Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project

March 17th, 2015 by admin
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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project

funded by Arcadia

Work in progress WEBSITE

Lunchtime Seminar – 19 March – Marissa Smith

March 13th, 2015 by anna.c
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A lunchtime seminar will be held in the Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RF

Tuesday 19 March 2015, 12.00–1.00

All welcome

Marissa Smith

University of Princeton

Absent Corporations and Centralizing State Power in Contemporary Mongolia

Today, Mongolia is often understood as a country whose future is in the hands of transnational corporations. However, many of these transnational corporations, including some of the worlds’ largest mining houses, have been struggling since they began working in the country after the end of the socialist period. In the seminar, I describe how these corporations often act like illegitimate state actors in the eyes of Mongolians, seeking to control and exclude others from, rather than enrich and ensure access to, valuables such as transport and power infrastructure which are understood to be common. I contrast this with forms of power associated with the Erdenet Mining Corporation, a large mining enterprise established during the late socialist period. Power is acknowledged as multiple rather than centralized or singular, exercised by individual workplaces (khamt olon) and groups associated with particular national groups (undested and yastad) from different regions of Mongolia, which share the use of most infrastructure if not all valuables in Erdenet. Further legitimate power involves the provision of further public goods, including the construction of additional roads, support of education, and increases in wages, needs addressed to the corporation as a state-like central power, but actually carried out by individual workgroups and other parts of the corporation that may take credit for enriching and ensuring access to public goods but, unlike the state or state actors, not be held responsible for their provision.

Lunchtime Seminar – 10 March – Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi

February 28th, 2015 by anna.c
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A lunchtime seminar will be held in the Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RF

Tuesday 10 March 2015, 12.00–1.00

All welcome

Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi

Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich

Production of Spatial Meaning and Shifting Geographies at China’s Northwestern Border

In the process of place-making, life experiences guide individuals to invest places with specific meanings. At the same time, ethnic and national collectives establish specific relationships with places; it is through this assignment of meaning that a place comes to be viewed as a “homeland,” “fatherland,” “native place,” “periphery,” “center” and so forth. Starting from the idea that places are socially constructed, in my talk I will explore how places are established and lived in Xinjiang by the members of the region’s two largest ethnicities, the Uyghur and the Han. While there are differences in the ways Han and Uyghur imagine and “live” Xinjiang, Uyghur and Han do not establish distinct spatial relationships only because of their ethnicity, but also to enhance ethnic solidarity and boundaries vis-à-vis the other. In the talk I will demonstrate that places are historically contingent, and discuss the ways in which the influx of Han migrants—and Han capital—has generated new layers of spatial meaning and new power differentials.

Seminar – 3 March – Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik

February 24th, 2015 by anna.c
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ALL WELCOME

Tuesday 3 March 2015

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik

University of Vienna

Central and Local Governments in the Border Regions of the PRC:

Public Health in Xinyuan County of the Yili Autonomous Prefecture

This presentation will draw on field studies among Kazakh herders in Xinyuan County to discuss the problems of health care for nomads. In the context of James Smith’s theory on the expansionist state it argues that health care as provided by the Chinese state can only reach the herders if they are willing to give up their nomadic lifestyle. The local government complies with central state policies of sedentarization, but the herders are not convinced of the “Chinese” lifestyle they are supposed to adapt. How does the researcher deal with this situation?  Should he or she take sides with the Chinese central state or the herders?

Seminar – 17 February – Françoise Robin

February 12th, 2015 by anna.c
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ALL WELCOME

Tuesday 17 February 2015

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Françoise Robin

INALCO (National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations)

From Lyricism to Sarcasm:

Settling Literary Accounts with Settlements in Tibet Today

Settlement policies targeting the pastoral rural Tibetan population have reached their momentum in the early 2010s, generating vocal protests and skepticism among anthropologists and environmentalists outside Tibet. This presentation will focus on literary accounts published in Tibet and in Tibetan language, which describe and elaborate upon this radical shift of paradigm. I will show how settlement policies and effects have gradually been created as a recurring literary object and how they have evolved over the last 10 years. The early, soft-voiced, poetic texts will be contrasted with a short story published in 2013 in a national literary magazine, Nationalities Literature, that contests the grand, official, state narrative of unidirectional progress and development through resettlement, by following the downfall of a family in the settlement process. Through this lecture, and relying on Martha Nussbaum’s reflexions about the value of fiction humanities, I hope to show how Tibetan-language literary productions, in the specific Tibetan context, can be integrated as tools for researching and assessing imaginings of social evolutions in Tibet today.