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Tarrying with Repression: Political Anecdotes and Social Memory in Northern Mongolia

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This article1 explores different forms of social memory about the state socialist repression of Mongolian Buddhism in the 1930s. Based on two political anecdotes collected during fieldwork among Darhads in Northern Mongolia as well as on recent studies of social memory in Mongolia and Buryatia by Christopher Kaplonski and Caroline Humphrey, I identify three ‘mnemonic tropes,’ which are appropriated by people in recounting these tragic events of the past, namely, what I call the digital, the paranoid, and the comical mode of collective remembering respectively. In broad terms, these mnemonic attitudes seem to correspond to three scapes of remembering: a radically liberal, a mildly conservative, and a neo-authoritarian political climate respectively.


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