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The Australian National University

PhD students

Michael Hope, School of Culture, History & Language

Amirate or Sultanate? The Routinization of Chinghizid Authority in the Later Ilkhanate

At the end of the 13th century Ghazan Khan, the Mongol ruler of much of the Middle-East, sought to identify his authority with the Shi'ite concept of imamate. An analysis of the 'court-histories' which transmitted this policy will provide an insight into how the Ilkhans understood their authority in relation to their subjects. An investigation of the ideological environment in which Ghazan came to power will also provide a better understanding of how the political legacy of Chinghiz Qan was interpreted by the Mongols in Iran.

Gesar Temur, School of Culture, History & Language

Returning to the Origin? Buddhist revival in contemporary Mongolia: Western form of Buddhism comes to Mongolia

In the last two decades there has been an influx of outside religious communities into Mongolia. The government in newly democratic Mongolia supports freedom of belief, and both the politicians and the common Mongols see it as important to revive traditional Mongolian Buddhism as a way of recovering and strengthening their own Mongolian identity. Not only the Mongolian Buddhist schools, however, have been active in their teaching and social work, but Buddhist missionary organisations from outside Mongolia are also strongly interested in expanding their influence in Mongolia. This thesis investigates the attraction of Western Buddhism in modern Mongolia and its relationship to the country's economic, political and social agendas. The thesis focuses on the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), the largest Buddhist group in the West, which established itself in Mongolia in 1999. The FPMT is an international network of Buddhist centres focusing on what it claims to be traditional Tibetan Buddhism. Its mission is to preserve the Tibetan Buddhist teaching of the Gelug tradition, promoting it to the lay society in Mongolia. Based on interviews and using sociological science theories , this thesis explores how transnational Buddhism contributes to modernization, and how conversion and modernisation influence identity and cultural preservation.

Rebekah Plueckhahn, Research School of Humanities & the Arts

Musical sociality and perceptions of the past, present and future: the roles of music amongst Altai Urianghai people from Duut Soum, Khovd Province, Mongolia.

This thesis examines how music amongst the Altai Urianghai people from Duut Soum exists on a historical continuum of several factors currently bearing upon peoples' actions. For people in and from Duut, music, musical practice, discourse and identity is fluidly interlinked into a variety of social categories and social processes, determining and determined by the state of change and movement that people currently find themselves. Through a detailed analysis of social processes and the performance and articulation of key musical genres, this thesis explores the nature of this historical continuum as a lived musical experience arguing that through musical performance, embracing of musical change, historical musical remembering and lived musical sociality, music is a key activity that allows people from Duut to negotiate their shared history in a changing present and potentially determine positive future outcomes through appropriate, socially sanctioned musical aesthetics.

Tenzin Ringpapontsang, School of Culture, History & Language

Advice to the King: A letter from Phags Pa Lama to Mongol emperor Khubilai Khan

The special relationship between the 13th century Tibetan monk 'Phags Pa Lama (1235-1280) and the Mongol emperor Khubilai Khan (1215-1294) is chronicled in many records of the time. It is a relationship that has had resounding historical, political, cultural, religious and economic implications for Tibet, Mongolia and China.

Largely unknown outside the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism is that in 1271, 'Phags Pa Lama wrote a letter of personal advice to Khubilai Khan. A close analysis of this letter provides an intimate insight into the special relationship between these two pivotal figures of 13th century Asia. This letter reveals a close personal and spiritual bond which is often overlooked in favour of speculative conjectures based on a political-theoretic paradigm by most contemporary historians. Moreover, examined in conjunction with the existing body of knowledge on this period, this letter not only provides insight into Khubilai Khan but also a new perspective on his reign over history's largest contiguous land empire.

Undargaa Sandagsuren, Crawford School of Economics & Government

Changing resource access and its impact on pastoral land management in Mongolia

This is a study of natural resource management and mobile pastoralism in Mongolia. Since 1990, Mongolia has shifted its socio-economic policy from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. This policy transition has led to dramatic modifications in environmental management and practices in mobile pastoralism. These changes have resulted in the decline of pastoral institutions and traditional land use practices, leading to livestock overgrazing, environmental degradation, and increasing conflict over natural resource use among herders. To date, there has been limited research on how these reforms and policies have altered strategies used by herders to access key resources. Focusing on a case study of Herlen Bayan-Ulaan, the oldest state pasture reserve in Mongolia, this PhD research proposed to examine how and why changes in resource access affects pastoral land management. It will examine the relationship between academic theories in natural resource management and realities in local contexts.

Updated:  20 February 2015/Responsible Officer:  Head, Mongolian Studies Centre /Page Contact:  CHL webmaster