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CREES Noon Lecture. Jangar: Nomads, Aesthetics, and Literature

Saglar Bougdaeva, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sociology, CUNY-College of Staten Island
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
12:00-1:20 PM
1010 Weiser Hall Map
Rooted in the Great Steppe Route, Jangar leads us into an exciting world of travels from east to west and back again. It shows not only how the steppe road was crucial to the accumulation of wealth though global trade, but also its strategic importance to the global flow of people, as well as cross-cultural ideas and imagination. The quintessential elements of the Great Steppe Route were groundwater well (ulgen) stops, “tea and sleep” (chai-honna) stops, diners (khotan), soup kitchens (sholun) for monks and the poor, horse-exchange and postal stations (yam), watchtowers and storm shelters (bolzatin boro), golden and silver bridges over rivers, and jade gates marking the entrances and exits of khanates. Jangar's detailed accounts of nomadic palaces, cities, and empires enable readers to imagine the world of nomads free from contemporary conceptual constraints and to reconsider our understanding of nomadic polities and culture. In this lecture, Jangar is discussed as “literature” of the last nomadic empire of the Oirads and their khanates, such as the Jungar Khanate (eliminated in 1758) and the Kalmyk Khanate (eliminated in 1771). As performed across the Eurasian steppe, Jangar includes countless songs that represent the old boundaries of the Oirad union and reflects the fate of the Oirad-speaking nomadic peoples who were consolidated in vast geographic and historical settings: the Kalmyk Oirads in today’s Russia, the Western Mongol Oirads in today’s Mongolia, the Xinxiang Oirads in today’s China. To understand the epic scope of Jangar, one must consider nomadic sensibilities rather than modern national boundaries.

Saglar (Saga) Bougdaeva was born and raised in Kalmykia. Central to Bougdaeva’s work as a scholar of the Eurasian studies is a commitment to identifying and preserving the nomadic oral and written heritage of the Great Eurasian Steppe. Before receiving a PhD in Sociology from Yale University, Bougdaeva studied Mongolian-Tibetan-Mandarin linguistics at Saint Petersburg State University.

This lecture will be presented in person in 1010 Weiser Hall and on Zoom. Webinar registration required at:

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: central asia, Sociology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, International Institute, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, Department of Sociology

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