The Image of Chinggis Khan in the Identity Construction of the Mongol Peoples during the Post-Socialist Period

Type de publication  Journal Article
Auteur(s)  Lacaze, G.
Titre de la revue  Ab Imperio
Volume  4
Année  2005

Obraz Chingis xana v konstruirovanii identichnosti mongol'skix narodov postsocialisticheskogo perioda

The article explores the role of history in constructing contemporary processes in post-socialist Mongolia. The main focus of the article is on the figure of Chinggis Khan, in particular upon its role in the new Mongol nationalism and in the self-identification of Mongols. The author argues that the image of Chinggis Khan supplements other elements of Mongol nationalism, such as the “classic” script, Buddhism and shamanism, and “The Secret History of the Mongols.” The traditional seasonal celebration of “naadam” now includes references to Chinggis Khan and the Chingisids. The author also points to differences in the perceptions of Chinggis Khan among various Mongol-speaking peoples, such as Buryats, Kalmyks, and Mongols of China, and to the historical figure’s importance in securing a “greater Mongolian sentiment.” In the 20th century, the cult of Chinggis Khan was reflected in contested memorial sites (alleged to be the tomb of the hero) in Mongolia proper and in China, where the cult is commercialized. Exploring historical developments in the self-identification of Mongol-speaking societies, the author discusses the transition from a sense of identity to modern nationalism. According to the author, the emergence of a greater transnational Mongol identity depended on the existing cultural community. Finally, the author explores the conflict between notions of Mongol identity built on exclusively ethic grounds (centered on Khalkha) and the notions of “greater Mongol identity” focused on the figure of Chinggis Khan, pastoral nomadism, and shamanism.