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Department of Social Anthropology


As a result of a generous donation from the Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit and Department of Social Anthropology is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Joe Ellis as its first Sigrid Rausing Early-Career Postdoctoral Fellow. 

As well as playing a full role in the MIASU’s research activities and contributing to the teaching of the Department, Joe will be consolidating his research and expanding to new areas as part of an overarching new project provisionally named 'The Political Lives of Mongolian Concepts’. Through a study of concepts of the environment, ethnicity and relatedness as they exist in the west of Mongolia, he will seek both to describe these ideas in their own terms and to track how they are formed and drawn upon by power. The site of study is thus more precisely the 'contact point' whereby concepts we describe as academics come to have political effects in the Mongolia and the Inner Asian region as a whole. The research is designed to develop tools for thinking that produce insights into the understudied Western Mongolian cultural region, and at the same time continues the conceptual innovation, vibrancy and critical edge that have characterised the unit throughout its history.

Joe’s previous research topics have included: the dynamics of violence, shamanism, and alcoholism within intimate relations; the role of mythic-historical exemplars in generating ideas of ‘ethnic’ difference; the impact of religious practices on the economic sphere; the cultivation of gendered mobilities within kinship ideologies; practices of deception and spheres of complicity; and the political salience of perceptions of environmental change.