October 19th, 2016 by admin

To mark the 30th anniversary of MIASU Dr Sian Lazar of the Division of Social Anthropology interviewed members of the Unit to learn about the work of the Unit from its founding to the present day.

MIASU at 30 years

October 19th, 2016 by admin

On 7th October 2016 MIASU held a conference: ‘Inner Asian Lineages and Future Horizons’ to celebrate 30 years since the Unit was founded in 1986 by Professor Caroline Humphrey and Professor Urgunge Onon.

Dr David Sneath (Director) gave the welcome speech.

Panels at the conference represented the Unit’s major themes:
1. Nationhood, Statecraft, and Inner Asian Borders
2. Pastoralism, Environment, and Economy
3. Religion, Cosmology, and Spiritual Revival

See programme for details of speakers

The occasion was also used to pay tribute to Urgunge who died at the age of 96 in December 2015. To mark his continuing inspiration to the work of the Unit the Executive Committee of the MIASU has created a prize in his memory – The Onon Prize which Dr Temujin Onon presented to Professor Roberte Hamayon (Paris) for her contribution to Mongolian Studies. The Mongolian Ambassador N. Tulgaa also attended and congratulated Professor Humphrey on MIASU and its achievements.

Professor Caroline Humphrey, Professor Roberte Hamayon and Dr Temujin Onon

Ambassador N. Tulgaa, Dr David Sneath and members of the MIASU

Seminar – 1 November – Uranchimeg Ujeed

October 18th, 2016 by anna.c


Tuesday 1 November 2016

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Uranchimeg Ujeed

University of Cambridge

Becoming Shamans to be Healed: Reasons for contemporary proliferation of Horchin Shamanism

Healing through ritual is a common facet of shamanism throughout the world.  Catching “shamanic illness” is recognised as a sign of a candidate in some cultures.  However among the Horchin Mongols in China, this phenomenon has taken on a modern twist. Many individuals, who are afflicted by so called “incurable” illness, are turning to shamanism. What is interesting is that they don’t do this to get healed, but rather self-heal through initiation as a shaman themselves. Horchin shamans provide less healer services but take on hundreds, and even thousands, of “disciples” who would cure themselves in this way.
This phenomenon occurs among more rural folk. Key reasons appear to be the negative effects of modernisation coupled with the failure of medicine and health services to catch up to the rapid development and expectations in China, and particularly in Horchin Mongolia. This paper investigates the reasons for the dramatic increase of the number of people who catch the “shamanic illness” and become shamans to heal themselves.

Seminar – 18 October – Sampildondov Chuluun

October 6th, 2016 by anna.c


Tuesday 18 October 2016

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Sampildondov Chuluun

Mongolian Academy of Sciences

Findings from the Excavation of the Saridag Monastery of the Jabzundamba Hutagt: Archaeology and Legend

In the mountain range that includes Chinggis Khaan’s sacred Burkhan Khaldun, about 70 km northeast from the capital Ulaanbaatar, there are some ruins of a monastery in the mountains of Khan Khentii. Since the first report by Russian scholars who visited the site in the early 20th century, there has been little work conducted here due to the inaccessible nature of the landscape. At the same time research on Mongolia’s seventeenth century city planning and architecture has never been developed.

Since 2010 I have been working on the excavation and study of this site and for the past two years I have also been collecting and studying oral history from the area, which holds Öndör Gegeen as the founder of the complex.

In 2013 we formally launched a project entitled “A Seventeenth Century City”, starting off with the most difficult site called Sar’dagiin Monastery. Since then, we have conducted three excavations, each time ranging from two weeks to three months, and we will continue for another year or two. In this presentation, I will report the initial findings from our excavations.

Michaelmas Term – Seminar Programme

October 6th, 2016 by anna.c

Please see below for this term’s programme which begins on Tuesday October 18 2016.

Research Seminars are held in the Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RF from 4.30–6.00