Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Harvard University
The Revival of Religious Healing Practices in Post-Socialist Mongolia

The project proposes to explore the “multiple significance” (Crapanzano;1978:424) of the revival of the Buriad shamanic healing practices in Dornod province in eastern Mongolia by placing it in the larger historical and political context of Mongolia’s transition from socialism to capitalism since 1990. The project has three specific objectives: (1) to document the deterioration of the state health care system and the revival of the non-western medicine; (2) to explore the local moral world of the Dornod community focusing on the role of shamanism in re-making the Buriad identity and its relation to the deterioration of the state medical care; (3) link the local experiences of Buriads with the global expansion of the capitalist economy and democratization. This project proposes four assumptions concerning the intensity of the revival: competition among individuals for the access to new opportunities for power, prestige and economic wealth; the overall deterioration of the state medical system; a form of reaction toward previous persecution of Buriad ethnic heritage as well as resistance against assimilation into the dominant group Khalha; the massive poverty and unemployment due to the collapse of the socialist infrastructure. The link between the local and the global is that the globalization by means of democratization and free market led to a re-emergence of the local.