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Introducing New Staff 31

My Search for Mongolian Historical Sources

Borǰigiǰin Ulaγan (Wulan)
(Visiting professor, January 2014)

I am a professor at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. I was born in a Mongolian family at Huhhot, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. I graduated from the Department of Mongolian Language and Literature, Inner Mongolia University in 1978, and obtained my PhD degree in history studies from the same university in 1997. I moved to Beijing in 1996, where I first worked at the Research Centre for Chinese Borderland History and Geography, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and have been working at the present institute since 1999. I have conducted research outside my home institutions both in Japan and in China over the years. I came to study ancient Mongolian language under the supervision of Prof. Ozawa Shigeo at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies from January 1986 to March 1987, and was invited to Waseda University as a foreign researcher of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at the Institute of Mongolian Studies from April 2004 to February 2005. I researched The Secret History of the Mongols with the Mongolian scholars at the College of Mongolian Language and Culture, Mongolian National University from September 2007 to July 2008.

My specialty is ancient Mongolian history, using Mongolian historical sources. I have focused on the history and culture of the Mongols from the 12th century to the 17th century for many years, and have published Erdeni-yin Tobči, transcription of the Urga text (Canberra, the Australian National University Press, 1990) with Prof.Igor de Rachewiltz, Studies of Erdeni-yin Tobči (Shenyang, Liaoning Nationalities Press, in Chinese, 2000, in Mongolian, 2005) and Collation of the Secret History of the Mongols (Beijing, Zhonghua Book Company, 2012).

Through studies of Mongolian historical sources such as The Secret History of the Mongols of the 12th century and Erdeni-yin Tobči (the Precious History of the Khans) of the 17th century, I have come to realize that it is absolutely essential to attach importance to historical sources written by ethnic groups in their own languages and scripts when researching their history. At the same time, it is also necessary to produce and publish good collationed versions of historical sources, which can be used to make comparisons with historical materials written in other languages and scripts. During my study of Mongolian historical sources, I became to be interested in how the historical view held by ancient Mongols gradually changed, and hope to be able to clarify the problems how the Mongols of the 12th century regarded their own history and why their historical view changed during the 17th century.

I have been abroad several times for study, and on each occasion my studies have always greatly benefitted from these experiences. It is a great honor for me to work as a visiting professor at the ILCAA until the end of July this year. I hope that I will be able to contribute to research projects at the ILCAA.

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