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Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit



Kenneth Linden

Indiana University

Veterinary science, Zud, and Wolves: Environmental and Animal History of Collectivization in Mongolia

The Mongolian People’s Republic, the second socialist country in the world, embarked on its second and ultimately successful collectivization campaign from 1956 to 1960. Collectivization, the reorganization of private livestock into collective farms, was a key step in building a socialist state. In Mongolia collectivization aimed to transform and improve, rather than replace, herding. This included reorganizing herding society, campaigns to implement Western-style veterinary science, construction of infrastructure to protect against zud(winter disaster) and drought, and wolf extermination campaigns. 

Mongolian society is often romanticized as having a positive, spiritual relationship with animals and the environment, in contrast to exploitative capitalist and Christian Western countries. This narrative is an attractive one but does not hold up to historical examination. By examining collectivization, I show that the history of Mongolian environmental and animal relations has same struggles, conflict, and exploitation as humans around the world.

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Tuesday, 23 February, 2021 - 16:30 to 18:00
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