Extra seminar at FAMES – 14 March – Christopher Atwood

March 13th, 2014 by

This extra session by Christopher Atwood is being co-orginised with and held at FAMES:

Rooms 8 & 9, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Sidgwick Avenue


All welcome

Friday 14 March

Christopher Atwood

Indiana University

The Campaigns of Chinggis Khan and the Origin of Mongolian Historiography

Traditionally Mongolian history writing began with the Secret History of the Mongols, the famous chronicle that covers the legendary ancestors of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan, his childhood and youth, and his reign and that of his son Ögedei. Mixing prose and poetry, this work has been one of the great monuments of Mongolian history and literature since its rediscovery in the early 20th century. But too often this work has been presented as springing full-formed from a vague and undefined “oral tradition.” Recent research on the Record of the Campaigns of Chinggis Khan, a source preserved in Chinese and Persian translation, but originally written in Mongolian, provides the context from which the Secret History of the Mongols emerged. Compiled by a cut-and-paste methodology from previously existing Mongolian language histories and biographies, the Record of the Campaigns of Chinggis Khan combined with other compendia of Mongolian history preserved in Chinese and Persian translation shows how the original focus of Mongolian historiography was not so much the “rise of the Mongols” as the fate of their predecessor kingdoms in the Mongolian plateau.

Christopher P. Atwood is an associate professor of Mongolian studies at Indiana University, where he teaches on the Mongol world empire, modern Mongolia, Sino-Mongolian relations, and the social and intellectual history of the Mongolian plateau. He is currently preparing a critical edition of the Chinese text of the Record of the Campaigns of Chinggis Khan, with full textual, source-critical, philological, and historical commentary. Other areas of current interest include the development of imperial historiographies, the social history of Mongolian mobile pastoralism, and the Mongol empire and the “early modern” question. His publications include, Young Mongols and Vigilantes in Inner Mongolia’s Interregnum Decades and the Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire.

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