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Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit



Elizabeth Turk is a Research Associate on the AHRC-funded project ‘Mongolian Cosmopolitical Heritage: Tracing Divergent Healing Practices Across the Chinese-Mongolian Border’.

Dr Turk’s research focuses on nature-based and ‘alternative’ medicine in contemporary Mongolia, exploring themes in both medical and environmental anthropology. She first began research in Mongolia in 2010 as a Fulbright scholar exploring shamanic healing practices, specifically the connection between spiritual illness and the impending mining boom. Research interests since then have shifted towards a practice-focused approach to the study of healing, historicizing such practices as they have and continue to relate to political economy. Dr Turk is in the processes of preparing her first manuscript which explores the articulation of healing practices with nationalist and social progressivist discourses.


2018 PhD Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge
2013 MA Sociocultural Anthropology, Columbia University
2007 BSc Women's Studies (with honors); BSc General Biology, University of Michigan


Anthropology of Mongolia and Inner Asia; medical anthropology, ethno-nationalism, Buddhist medicine, medical colonialism, ritual, shamanism, cosmology and landscape, political ecology


Key publications: 

Research Articles:

2019    The Politics of Ritual Form(ation) in Contemporary Mongolia. Social Analysis63(3): 47-70.

2018    Toxic Care (?): Scepticism and Treatment Failure in Post-Soviet Mongolia. Inner Asia 20(2): 219-241.

(Under review) Sneath, David and Elizabeth Turk. ‘Knowing the Lords of the Land: Cosmopolitcal dynamics and historical change in Mongolia’. Cosmopolitical Ecologies Across Asia: Places of Power in Changing Environments. Knapp, R., D. Sneath & H. Diemberger (eds). Routledge. 

(In preparation) Turk, E. ‘Stubborn Terms, Porous Concepts: the politics of modeling traditional-/bio- medical boundaries’.



Other publications: 

Book Review:

2020    Tomas Matza, Shock Therapy: Psychology, Precarity, and Well-being in Postsocialist Russia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp. 305, 2018. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 38(1): 148-9. Invited.

Research Associate
Affiliated Lecturer

Contact Details

Not available for consultancy