each), publication of their story in a forthcoming anthology of Mongolian stories and podcast recording, and two printed copies of the anthology per writer.

Under the theme of "Dispatches from Modern Mongolia" we are inviting Mongolian and Mongolian emigre writers to submit a short story, narrative nonfiction, or an essay of no more than 1,000 words. The submission could be in either English or Mongolian. 





ACMS is thrilled to announce that Jessica Madison Piskata, cultural anthropology doctoral candidate at UC-Santa Cruz and former ACMS Field Research Fellow, has had her Mongolian poetry translations published recently in Sapiens magazine. The poems, of a famous Mongolian poet Dashbalbar Ochirbatyn, are titled "The Grass Trilogy". Congratulations, Jessica! 

In her twitter, she thanks our veteran Mongolian Language Program Manager, Dr. Tsermaa Tomorbaatar. Jessica is also an alumna of ACMS Intensive Mongolian Language Summer Program, and a long-time student of Dr. Tsermaa. 

The poems, in both text and audio format (in English and Mongolian), can be found here.

You can also read her "Introduction to Grass Trilogy" essay here.




We are also thrilled that a student from our Mercer University group trip of 2019 received a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Mongolia! Meg Hicks, a senior of Mercer University double majoring in international affairs and anthorpology and a new Fulbright Scholar, said, "The opportunity to teach in Mongolia as a Fulbright Scholar is very exciting, and it is a tremendous honor to be selected”. Congratulations, Meg!




Position Openings and Fellowships


The Department of German, Russian and East European Studies at Vanderbilt University invites applications from all humanistic and social science disciplines for the position of Mellon Assistant Professor of Russian and East European Studies (non-tenure-track, 3-year appointment, 2-2 teaching load). The department seeks a candidate with an innovative scholarly research agenda and a commitment to undergraduate education. Applications are particularly welcome from scholars whose research investigates twentieth or twenty-first century Soviet or post-Soviet Russia within the broader context of the East European or Eurasian regions.
Applicants must have received their Ph.D. no more than four years prior to the start of the position. Interviews will be conducted by Zoom in May 2020. The successful candidate will begin in August 2020 or January 2021.
Applications are accepted via Interfolio ( To be considered, please submit by May 15, 2020 the following materials: cover letter, curriculum vitae, a writing sample (dissertation chapter or article), two sample syllabi, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and three letters of reference.



The Department of History and the Asian Studies Program at  DePauw University invite applications for a one-year term position beginning in August 2020 with rank of Assistant Professor. Ph.D. (completed by August 2020) in History or a closely related field required. A commitment to teaching undergraduates in a liberal arts setting and evidence of effective and inclusive teaching are essential. The department specifically seeks candidates to teach topics and survey courses in Chinese and East Asian History, Introduction to Asia and a topical course in Asian Studies. Teaching assignment is 6 courses (3 each semester), and funding is available for professional development and research with undergraduate students.

Candidates should submit through Interfolio (, a cover letter summarizing qualifications, teaching philosophy, and research interests, CV, a sample syllabus of a course in either History or Asian Studies. and graduate transcripts. Three confidential letters of recommendation will be solicited from short-listed candidates. Application materials should provide evidence of a commitment to successfully fostering and engaging with a diversity of ideas, disciplines, and experiences to create an inclusive environment in the classroom and at the University. Please contact David Gellman, History Department Chair, at with any questions.

Closing date: May 31, 2020.



The Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the United States of America is now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 Fulbright (Foreign) Student Program funded by the Government of Mongolia. The Fulbright Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists from Mongolia to pursue graduate study degrees and conduct research in the United States.  The Fulbright Program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide and approximately 8,000 grants are awarded annually.

The Government of Mongolia funded Fulbright scholarship will give priority to candidates who plan to pursue studies in the following fields: 

  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Engineering Infrastructure 
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Environmental Studies 
  • Information Technology 
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Science and Technology
  • Arts and Culture Management

The program selection process is administered by the Embassy and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Sports.  Applicants will be assessed on the contribution their studies would make to Mongolia’s development and greater understanding between the United States and Mongolia, as well as the likelihood of the applicant performing successfully in a U.S.  academic setting.

If selected for the Government of Mongolia funded Fulbright Student Program, the grantees will be asked to provide collateral in the form of real estate, excluding land.  For more information about the collateral and its conditions, please refer to [here] (PDF 828KB) and/or contact the Education Loan Fund at

To qualify, applicants must:

  • Be a Mongolian citizen, currently living in Mongolia;
  • Hold a university degree (at least B.A.  or equivalent);
  • Have a minimum of 1.5 years of full-time work experience; and
  • Hold a valid English language test score (test score requirements vary depending on the field of study). 

