Nomadic Identity: The Development of a Multiethnic Empire in Mongolia

Lecture | March 18 | 5-7 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Christine Lee, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, California State University, Los Angeles

 Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, Mongolia Initiative

The nomadic states in Mongolia developed their own definitions of ethnicity and citizenship independently from the settled populations of China. Here, nomads and agriculturalists have lived in the same communities for thousands of years. While the ruling nobility was one specific ethnicity, there was not a clear hierarchy of ethnicities. Mongolia has experienced the migration and incorporation of people from the east (Xianbei, Rouran, Qidan), west (Uighur, Turkic), and south (Chinese, Ordos) from the Bronze Age to the Mongol period (2500 BC -1368 AD). One hundred and twenty-four individuals were analyzed to determine who was migrating into Mongolia (men, women, children), the timing of migrant populations, and the migrant ethnicities.

Christine Lee is a professor of Bioarchaeology at California State University, Los Angeles. She uses human skeletal remains from China, Mongolia, and Egypt, to explore ethnic identity, cultural body modification, and the antiquity of infectious disease. Current research has included foot binding, deviant burials, and detecting women warriors.