skip to content

Department of Social Anthropology



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

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.

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


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.


(Under review) Sneath, David and Elizabeth Turk. ‘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.


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


Book Reviews:

2020    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): 148-9. Invited.

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:

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
Office hours: appointment by email
Dr Elizabeth Hunter Turk

Contact Details

Email address: