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Department of Social Anthropology


MIASU Seminar - Yana Bezirganova (Birmingham City University & University of Kent)

Writing Buryatia: the Future of Mongolian Script

This paper is part of a wider ethnographic project concerned with the revival of Buryad-Mongolian culture in the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude. It is based on a year-long fieldwork in the city, including many discussions with local activists, enthusiasts, and educators, as well as participant observation in one of the most ambitious local shops that seeks to promote Buryatia to travellers and support local efforts in the cultural revival. 

Numerous discussions with the people concerned about the future of this revival inevitably revolve around the Buryad language and the growing threat of its disappearance. In this context, Mongolian script revival seems almost impossible. However, there are people who are passionate about bringing this writing system back, if not on a large scale, then at least as a strong cultural reference point. Following theoretical insights offered in the recent developments in the anthropology of the future, this paper explores diverse experiences of imagining and planning for the future of the Mongolian script. Moreover, while the Mongolian script community is incredibly small in Buryatia, they are not a unified group of people pursuing the same goals.

Please email to book a space.


Tuesday, 9 March, 2021 - 16:30 to 18:00
Event location: 
Online - Zoom