Seminar – 15 January – Hildegard Diemberger

January 14th, 2019 by anna.c


Tuesday 15 January 2018

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Hildegard Diemberger

MIASU, University of Cambridge

Himalaya: Care for the Future 


In a confluence of events, climate change-related floods are occurring in the Himalaya just as motorable roads and telephone connections as well as new governance modes are arriving in places such as Limi, in Nepal’s impoverished Humla district. The advent of non-compostable and plastic waste is a new phenomenon for the population and the cultural and psychological shifts required across the generations in terms of how to manage these new forms of waste is proving challenging. Both old and new challenges require an infinite number of decisions at multiple levels, involving different forms of knowledge and moral frameworks in dealing with issues of causality, attribution, responsibility, prioritization and action. In this presentation I explore ways in which understandings of the past inform visions of the future in light of radical transformations.

Lunchtime seminar – 14 January – Richard Fraser

January 11th, 2019 by anna.c


Mond Building Seminar Room, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RF

Monday 14 January 2019, 1.00–2.00

Richard Fraser

MIASU, University of Cambridge

Cultural Heritage, Ethnic Tourism, and Minority-State Relations in Northeast China

In this seminar I describe the impact of cultural heritage classifications amongst the Orochen ethnic minority in northeast China. I argue that while heritage is often used as a top-down strategy by the Chinese state for rural and economic development, it is important to consider the bottom-up experiences of heritage-making and the use of heritage by minority actors to facilitate development in their own minority communities. Presenting an ethnographic case-study from the Orochen township of Tuohe, I show how heritage does not operate through the prism of a static and hierarchical relationship between a ‘Han-Chinese’ state, on the one hand, and a small-numbered ‘ethnic minority’, on the other. Instead, it is driven largely by Orochen themselves and, in particular, ethnic minority cadres and intellectuals who use heritage and the allocation of funding to channel development projects and fulfil the needs and expectations of local communities. In particular, I describe how the classification of Orochen practices such as birch-bark craftsmanship allows minority actors to demand benefits such as upgraded housing and improved facilities in the context of the ethnic tourism industry, to develop new livelihood strategies to counteract perceived cultural and linguistic loss, and maintain the right to hunt despite a much-criticised hunting-ban and environmental conservation policies. Of course, this does not mean that heritage-isation is a uniform process with no unintended consequences. As I show, it also creates divisions such as between experts and non-experts, changes the value of traditional practices, and affects the self-perception of the Orochen in the context of marketisation.

Lent Term – Seminar Programme

January 8th, 2019 by anna.c

Please see below for this term’s programme which begins on Tuesday January 15 2019.

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

LENT 2019

MIASU Members Awarded the Highest National Honours of Mongolia

December 11th, 2018 by anna.c


Drawing an end to the successful Cambridge Mongolia Seminar, Dr Uradyn Bulag and Mrs Libby Peachey were delighted to be presented with awards by H.E. Mr. Tulga Narkhuu, Ambassador of Mongolia, on behalf of the President of Mongolia.

Dr Uradyn Bulag was awarded the ‘Order of Polar Star’ for his invaluable contribution in promoting Mongolian studies abroad, while the ‘Medal of Friendship’ was awarded to Mrs Libby Peachey, (Administrator and Research Coordinator at the MIASU) in recognition of her great effort in supporting Mongolian studies in Britain.


Second Onon Prize Awarded to Professor Charles Ramble

December 11th, 2018 by anna.c

On 5 December 2018, Professor Caroline Humphrey, on behalf of the MIASU, presented the second Onon Prize to Professor Charles Ramble for his outstanding contributions to Inner Asian Studies.