Fall 2005
Professor Christopher P. Atwood
Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University
Time: Days and Time: 11:15-12:30 TR

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In 1900 Mongolia was a largely nomadic country, with an aristocratic government of the descendants of Genghis Khan and an established Buddhist church, and dominated by viceroys from China’s last, Manchu, dynasty. In 1950, it was the Soviet Union most loyal satellite ruled by Mongolia little Stalin, the dictator Choibalsang. Mongolia entered the new millennium as an independent nation and a multi-party democracy, sandwiched between China and Russia, and struggling to enter the ranks of Asia economic success stories. This course will explore the wrenching changes that Mongolia has gone through in the course of this century: poverty-stricken Chinese dependency, theocracy, revolutionary junta, Communist purges, ailing command economy, transition to democracy and private property. Areas covered will include foreign policy, political events, circulation of elites, Buddhism and modern ideologies, demography and urbanization, and transformations in nomadic pastoralism.


Required reading includes nine books: Atwood, Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, Batbayar, Modern Mongolia: A Concise History; M. Sanjdorj, Manchu-Chinese Colonial Rule in Northern Mongolia, Kotkin and Elleman, Mongolia in the Twentieth Century; Zhambal (trans. Bawden), Tales of an Old Lama; Shirendev, Through the Ocean Waves; Goldstein and Beall, Changing World of Mongolia’s Nomads. There is also a course reader available from the Central Eurasian Studies office at 157 Goodbody Hall with an analysis of the 1921 and 1990 revolutions by the Mongolian historian Otgonjargal, an historical play by Buyannemekhü, an anonymous translation of the proceedings of the third party congress in 1924, poems and stories of Natsugdorji, and cartoons by S. Tsogtbayar.

Movies: “Storm Over Asia”

“On the Edge of the Gobi”

“Mongolian Cashmere Traders”

“Wild East: Portrait of an Urban Nomad”

How to get access to the readings:

A copy of all books have been placed on reserve at the undergraduate reading room in the Main Library. All those that are in print in the United States (Atwood, Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, Kotkin and Elleman, Mongolia in the Twentieth Century; Bawden, Tales of an Old Lama; Shirendev, Through the Ocean Waves) have been ordered at TIS and the IU Bookstore. Copies of Batbayar, Modern Mongolia: A Concise History are on sale at the Mongolia Society, Goodbody Hall, 322. Reasonably priced, used copies of the other books can sometimes be found on the web; try or ABE book search (http://dogbert.


Grades based on the following percentages: Midterm, 20%, Paper 30%, Final 40%, Map Quiz 10%

Class Schedule

Week 1: August 30, September 1

Introduction, Climate, Geography, Pastoral Nomadism

Batbayar, Modern Mongolia, pp. 9-22; Atwood entries: Mongolian Plateau; Climate; Flora; Fauna; Animal Husbandry and Nomadism; Farming; Hunting and Fishing; Food and Drink; Dairy Products; Gobi Desert; Altai Range; Great Lakes Basin; Uws Lake; Khangai Range; Khöwsgöl, Lake; Khentii Range; History.

Week 2 : September 6, 8

The Chinggisid nobility and the Buddhist church Atwood: Second Conversion; Two Customs; Borjigid; Eight White Yurts; Khalkha; Incarnate Lamas; Jibzundamba Khutugtus; Qing dynasty (to 1796); Jibzundamaba Khutugtu, First; Dolonnuur Assembly; Jibzundamba Khutugtu, Second; Chinggünjab’s Rebellion; Khotoghoid; Dariganga; Darkhad; Dörböd; Bayad; Zakhachin; Altai Uriyangkhai; Tuvans.

M. Sanjdorj, Manchu Chinese Colonial Rule in Northern Mongolia, trans. by Urgunge Onon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980. .

Discussion of readings, September 8

Week 3: September 13, 15

Qing rule in Mongolia, New Policies, Independence

Atwood: China and Mongolia; Qing Dynasty (1796 to end); banner, sum, league, Lifan Yuan, Lifan Yuan zeli, ambans, Social Classes in the Qing Dynasty; taiji; family; matrilineal clans; Lamas and Monasticism; Great Shabi; Shangdzodba, Erdeni; Danshug; Chinese Trade and Money-Lending, Chinese Colonization, Duguilangs, Ulaanbaatar (to 1911); Kyakhta; Uliastai; Khowd City; Education, Traditional; Medicine, Traditional; Tibetan Culture in Mongolia, Treasury of Aphoristic Jewels; Sutra of the Wise and Foolish; Didactic Poetry; Sangdag, Khuulichi; Danzin-Rabjai; Chinese Fiction

Map Quiz in Class, Sept. 15

Week 4: September 20, 22

Theocratic Period

Batbayar, Modern Mongolia, pp. 23-28; Atwood: Russia and Mongolia; New Policies, Jibzundamba Khutugtu, Eighth; 1911 Restoration; Theocratic Period; Khangdadorji, Prince; Damdinsürüng, Grand Duke; Dambijantsan; Sino-Mongolian War; Kyakhta Treaty; Revocation of Autonomy; Badmadorji; Kotkin and Elleman, Mongolia in the Twentieth Century, to p. 97.

