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The politics of personhood,
subjectivity and memory, exchange across bodily and territorial boundaries, new
and alternative economies, migration and diaspora communities, visual and
material culture. Regional focus: Inner and East Asia, especially Mongolia.
My new book, Harnessing Fortune: Personhood, Memory and Place in Mongolia (OUP), is based on long-term fieldwork with herding families along the Mongolian Russian border. It examines how people tend to past memories in their homes while navigating new ways of accumulating wealth and fortune in the face of political and economic uncertainties. It is at this intersection, where the politics of tending to the past and the morality of new means of accumulating wealth come together to shape intimate social relations that the book reveals an innovative area for the study of kinship in anthropology. Combining personal experience with ethnographic insight, the volume will be essential reading for social anthropologists and those with a general interest in East Asia and post-socialist countries.
My current research entitled: ‘What does the Wolf Economy Look Like?’ is concerned with new forms of economic activity and subjectivity in the Mongolian Wolf Economy, associated with wide-spread mineral extraction in the region. It questions the role of predicted economic growth to actually set in motion particular kinds of economic activity and shape present forms of subjectivity. Questioning ideas about the performativity of the market and forms of vernacular capitalism, it focuses on aspects of debt, personal loans, ideas about contract and alliance, and new visions of the future in Mongolia.
Past Research Projects
Research, developed as part of an interdisciplinary Leverhulme-funded project on changing beliefs of the human body (www.arch.cam.ac.uk/lrp/intro.html), was concerned with ‘exchange’ and ‘collaboration’ across bodily and territorial borders. This involved working with health professionals and patients involved in organ transplantation in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. It also involved co-curating an exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, with Anita Herle and Mark Elliott: Assembling Bodies: Art, Science and Imagination (www.maa.cam.ac.uk/assemblingbodies).
2003-04 Politics and Prophecy: An Anthropological Study in Mongolia. Funded by the British Academy Larger Research Grants Division (LRG-35383), and the Cambridge Committee for Central and Inner Asia (CCCIA).
2003-06 Objects of Memory: Locating Kinship in Mongolia.
Funded by the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship programme
2007-09 Assembling Bodies: Exploring Technologies That Make Bodies Visible. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
Swedish/English (bilingual), Mongolian (speaking: advanced, reading and writing: intermediate), French and Russian (speaking, reading, writing: basic).
Joseph Bristley – Money in Mongolia
William Matthews – Tea Culture in Beijing, China
Joe Ellis – Mongolian Shamanic Political Economy
Dominic William Esler - Catholicism in the northern Sri LankanTamil community
Alice Elliot - The outside inside, the inside outside: emigration and the imagination of life
in Central Morocco.
Alison C Macdonald - Breast cancer survivorship among middle class women in Mumbai, India
Tom McDonald - Configurations of comfort: pleasure, place and persons in a south-western Chinese town
Catalina Tesar - Women married off to chalices. Gender, Kinship and Wealth among Cortorari Romanian Gypsies.