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Frontier Encounters

Franck Billé
Grégory Delaplace
Caroline Humphrey


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1Franck Billé is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Social Anthropology, and member of the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge. He is the coordinator of an ESRC-funded project (2012-2015) entitled ‘Where Rising Powers Meet: Russia and China at their northeast Asian border’. He previously carried out research in Mongolia where he investigated the prevalence of anti-Chinese sentiments. His manuscript Spectral Presences: Anxiety, Excess and Anti-Chinese Speech in Postsocialist Mongolia is currently under review, and his second book project, Phantom Pains: National Loss, Maps and Bodily Integrity, is in progress. Franck Billé can be contacted at

2Grégory Delaplace is a social anthropologist, working as a lecturer at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre. His most recent research concerned the political dimension of the invisible in Mongolia today (or the invisible dimension of politics), whereby ghosts, or spirits, are led to play a role in the postsocialist nation building process. His publications include L’invention des morts. Sépultures, fantômes et photographie en Mongolie contemporaine (2009), and Parasitic Chinese, Vengeful Russians: Strangers, Ghosts and Reciprocity in Mongolia (2012). Grégory Delaplace can be contacted at gregory.delaplace@

3Caroline Humphrey is an anthropologist based at the University of Cambridge who has worked in Russia, Mongolia, China, India, Nepal and Ukraine. She has researched a wide range of themes including Soviet and post-Soviet provincial economy and society; Buryat and Daur shamanism; Jain religion and ritual; trade and barter in Nepal; environment and the pastoral economy in Mongolia and the history and contemporary situation of Buddhism, especially in Inner Mongolia. Her recent research has concerned urban transformations in post-Socialist cities. Caroline Humphrey can be contacted at

4Ross Anthony is in the final stages of a PhD in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge and is a member of the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, Cambridge. His recent work focuses on issues of urbanisation and ethno-politics in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He currently holds a research fellow position at the Centre for Chinese Studies at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

5Marina N. Baldano is the head of the Department of History, Ethnology and Sociology, Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Ulan-Ude, Russia). Her research analyses the changes brought by modernisation in Inner Asia, nation-building, panmongolism and cross-border migrations. She is the coordinator of a number of research projects including "Civilizational Dynamics and Modernization Processes in the Baikal Asia" and "Border, Transborder and Migrants in Central Asia: Strategy and Practices of Mutual Adaptation". She can be contacted at

6Valentin Sergeevich Batomunkuev is a researcher at Baikal Institute of Nature Management SB RAS, Laboratory of Nature Management Economics. His current scientific work investigates the use of mineral resources, desertification and trans-boundary issues between Buryatia and Mongolia. Previously he carried out research on the management of subsurface resources and the development of transport crossing in the border territory between the two countries. He can be contacted at

7Uradyn E. Bulag is a reader in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge. His interests span East Asia and Inner Asia, especially China and Mongolia, nationalism and ethnic conflict, cosmopolitics, diplomacy, and statecraft. His works include Nationalism and Hybridity in Mongolia (1998), The Mongols at China’s Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity (2002), The Mongolia-Tibet Interface: Opening New Research Terrains in Inner Asia (co-editor, 2007), and Collaborative Nationalism: The Politics of Friendship on China’s Mongolian Frontier (2010), which has won the International Convention of Asian Scholars 2011 book prize. He can be contacted at

8Victor I. Dyatlov is a professor at the Faculty of World History and International Relations of Irkutsk State University, Russia, and Director of the Research Center on Inner Asia (Irkutsk). He published widely on cross-border migrations in modern and late imperial Russia, on the role of ethnic migrations in the formation of settlers communities in the East of Russia and on the comparative study of diasporas. He can be contacted at

9Gaëlle Lacaze is an assistant professor at the Department of Ethnology of the University of Strasbourg. Her research focuses on the anthropology of the body relating to Mongolian people and Turkic populations, including Kazakhs. Her current research investigates patterns of international migrations of Mongolian citizens. She is the author of Le corps mongol: techniques et conceptions nomades du corps (2012), the editor of "Migrations in Central Asia and Caucasus" (Revue europeenne des migrations internationales, 2010–13) and a number of articles in the field. She can be contacted at

10Sayana Namsaraeva is a Research Associate in the Division of Social Anthropology, and member of the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge. During her recent post-doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology she conducted extensive fieldwork on border regions of the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian territories. Her current project focuses on local society that straddles the Sino-Russian border in the twin cities of Zabaikal’sk and Manzhouli. She has published a number of articles in Russian, English and Chinese languages and is currently working on her book on the Qing frontier administration in Inner Asia. She can be contacted at

11Ivan Peshkov is an assistant professor at the Institute of Eastern Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. His current research focuses on the political dimension of quasi-indigenousness on the Russian-Chinese frontier. He has carried out research in the Chinese, Russian, and Mongolian border triangle and investigated the main economic and historical processes that characterize this area. He can be contacted at

12Natalia Ryzhova is the director of the Amur Laboratory for Economic and Social Studies at the Economic Research Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Science. She specialises in regional economics and economic sociology with particular focus on informal economics. In recent years she has focused on the interactions between Russian-Chinese frontier people, firms and authorities and on the issue of "border openness" in China. She is a member of the Cambridge Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit’s Network for the study of the border zones between China, Russia and eastern Mongolia. Her publications include Trans-border Exchange between Russia and China: The Case of Blagoveshchensk and Heihe (with G. Ioffe, 2009); The Case of the Twin City of Blagoveshensk-Heihe (2008) and The Political Economy of Trade Openness Reform: Consequences of Reform for Russian Border Regions (in Russian, 2011). She can be contacted at


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