Modern Inner Mongolia
What region in the world has the largest population of ethnic Mongols? What region in Chinese was the first testing ground for the Chinese Communist minority policy? What region in China has had the most lasting impact from the Japanese occupation during World War II? What region of the world produces the largest part of the world’s cashmere and most of its rare earths? Which region in China suffered the most in the Cultural Revolution? The answer to all these questions is: Inner Mongolia.
This seminar explores the sociology, politics, environment, history, and literature of Inner Mongolia from the late 19th century to the present. Issues explored include changes in pastoral society, Chinese immigration into the steppe, farm lands, and cities, sociology of Chinese cities, ethnic interaction between Mongols and Chinese, environmental degradation and protection, contemporary politics and dissidence, the “East Mongolian Enlightenment,” nationalism and pan-Mongolist movements, the Japanese occupation and the Chinese Civil War, and the Cultural Revolution.
Throughout the class, students will be encouraged to use the case of Inner Mongolia to rethink important issues of ethnic relations, state-building, and globalization in both Inner Asian and Chinese contexts.