A solid introduction to the aftermath of the First World War and the Treaty of Lausanne, which resulted in the massive exchange of populations betweenA solid introduction to the aftermath of the First World War and the Treaty of Lausanne, which resulted in the massive exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. While at times overly emotive, this book manages to convey both the ambivalence of immigrants facing life in new and unknown places, and the undoubtedly horrific conditions in which many were forced to move. ...more
This book, based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Shishged Depression of northern Mongolia, examines a seemingly paradoxical social phenomenon: the exThis book, based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Shishged Depression of northern Mongolia, examines a seemingly paradoxical social phenomenon: the existence of shamanism without shamans among the Darhad people.
Pedersen argues that the contemporary state of shamanism in postsocialist Mongolia has its roots in the local historical experience of the region. He highlights the Buddhist practice of subjugating landscapes and chthonic forces, which inscribed the steppe as a 'magic circle' of social stability, hierarchy, and regulation, while constituting the taiga as a mutable, unstable, and shamanic zone. Socialism, he claims, eradicated Buddhism so zealously not because religion and socialism were so incompatible, but because they were so similar. Thus, when in the 1990s, the Darhads in Shishged had to navigate a new and disorienting system: "The Age of the Market," village life in Ulaan-Uul became vulnerable (again) to forces which had been banished to the margins by the enforced normalcy of life in the collective (negdel).
Without 'genuine' shamans to control the spirits, Pedersen compellingly argues, Darhads saw a proliferation of 'almost-shamans'. Their drunken rages, the fuel shortages and blackouts, and the strange movements of the market: all point to a postsocialist condition which is not signified by the occult practices of shamanism, but is, itself, occult.
This is a creative and theoretically rich book, which will stimulate even when it doesn't persuade. For this reason, it will be of interest not only to specialists on Mongolia and Mongolian shamanism, but also to those interested in comparative postsocialism, anthropological approaches to (post)modernity, and the study of religion more broadly. ...more
This is a fantastic work, based on field research conducted in the Mongolian capital Ulanbaator as well as on extensive published ethnographic studiesThis is a fantastic work, based on field research conducted in the Mongolian capital Ulanbaator as well as on extensive published ethnographic studies and theoretical literature. Bille's writing style is absorbing, accessible, and extremely insightful.
The aim of the book, as the title suggests, is to understand both the fear and hatred of China and Chinese people expressed in contemporary Mongolia. His sources range from personal interviews and news reports to songs, graffiti, and other forms of Mongolian-language communication that are rarely viewed by non-Mongols. Throughout, he hopes to complicate explanations of interethnic violence against the Chinese in Mongolia which often overemphasize political and economic grievances. He also argues that a common explanation in Mongolia--that centuries of conflict have created a genetic antipathy between the two groups--is in fact backwards.
Persuasively, Bille shows that contemporary sinophobia is rooted in a lack of contact between Mongols and China. Isolated by socialist rhetoric that used fear of China to breed support for Soviet involvement, Mongols also perpetuated sinophobic speech as a way to build national cohesiveness. Thus while speaking sinophobia, Mongols most often direct violence against other Mongols (such as women and homosexuals) who do not conform to expectations about purity and loyalty to the nation. As such it will be of interest to scholars of socialism, post-socialist transition, ethnicity and nationalism in North/East Asia, and also to folklorists for its extensive treatment of rumor, humor, and urban legend. ...more