Visiting Scholars – Easter 2018

April 23rd, 2018 by anna.c

Easter Term 2018

We welcome the following visiting scholars this term –

September  2017 – August 2018: Chen Xiangjun, South-Central University for Nationalities (SCUN), Hubei province, China
‘Nomadic Society of the Altai Steppes: Environmental and Visual Anthropology’

October  2017 – October 2018: Uranchimeg Ujeed
‘Mongolian Spiritual Culture including Buddhism, shamanism, popular beliefs and folklore’ Research project: ‘Becoming shamans to be healed – Self healing practices in Horchin Mongolian shamanism in contemporary China’

January 2018 – December 2019: Valeriya Gazizova, post doctoral research associate working on her project:
‘Clandestine Buddhism’ in Soviet Kalmykia (1958-1988) and its role in the post-Soviet Buddhist revival’. The project is funded by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation in Buddhist Studies

April 2018 – June 2018: Elisa Kohl-Garrity, research associate at the Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany
‘Thought and (Com)passion: The Value of Love in Political Governing and Ethical Self-formation

Himalayan Connections – New project

March 29th, 2018 by anna.c

Dr Diemberger has been successful in receiving funding from the Norwegian Research Council under its NORGLOBAL programme as Co-Investigator on a four-year collaborative project with the University of Oslo :
Himalayan connections: melting glaciers, sacred landscapes and mobile technologies in a Changing Climate
‘Through an exceptional confluence of events and access to centuries of historical documents, this project will explore the complexities of environmental perception and decision-making at a pivotal moment of change in a high-altitude community in the Himalaya. Limi in Humla, western Nepal is experiencing repeated glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) at the same time as the advent of new connectivities such as mobile telephony. Through long-term fieldwork the project will document the community’s historical mechanisms for environmental management to deal with different scenarios of living in a hazardous environment. These mechanisms will be examined in light of the arrival of new communication technologies and new knowledges and framing discourses around climate change and sustainable development.

Lunchtime seminar – 6 March – Sanchir Jargalsaikhan

February 26th, 2018 by anna.c


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

Tuesday 6 March 2018, 1.00–2.00

Sanchir Jargalsaikhan

Visiting Scholar, University College London

Constitutionalism and governance in contemporary Mongolia:
Case of Constitutional amendment

The evolution of modern (1992) Mongolian constitutionalism has been multifaceted and contradictory. Having evolved through a simultaneous need to negate the socialist past and embrace the new global present, the contemporary Mongolian constitutional system exhibits a strong adherence to the limitation of authority (liberal-democratic) while mostly eschewing developmental/social role of the state bar some formalistic expressions. Part I of this article considers fundamental aspects of constitutionalism and governance that have been neglected or have not been articulated well in public discourse. I contend that while it is appropriate to look at the constitutional system as a limited (negative i.e. in Isaiah Berlin sense) mechanism to secure balance of powers, public accountability and good governance, there remain other structural dimensions that are largely ignored. The widespread practice of evaluating the constitution prospectively must be replaced by more critical scholarship that inspects existing constitutional machinery in work. Looking beyond the constitutional text to all those aspects of the normative order (i.e. sector laws, international treaties, court decisions and other mechanisms) that performs different constitutional roles will give us a fuller and critical perspective about evolution of the constitutional order. Part II discusses both implied and explicit narratives surrounding the current discussion and debates around the issue of Constitutional amendment. Multiple documents, speeches, debates and articles will be scrutinized in order to clarify competing narratives about the meaning and function of the Constitution; its development and evolution, people’s perception about the state and its role as well as views concerning the legitimacy of the current ruling class and its ability to push through an amendment. I argue that supposedly neutral technocratic discourse surrounding the Amendment process is being used to depoliticize the process and hence, to keep the status quo of the current socio-political regime. While some view general disinterest and apathy to the amendment process as negation of politics, I view it as more of a resistance. This type of passive resistance is grounded on a suspicion that governance is exercised beyond or “around” the states’ constitutional confines through either supranational or domestic private channels.

Library catalogue now online

February 23rd, 2018 by anna.c

The contents of the MIASU library are now available in pdf format here:



Seminar – 6 March – Saranzaya Manalsuren

February 20th, 2018 by anna.c


Tuesday 6 March 2018

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Saranzaya Manalsuren

South Bank University, London

Interdisciplinary Interpretation of ‘Heritage-Locality’ among Business Practitioners in Contemporary Mongolia

The ‘heritage-locality’, or the concept of ‘nutag’ has been theorised as a focal point to understand the identities of Mongols in the literature of cultural anthropology. However, previous studies focused on contextualising identity construction, political activities and pasture management with rich empirical narratives.

This paper examines the concept of ‘nutag’ from the perspective of indigenous management theories and provides an interdisciplinary approach to unravel the shared-meaning of locality among managing practitioners in contemporary Mongolia.

This research examines local managers’ understanding of being a manager and managing effectively, by investigating the nature of Mongolian managers’ roles and their actual experience of handling public and private entities under the great economic and political changes since the country’s transition from a socialist to a democratic regime from 1990 until 2016. Specifically, it examines the common attributes of the ‘heritage-locality’ in their day-to- day management practices and explains the shared-meaning of the concept of ‘nutag’ among local business practitioners. Furthermore, this research proposes that ‘nutag’ can be identified as one of the indigenous management tools utilised to manage effectively in contemporary Mongolia.

This paper is based on my PhD project, using a qualitative method of shadowing 3 managers and interviewing 30 local and international managers in Mongolia (summer 2014 and 2015).