Discussion of readings, September 22

Week 5: September 27, 29

Inner Mongolian and Buriat influences, culture, finance, trade and economics

Zhambal (trans. Bawden), Tales of an Old Lama, 1-78; Atwood, New Schools Movement; Buriats (to 1923); Injannashi; Agwang Dorzhiev, Buriats in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia; Dauriia Station Movement; Palaces of the Bogda Khan; Sharab, “Busybody”

Week 6: October 4, 6

The 1921 Revolutionaries

Batbayar, Modern Mongolia, pp. 29-41; Atwood: 1921 Revolution; Revolutionary Period; Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (to 1940); Ulaanbaatar (to 1945); Sükhebaatur; Bodô; Danzin, General; Rinchino; Zhamtsarano; Jalkhanza Khutugtu; Magsurjab; Dambadorji; Mongolian People’s Party, Third Congress of; 1924 Constitution; Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, Seventh Congress of; Buyannemekhü; Natsugdorji

Reading list for paper due, October 4

Discussion of readings, October 6

Film: “Storm Over Asia” (time TBA).

Week 7: October 11, 13

Politics and Culture in the 1920s

Shirendev, Through the Ocean Waves, 1-47; Mongolia: Yesterday and Today, pp. 1-69 (reader).

Week 8: October 18, 20

The Leftist Period

Shirendev, Through the Ocean Waves, 48-79; stories and poems of Natsagdorj (reader)

Discussion of readings, October 20

Midterm: October 25

Week 9: October 27

New Turn Policy

Batbayar, Modern Mongolia, 42-60; Atwood: Leftist Period; New Turn Policy; Lhümbe Case; Gendün; Demid; Amur; Choibalsang; Great Purge; Buddhism, Campaign Against; Japan and the modern Mongols; Khalkhyn Gol, Battle of; World War II.

Week 10: November 1, 3

The Terror

Kotkin and Elleman, Mongolia in the Twentieth Century, 99-161; Shirendev, Through the Ocean Waves, 80-128

Discussion of readings, November 3

Week 11: November 8, 10

The Choibalsang dictatorship and the early Tsedenbal years, 1945-1960

Batbayar, Modern History, 61-72; Atwood: Mongolian People’s Republic; 1940 Constitution; Soviet Union and Mongolia; Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party; Tsedenbal; Damba; Tömör-Ochir; Chinggis Khan controversy; Sino-Soviet alliance; Trans-Mongolian Railway; Sino-Soviet split; Foreign Relations; Armed Forces of Mongolia; Shirendev, Through the Ocean Waves, 129-166

Week 12: November 15, 17

Communism as a system

Batbayar, Modern History, 73-89; Atwood: 1960 Constitution; Economy, Modern; Ulaanbaatar; Darkhan City; Erdenet City; Collectivization and Collective Herding; Farming; Five Year Plans; Academy of Sciences; Damdinsüren, Tsendiin; Rinchen; Shirendew; Choinom; Shirendev, Through the Ocean Waves, 167-218; Kotkin and Elleman, Mongolia in the Twentieth Century, 237-246.

Week 13: November 22

Issues under Tsedenbal

Batbayar, Modern History, 90-104; Kotkin and Elleman, Mongolia in the Twentieth Century, 163-186, 247-289.

Discussion of reading, November 22

Film: “On the Edge of the Gobi” (time TBA)

Thanksgiving Break

Week 14: November 29, December 1

The New Mongolians

Kotkin and Elleman, Mongolia in the Twentieth Century, 223-236; Atwood: 1990 Democratic Revolution; Mongolia, State of; Batmönkh; Zorig; Dashbalbar; 1992 Constitution; cashmere; mining decollectivization; privatization; desertification and pasture degradation; environmental protection; Kazakhs.

December 2, Film “Mongolian Cashmere Traders” and discussion of reading and film

Week 15: December 6, 8

The Democratic (Revolution?), 1984-1992 and Mongolia today

Goldstein and Beall, Changing World; Tsogtbayar cartoons

December 9, Discussion of Readings

Film: “Wild East: Portrait of an Urban Nomad” (time TBA)

Paper Due in class, December 6

Final Examination