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Volume Editor: Rebecca Empson
How do prophets and their prophecies influence the processes of decision-making, concepts of authority and ideas about causality and time? How can we talk about prophets and prophecy in the Mongolian cultural region when prophetic forms and people seem so varied? This book brings together anthropologists, historians and religious specialists to focus on the role of prophets and the distributed language of prophecy in relation to these questions. Central Asia has a longstanding tradition of prophets who have either challenged or collaborated with political leaders, and due to new uncertainties about the future, current interest in prophetic announcements has recently re-surfaced. This volume explores the arenas in which prophets and their prophecies have influenced the processes of decision-making, concepts of authority and ideas about causality and time in the Mongolian cultural region.
Author: Rebecca Empson

Abstract

EDUCATION IN TIBET Catriona Bass Education in Tibet: Policy and Practice since 1950 London: Zed Books, in association with Tibet Information Network, 1998. ISBN 1-85649673-2 (HB) £45.00, 1-85649674-0 (PB) £15.95

In: Inner Asia

Abstract

This chapter focuses on two versions of a single story collected from North-west and North-east Mongolia. The story concerns a daughter-in-law’s relationship with ‘little humans’ (jijig hün) at her in-laws’ house. Although similar in their thematic content, the two stories differ in their endings. In the example from North-west Mongolia, the daughter-in-law successfully rids her in-laws ’house of a little human allowing them to prosper. In the example from North-east Mongolia, the daughter-in-law mistakenly throws a little human into the fire, causing her natal family to perish. At first sight, this divergence could be seen as reflective of the kind of perspectival difference established between a predominantly Buddhist ontology in Western Mongolia and a predominantly shamanist ontology in Eastern Mongolia. But the stories resist being viewed as allegorical texts by which to extract information concerning received ontological differences. Regardless of East/West differences, laypeople across all of Mongolia have varied relationships with aspects of the normally invisible world. We argue that, rather than establish ontological species-specific differentiations, such relations point to shifting scales of different ‘kinds’ of people in Mongolia.

In: Inner Asia

Abstract

This article examines Mongolian perspectives on the Buriad through the vector of a poem called 'Buriad', written by the dissident Mongolian poet and writer Choinom Renchin during the socialist era. In the first part, we give a short biography of Choinom, along with an analysis of his poem. We suggest that the poem may be viewed as a critique of dominant Halh perspectives on the Buriad, while raising more general issues to do with historicity, political repression, youth, love, and Mongolian poetry. In the second part, we present the first-ever English translation of Choinom's poem, along with a Mongolian Cyrillic version. This is to add to the slender volume of literature on Mongolian poetry available in English.

In: Inner Asia

This paper looks at the roles and interests that motivate different kinds of ‘trusting partnerships’ in Mongolia. Such partnerships are not only in marketing slogans that herald new private investment agreements, they also underlie the relationship between the Mongolian government and other governments (in the form of ‘strategic partnerships’) and even between the Mongolian State and its people. The concept serves as a framework for partners to achieve mutual ambitions, but is ambiguous and its content evolves through negotiation and cumulative articulation. We offer certain observations about the form of relationship between the Mongolian State and its people, drawing from fieldwork in 2012 on how loans are used and perceived, and suggest that this relationship is a fruitful lens through which we can observe vernacular attitudes to the economy and the State, and to the different kinds of relationships the Mongolian State maintains with outsiders. We conclude with an observation on the inter-related and at times conflicting ‘trusting partnerships’ to which the Mongolia government is party.

In: Inner Asia
In: Inner Asia