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Department of Social Anthropology



I am a Research Associate on the AHRC-funded project ‘Mongolian Cosmopolitical Heritage: Tracing Divergent Healing Practices Across the Chinese-Mongolian Border’.

My research focuses on nature-based and ‘alternative’ medicine in contemporary Mongolia, exploring themes in both medical and environmental anthropology. I first began research in Mongolia in 2010 as a Fulbright scholar exploring shamanic healing practices, specifically the connection between spiritual illness and the impending mining boom. My research interests since then have shifted towards a practice-focused approach to the study of healing, historicizing such practices as they have and continue to relate to political economy. I am in the processes of preparing my first manuscript which explores the articulation of healing practices with nationalist and social progressivist discourses.

2018 PhD Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge
2013 MA Sociocultural Anthropology, Columbia University
2007 BSc Women's Studies (with honors); BSc General Biology, University of Michigan



Anthropology of Mongolia and Inner Asia; medical anthropology, political economy, post-socialism, medical colonialism, nationalism, ritual, shamanism, Buddhist medicine, cosmology and landscape, political ecology


forthcoming    ‘The People’s Duty to Love and Protect’: mineral springs and the moral register of changing landscapes in Mongolia’. Changing Climate and Communities in High Space and Icy Places (ed.) Knapp, R. Work in progress.

forthcoming    What’s (in) a Medical Fact?: finding the ‘root cause’ and evidentiary politics in Mongolian healing settings. Medical and Medicinal Margins in Mongolia (eds.) Buyandelger, M and T. Chudakova. Work in progress.

forthcoming    Herders in the ‘Age of the Market’ Mongolia: Innovation and Informal Networks of Care. On the Move: Reframing Nomadic Pastoralism. Doha, Qatar: National Museum of Qatar. In Press.

2021    Transgressing National ‘Green Culture’ and the Moral Authority of Nature in ‘Age of the Market’ Mongolia. Inner Asia 23(2): 304-329.

2021   (co-author: David Sneath) ‘Knowing the Lords of the Land: Cosmopolitcal dynamics and historical change in Mongolia’. Cosmopolitical Ecologies Across Asia: Places of Power in Changing Environments. Knapp, R., D. Sneath & H. Diemberger (eds). Routledge.

2020    Review article: ‘Tomas Matza, Shock Therapy: Psychology, Precarity, and Well-being in Postsocialist Russia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp. 305, 2018.’ Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 38(1). Invited.

2019    The Politics of Ritual Form(ation) in Contemporary Mongolia. Social Analysis 63(3). 47-70.

2018    Toxic Care (?): Scepticism and Treatment Failure in Post-Soviet Mongolia. Inner Asia 20(2)): 219-241.


(In preparation) Turk, E. ‘Stubborn Terms, Porous Concepts: the politics of modeling traditional-/bio- medical boundaries’.

Teaching and Supervisions


Undergraduate teaching:

SAN 6: Power, Economy and Social Transformation

SAN 8: Anthropology and Development

SAN 10: The Anthropology of Post-Socialist Societies

SAN 4: The Anthropology of Inner Asia


Postgraduate Teaching:

Comparative Environments, MPhil SAR specialist module (co-convener)

ANTHGR6124 The Politics of Modeling Social Relations, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University

ANTHG 6070: Making Ethnography: Method & Writing, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University


Research Associate, Department of Social Anthropology
Affiliated Lecturer
Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Elizabeth Hunter Turk

Contact Details

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