Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Misremembering Chingis Khan

Suuliin uyed Mongoliin talaarh gadnii sudalgaanuud unshdag ajiltay bolood baigaa. Yur ni Mongol hel hetsuugiin deer medeelliin eh survalj homs tul zarim neg gadnii sudlaachid haa hamaaguy zuils yarih ni elbeg yum. Gehdee bas tednii dund mash chanartay sudalgaa hiideg nuhduud ch baina. Yalanguya Caroline Humhprey, David Sneath, Chris Kaplonski, Uradyn Bulag, Alicia Campi, Manduhai Buyandelger zereg sudlaachid Mongoliin talaar chanartay buteeluud togtmol tuurvij baina.

Yutay ch unshsan sudalgaanuud dotroos hamgiin ih setgel hudulgusun ni Kaplonski-giin "The Case of the Disappearing Chingis Khaan" bailaa. Uuniig unshsanii daraa Mongoliin talaarh neleed olon bodluud maani emh tsegtstey boloh shig bolloo. Bolvol zavaaraa unshaad setgegdelee uldeegeerey. Bas Mongoliin talaar bichigdsen uursdiin durtay uur busad sudalgaanii buteeluud baival huvaaltsana uu.
This remembered past, even if different from the documented past, serves not only to tell people who they are, but it also tells them who they were [...] The elision of Chinggis Khaan from the socialist world serves to heighten the contrast between then and now. Forgetting, or misremembering, that Chinggis Khaan was indeed remembered, is an integral part of Mongolian identity formation. There is a necessity for a certain amount of amnesia to create a past that all can look to. As Ernest Renan taught us, part of being a nation (or any other group) is getting our history wrong. And in many contexts, this is just not a matter of forgetting in a negative sense, but misremembering in a more active, positive sense. What I have shown here is how and why this happened in Mongolia, but the theoretical lesson is more broadly applicable. The reinvention of Chinggis Khaan in the present is ultimately the key to understanding the misremembering of how he was portrayed in the socialist period. Chinggis Khaan, when all is said and done, was not “banished to oblivion” because the socialists needed him to be. Rather, he was and is banished from the recalled past because post-socialist Mongolia needs him to be now.
'The case of the disappearing Chinggis Khaan: dismembering the remembering' Ab Imperio, 4/2005: 147-173.

Addendum: Also don't forget to check the works of two talented young social anthropologists, Grégory Delaplace of U-Paris X and Franck Billé of University of Cambridge, who are currently researching the post-socialist identity of Mongolians.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Ulaanbaatar, circa 1998. Als die Dinge einfach waren.

Нэг мэдэхэд миний мэдэх Улаанбаатараас юу ч үлдэхгүй бололтой. Социализмын жилүүдэд зугуухан боссон нийслэл хот хүссэн хүсээгүй шинэчлэгдэх жамтай ч XX зууны Монгол улсын түүх, дүр төрхийг гэрчилсэн хэдэн сайхан байшин, ганц нэг гудамж талбайг үлдээхсэн.
Сүйтгэн байгуулалт - Цэрэнжав