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Dr Elizabeth Hunter Turk

Dr Elizabeth Hunter Turk

Research Associate, Department of Social Anthropology


Elizabeth Turk is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar and Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University.

Dr Turk’s research focuses on nature-based and ‘alternative’ medicine in contemporary Mongolia, exploring themes in both medical and environmental anthropology. She 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. 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. Dr Turk is in the processes of preparing her first manuscript which explores the articulation of healing practices with nationalist and social progressivist discourses.

In 2020, she will begin post-doctoral research on the AHRC-funded project ‘Mongolian Cosmopolitical Heritage: Tracing Divergent Healing Practices Across the Chinese-Mongolian Border’.


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

Research Interests

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


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

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

Key Publications

2019    The Politics of Ritual Form(ation) in Contemporary Mongolia. Social Analysis 63(3). In Press.

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