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Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit


Peripheral Cosmopolitans: Kazakh-Mongol Relations in Bayan-Ölgii, Mongolia

Joe Ellis (MIASU, University of Cambridge)

This talk will discuss contemporary Kazakh-Mongol relations in Bayan-Ölgii province in the far West of Mongolia. It presents recent ethnographic material from both the province capital and surrounding countryside. It discusses the kinds of claims of distinctiveness made by, and about, the Kazakh population who are the overwhelming majority in the province. These include identification with particular histories and traditions, along with religious and linguistic differences. Yet it will also suggest that these aspects, however important, might not be the most effective analytical focus for understanding the status of Kazakh identity and politics in contemporary Mongolia. In both the province capital and remote countryside, what seems to really define differences in the social experience of people is their international connections. It will be suggested that properly describing a kind of ‘peripheral cosmopolitanism’ might provide a more effective lens for understanding both minority Kazakh social life, and the politics of their relations with the ethnic majority population in contemporary Mongolia.


Tuesday, 30 April, 2024 - 16:30 to 18:00
Event location: 
Mond Building Seminar Room