Mobility and Immobility in Mongolia
11.09.2018, 15:08 - 13.09.2018, 15:08
Institut für Religionswissenschaft, Universität Bern
Mobility has always been a defining characteristic in the history of the Mongols. Long before the
“mobilities turn” in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the thirteenth century proved to be an ex-traordinarily mobile century for both Asia and Europe. At the heart of this mobility lay the Mongols and their policy of drafting people skilled in diverse arts and sciences into their service and relocat-ing them across the Eurasian continent. The case of the Mongolian Empire with its multiple trading routes, travelling people and cultural flows embedded in immobile infrastructures emphasizes that seemingly dislocated places are tied into networks of connection that transcend fixed places and apparently solid boundaries.
The new trans-disciplinary field of mobilities research has drawn attention to the issues addressed here. Theoretically situated in this new research area, the planned conference is informed by a broad concept of mobility that includes both the embodied movement of people and commodities and their cultural representations and meanings. It will focus on the relational dynamics of mobility and immobility in Mongolian societies from the late 16th century until today. Under the umbrella theme of (im)mobility it will address the interplay of material objects, spatial fixities, and temporali-ties like fastness and slowness that constitute and shape past and present (im)mobilities in the Mongolian regions.
At the conference, scholars of various fields of Mongolian Studies are invited to discuss diverse, but interlinked, issues like spatial movement, social mobility or cultural circulation, combining differ-ent methodological and theoretical approaches.
The conference is part of the collaborative research cluster “Mobility and Immobility in Mongolia” which was called into being in order to improve the scientific cooperation of the individual institutes of Mongolian Studies in Germany, Switzerland and Mongolia. Furthermore, the cluster aims at the promotion of young scholars in Mongolian Studies, thus involving Ph.D. projects. Scheduled for three years (11/2015-10/2018), the cluster is supported by the National Council for Mongolian Studies with a grant from the Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (see the web-site of the cluster: www.mongolistik-mobilitaet.uni-bonn.de/). The participants of the cluster meet at an annual basis to present and discuss the results of their individual research projects.
The conference at Bern University is the closing event of the research cluster. On one hand it will present the results of the collaborative research to a broader academic and interested public audi-ence. On the other hand, the conference will serve as a starting point for future research in this field and therefore invites established scholars, as well as young researchers, to contribute to this research area. In this way, it will contribute to a better understanding of the highly complex dis-courses and practices of (im)mobility and the role they play in historical and contemporary Mongo-lian societies.