Seminar – 15 May – Caroline Humphrey & David Sneath

May 8th, 2018 by anna.c


Tuesday 15 May 2018

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Caroline Humphrey & David Sneath

University of Cambridge

The Mobile Master: Modes of hospitality in Mongol Lands

Historically there have been a number of Mongolian practices and associated concepts that could be described as forms of hospitality. We examine a range of forms, from the everyday hospitality of the domestic unit to the grand hosting practices of rulers and monasteries in pre-revolutionary times. The central duality often ascribed to the idea of hospitality – the host and the guest – is complicated by the interaction of multiple and variously enabled persons and the agents. Here we find masters that may be mobile and guests that may invite their presence. These hospitality forms are intertwined with past and present projects of governance, and reflect complex histories in which the obligation to host others was a product of the wider socio-political order.


New reading group – Mobilities in the making: Figuring movement in the post-socialist world’

April 30th, 2018 by anna.c


We are pleased to inform you that a new weekly Seminar Group, ‘Mobilities in the making: Figuring movement in the post-socialist world,’ will be held each Tuesday at the MIASU, until 19 June. Led by Joseph Bristley (UCL) and Chima Anyadike-Danes (Warwick) the group will explore the imbrications between figures of mobility drawn from key works of critical theory and philosophy and social scientific work on different forms of mobility.

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

Please find details of the group and reading here.


Inner Asia Submissions

April 26th, 2018 by anna.c

Inner Asia

Published bi-annually by Brill for MIASU, Inner Asia is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal with emphasis on the social sciences, humanities and cultural studies. First published in 1999, Inner Asia is currently one of the very few research-orientated publications in the world in which scholars can address the contemporary and historical problems of the region.


Inner Asia welcomes submissions, which should be sent to MIASU via

Submissions should be written in British English, and should be between 5000 and 8000 words in length. You should include a brief abstract (not more than 250 words), keywords and full references – for detailed author instructions and style, please go to our notes for contributors.

Easter Term – Seminar Programme

April 24th, 2018 by anna.c

Please see below for this term’s programme which begins on Tuesday May 1 2018.

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


Seminar – 1 May – Rebekah Plueckhahn

April 24th, 2018 by anna.c


Tuesday 1 May 2018

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Rebekah Plueckhahn

University College London

Shaping Mongolian urbanism – Dynamic ownership and emerging politico-economic subjectivities in Ulaanbaatar

This paper explores the interrelationships between the dynamics of owning and the shaping of Mongolian urbanism following a period of intense increase in foreign direct investment and its subsequent decline in Ulaanbaatar. Ethnographically situated in an oscillating cusp between Ulaanbaatar’s areas of predominantly concrete buildings and the expansive ger areas of fenced land plots, this paper charts the failed redevelopment of a socialist-era residential building. Following Mongolia’s period of economic decline after 2013, this building became the material manifestation of several competing overlaps between redevelopment aspirations, state neglect, privatisation and economic stagnation.

Following attempts by residents of this building to bring into reality an as yet unrealised vision of urban improvement, this paper explores the ways the residents shaped and reconceptualised the surrounding landscape and reformulated dynamic acts of owning in this period of decline. Taking up the call by Rademacher (2015) to delve deeper into the ethnographic particularities of urban socionatural transformations, this paper examines peoples’ politico-economic subjectivities emerging in this landscape and the ways this intersected with agentive material elements. Here, the formation of blurred, interchangeable private and public physical spaces were deeply bound up within private and public economic spheres. This paper explores how these formations and overlapping conceptual frames underpinning acts of ‘owning’ were implicated in forms of city shaping.