The rebirth of Chinggis Khaan: state appropriation of Chinggis Khaan in post-socialist Mongolia

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8 Scopus citations


A massive monument of Chinggis Khaan (Chinggis Khaan’s name is spelt differently depending on the language in which it was written and on conventions of transliteration. Among the most common are Chinggis, Genghis, Genghiz, or Jengiz. For the purpose of the paper, the Mongolian transliteration is used.) imposingly gazes down from the government palace in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. The monument was erected in 2006 in commemoration of the 800-year anniversary of the establishment of “the Great Mongolian State.” Occupying arguably the most prominent national space, the monument serves as an arresting emblem of the state. With its silent yet triumphant symbolization, the monument articulates the state’s new ideology in the post-Soviet era. The monument is one of countless symbolic and material grand-scale state expressions appropriating Chinggis Khaan. In this article, I examine the state’s appropriation of Chinggis Khaan as the marker of Mongolian post-socialist national identity. In doing so, I critically examine how the state appropriates history, remembering and forgetting certain parts, to cultivate a shared sense of belonging and pride. Unifying the public in shared glorification and celebration of Chinggis Khaan ultimately serves to instill devotion to the national political and ideological project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)840-855
Number of pages16
JournalNationalities Papers
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2017


  • Chinggis Khaan
  • Mongolia
  • ideology
  • memory
  • nationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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