skip to content

Department of Social Anthropology


Entangled Lines: Railways, Resource Booms, and Transnational Politics in Mongolia

Dr Uradyn Bulag worked in collaboration with Dr Shurkhuu Dorj in a partnership between MIASU, University of Cambridge and Entangled LinesIIS, Mongolia, this project studied the critical role of the Mongolian railway in relation to the burgeoning mining sector and Mongol-Chinese-Russian economic and geopolitical relations. Mongolia had recently announced plans to build 5,683 km of new railways in three phases. But instead of a short line of c. 270 kms from the mines to the Chinese border, it had opted for a costly 1,100 km line to link to the existing Trans Mongolian railway and beyond to the Russian railway in the first phase, in order to create a balance of interests between China and Russia and to increase revenue from mineral exports. The decision cast the railway on centre stage in the nation’s resource boom and raised questions about its priorities for economic and geopolitical transformation. Transnational and interdisciplinary in perspective, the project will contribute to the understanding of a vital system that will have significant implication for Mongolia’s economy, its relations with its neighbours, and even regional stability.

A final conference was held in December 2015 with contributions from major railway companies in Mongolia and representatives from China and Russia.

Dr Uradyn Bulag in collaboration with Dr Shurkhuu Dorj. This project was funded by The British Academy (2013–2015).

Dr Uradyn E Bulag
Research Ethics Officer
Fellow, Selwyn College
Office hours: appointment by email