The online application deadline is Monday, May 4, 2020 8:30 a.m



Grants and Call for Papers



The University of Heidelberg invites chapter proposals for the edited volume “The Vanguard of Class and Nation: Parties as Governments in Eurasia, 1920s–1990s.” The book workshop for the invited authors is scheduled to take place in Heidelberg on April 22–23, 2021.

Focusing on the histories of one-party regimes in Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia, Central and Inner Asia in the twentieth century, the volume will explore the appropriation of the government role by extraconstitutional organizations and their claims to alternative paths to modernization in global and comparative contexts. The volume will address the geneses of one-party regimes in China, the Soviet Union, Turkey, Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, and other post-imperial and post-colonial polities, the roles of socialism and nationalism in the parties’ approaches to modernization and state-building, the constitutions and deliberative practices, the issues of diversity (such as gender, class, ethnicity, religion, and region), as well as crises and liberalization attempts in the respective contexts. The organizers seek to stimulate the dialogue between historians, political scientists, and other scholars working on the named contexts and to breach the divide between different area studies.

The organizers plan to submit the book proposal to a good international publisher (according to the SENSE ranking). The book will be published in open access.

Please, submit a 300-word abstract along with a paragraph containing biographical information to before July 1, 2020. Selected authors will be invited to submit their first drafts of 7,000–10,000 words by December 1, 2020. Please, note that only those who submitted their first drafts will be invited to the book workshop in April 2021. The invitations to the workshop will hence be sent after the draft submission deadline.

The workshop is part of the project “Entangled Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China, and Mongolia, 1905–2005” (ENTPAR) which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No. 755504). The organizers will be able to provide accommodation but cannot cover travel expenses. The participation in the book workshop per video call is possible.



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.



The Central Eurasian Studies Society's (CESS) Book Awards committee is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Humanities and History, and 2020 Social Sciences Book Awards. The deadline for books to be received by the committee members is May 31, 2020 for both competitions.

The CESS Book Award and a monetary prize of $500 is presented to the author of the book or monograph that represents the most important contribution to Central Eurasian studies during the award period. An interdisciplinary panel of scholars of Central Eurasia, appointed annually by the CESS Board, consider scholarly merit, argumentative scope, and felicity of style in their deliberations.The winners will be announced at the CESS Annual Conference, which in 2020 is being held at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, on October 15-18, 2020. It is expected that the winners will participate in the conference and accept their award in person. Note that the conference dates are subject to change based on the COVID-19 situation. However, the awards will still be offered in 2020 even if there are changes to the Annual Conference arrangements.

Rules and procedures for the competition are as follows:

1. Books must be scholarly monographs based on original research and published in English in 2019;

2. Books may be submitted in one category for one competition only, and no book may be considered more than once;

3. Scholarly monographs translated into English from other languages are eligible for consideration;

4. Edited volumes, new editions of previously published books, bibliographies, dictionaries, and textbooks are not eligible;

5. Nominations may be made by either the publisher, the author, or a CESS member.

To be considered, one hard copy of the book should be mailed to each of the committee members on the appropriate panel to reach them by the deadline specified on this webpage. Authors/publishers wishing to submit a book should contact CESS to obtain the mailing addresses.

See also:

New Resources

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

  • Tsogt Okhin Tenger Foundation: "E-NOM.MN" Over 1,400 public domain Mongolian books, digitized in epub format, available for free. The collection can be browsed by genres and types, ranging from literature to cookbooks.

Some scholarly papers published in April, 2020:

    Other News and Events


    The Hu

    The global coronavirus crisis has resulted in canceled tours, artists getting crammed into long customs queues, and in the case of Mongolian rock band The Hu, being stranded in another country because the borders of their homeland have been sealed off.

    In the midst of this, Billboard called the band at their Airbnb "bunker," as manager/translator Tuga Namgur calls it, where they are staying in the Sydney, Australia area. Given that right now they're not making money and had to cancel two months' worth of touring, it's a wiser housing option than a hotel.






    Image courtesy of 

    On April 27, the Mongolian National Audit Office (MNAO) announced that it received action plans from 208 independent candidates running in the 2020 election. The MNAO is currently in the process of auditing the action plans.

    More than 10 independent candidates from provinces sent their action plans via e-mail due to the decision to suspend intercity movements of vehicles and passenger trains until April 25 to prevent from transmission of COVID-19. The MNAO notified that independent candidates were required to submit their original documents of their action plan to the MNAO after the traffic restriction ends.






    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $100 million loan to support the installation of 125-MW advanced battery energy storage system in Mongolia.

    Once in operation, the battery system will be capable of supplying 44 GWh of peaking power annually. It will also support the integration of additional 859 GWh of renewable power into the grid, thus avoiding 842,039 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year by 2025.






    9,890 Mongolians

    9,890 Mongolian citizens have submitted their request to return to their home country to the Government and the State Emergency Commission, Head of the State Emergency Commission and Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia U.Enkhtuvshin said on April 28, Montsame reports.






    The Mongolian tech company Bolorsoft recently introduced a new speech-based AI product Chimege Writer. The system has the capacity to convert speech of about 1 hour length to text in 4 minutes.

    Developers are currently working on making it available on all platforms, such as websites, computers, smartphones, and tablets.




    Xianbei Mulan

    The story of Mulan, a young woman who disguises herself as a man to fight for China's emperor, has become one of best known and most beloved narratives worldwide, thanks in no small part to Disney. 

    It's long been thought that Mulan was based on actual female warriors of the Xianbei, an ancient nomadic people from modern-day Mongolia and northeastern China. Now, anthropologists believe they may have found physical evidence of such warrior women in skeletal remains found in that region.



    Interesting Links -- A variety of articles related to Mongolia were posted during April 2020; here are some of the more notable ones:

    Recent Books


    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.


    Landscape Dynamics of Drylands across Greater Central Asia: People, Societies and Ecosystems, Gutman, G., Chen, J., Henebry, G.M., Kappas, M. (Eds.); 230 pages; €117.69 (Springer International Publishing, 2020)

    Landscape Dynamics of Drylands across Greater Central Asia:

    This volume is a compilation of studies on interactions of changes in land cover, land use and climate with people, societies and ecosystems in drylands of Greater Central Asia. It explores the effects of collapse of socialist governance and management systems on land use in various parts of Central Asia, including former Soviet Union republics, Mongolia and northern drylands of China. Often, regional land-atmosphere feedbacks may have large global importance. Remote sensing is a primary tool in studying vast dryland territories where in situ observations are sporadic. State-of-the-art methods of satellite remote sensing combined with GIS and models are used to tackle science questions and provide an outlook of current changes at land surface and potential scenarios for the future. 

    Dr. Garik Gutman is a Program Manager for the NASA Land-Cover/Land-Use Change (LCLUC) Program. He received his Ph.D. in Climate Modeling in 1984, was a National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences Fellow at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and then worked there 14 years as a research scientist. His research focused on remote sensing of the Earth's land surface and atmosphere from space. In 1996, for developing an original technique using satellite data for reliable analyses of the Earth’s vegetation cover and its long-term variations, Dr. Gutman received the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award.


    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.


    Shaping Urban Futures in Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar, Dynamic Ownership and Economic Flux, by Rebekah Plueckhahn; 190 pages; FREE (UCL Press, 2020)


    What can the generative processes of dynamic ownership reveal about how the urban is experienced, understood and made in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia? Shaping Urban Futures in Mongolia provides an ethnography of actions, strategies and techniques that form part of how residents precede and underwrite the owning of real estate property – including apartments and land – in a rapidly changing city. In doing so, it charts the types of visions of the future and perceptions of the urban form that are emerging within Ulaanbaatar following a period of investment, urban growth and subsequent economic fluctuation in Mongolia’s extractive economy since the late 2000s.

    Following the way that people discuss the ethics of urban change, emerging urban political subjectivities and the seeking of ‘quality’, Plueckhahn explores how conceptualisations of growth, multiplication, and the portioning of wholes influence residents’ interactions with Ulaanbaatar’s urban landscape. Shaping Urban Futures in Mongolia combines a study of changing postsocialist forms of ownership with a study of the lived experience of recent investment-fuelled urban growth within the Asia region. Examining ownership in Mongolia’s capital reveals how residents attempt to understand and make visible the hidden intricacies of this changing landscape.

    Rebekah Plueckhahn is Research Associate in the Anthropology Department at UCL. Trained in anthropology, as well as ethnomusicology and history, Rebekah has conducted research in Mongolia since 2008, researching subjectivity, ethics, economy, capitalism, urbanism, performance, ownership, music and postsocialist cultural practice. Her latest research interests include the making of urban forms in Mongolia, the ways urbanism intersects with financialisation and the ways that understanding the urban in Mongolia can contribute to urban theory more generally. Rebekah obtained her PhD from the Australian National University. Her past awards include the 2014 Article Prize from the Australian Anthropological Society (AAS).


    Ethnic Chrysalis: China’s Orochen People and the Legacy of Qing Borderland Administration, by Loretta E. Kim; 364 pages, $73.30 (Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, 2019)

    Ethnic Chrysalis

    Ethnic Chrysalis is the first book in English to cover the early modern history of the Orochen, an ethnic group that has for centuries inhabited areas now belonging to the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. The Qing dynasty (1644–1911) was a formative period for Orochen identity, and its actions preserved the Orochen as a separate ethnic group. While incorporating the Orochen into the imperial political domain through military conscription and compulsory resource extraction, the Qing government created two Orochen subgroups that experienced disparate levels of social and economic autonomy.

    The use of “Orochen” as an official modifier by Qing officials forms an early layer of the chrysalis that embodies various senses of ethnic identity for people who have been identified, or self‐identified, as Orochen. Since the Qing, the Orochen have continued to cherish the perception that their Qing‐period ancestors were key players in the defense and economy of northeast China. Tracing the evolution of Qing policies toward the Orochen along the Chinese‐Russian borderland, Loretta Kim examines how the impact of political organization in one era can endure in a group’s social and cultural values.

    Loretta E. Kim is Assistant Professor of China Studies in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Hong Kong.


    Young Mongols: Forging Democracy in the Wild, Wild East,  by Aubre Menarndt; Pre-order link (Penguin, 2020)

    Young Mongols

    In 1990, Mongolia’s youth-led revolution threw off the Soviet yoke, ushering in multi­party democracy. Thirty years later, the country’s youth are still leading Mongolia’s democratic development.

    This powerful, inclusive book introduces readers to modern Mongolia through the stories of young leaders fighting to make their country a better, more democratic place. Its intersectional perspective explores the complexity of Mongolia today: the urban planning and pollution issues that plague the capital city of Ulaanbaatar; the struggles of women, the LGBTQIA population, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities to claim their equitable places in society; the challenge of providing education in the world’s least densely-populated country to prepare the workforce of tomorrow; and how to fairly divide the spoils of the country’s vast mineral resource wealth.

    This rising generation of Mongolians is already wielding real power and shaping their country's future. Their work will determine whether the country is able to overcome its development and democratization challenges, its relationship to the world, and who the winners (and losers) will be in Mongolian society.

    Aubrey Menarndt lived in Mongolia as a Luce Scholar from 2015 to 2016. She’s worked on democracy and governance issues in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Central America, and the United States.

    Aubrey is an expert on political transitions, elections, and democracy. She’s been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Politico, the South China Morning Post, and more.

    Aubrey earned an MPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor’s degree from Smith College. She is a Critical Language Scholar (Russian) and a Truman National Security Project Fellow. Young Mongols is her first book.


    Great State: China and the World, by Timothy Brook; 512 pages, $23.89 (Profile Books, 2019)

    Great State and the World

    China is one of the oldest states in the world. It achieved its approximate current borders with the Ascendancy of the Yuan dynasty in the 13th century, and despite the passing of one Imperial dynasty to the next, it has maintained them for the eight centuries since. Even the European colonial powers at the height of their power could not move past coastal enclaves. Thus, China remained China through the Ming, the Qing, the Republic, the Occupation, and Communism.

    But, despite the desires of some of the most powerful people in the Great State through the ages, China has never been alone in the world. It has had to contend with invaders from the steppe and the challenges posed by foreign traders and imperialists. Indeed, its rulers for the majority of the last eight centuries have not been Chinese.

    Timothy Brook examines China's relationship with the world from the Yuan through to the present by following the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people navigating the spaces where China met and meets the world. Bureaucrats, horse traders, spiritual leaders, explorers, pirates, emperors, invaders, migrant workers, traitors, and visionaries: this is a history of China as no one has told it before.

    Timothy Brook was Shaw Professor of Chinese at Oxford when he first saw the Selden Map, and is now professor of history at the University of British Columbia. The author of eight books on Chinese history, including Vermeer's Hat and Mr Selden's Map of China, which are both published by Profile.


    Transnational Law and State Transformation: The Case of Extractive Development in Mongolia,  by Jennifer Lander; 284 pages; $49.95 as ebook (Routledge, 2019)

    Transnational Law and State Transformation

    This book contributes new theoretical insight and in-depth empirical analysis about the relationship between transnational legality, state change and the globalisation of markets.

    Mongolia’s recent transformation as a mineral-exporting country provides a rare opportunity to witness economic and legal globalisation in process. Based on careful empirical analysis of national law and policy-making, the book traces the way distinctive processes of transnational legal ordering have reorganised and reframed the governance of Mongolia’s mining sector, specifically by redistributing state power in relation to the market, sub-national administrations and civil society.

    Jennifer Lander is a Lecturer in Law at De Montfort University, UK, and she presented at the ACMS Speaker Series in 2019.