The Hulunbuir and Transbaikalia Playground. Microphysics of Power on the Sino-Russian Border.

Eastern Transbaikalia and Hulunbuir, geographically and culturally adjacent to one another, have been under the dominion of Russia and China from the second half of the seventeenth century. This caused a permanent burden on the trilateral relationship between China, Mongolia and Russia, i.e. the one of civilizational confrontation between the two powers in East Asia. Economic, administrative and migration policies of the empires has made the analyzed regions spaces of confrontation in terms of cultures, political option, religions, and national mythologies. Regardless of demographic, economic, and military assymmetry, each vertex of this triangle has played a special role in the neighbors' national discourses causing the coexistence of mutually excluding attitudes of mistrust, gratitude, trauma, or moderate liking. In all three countries the regional narratives have been connected with general concepts of civilizational and cultural divisions, expected structures of subordination, and legitimization of the “just” borders. This exceptional intensification of historiosophic “arms race” has caused extreme intensification of ethnic, religious and racial divisions in the regions in concern.

The main objective of the special issue is to analyze the practices of differentiation and unification in a place of intense encounters of cultures and peoples of different civilizational backgrounds, but with relatively similar cultural and political experiences. The multiscale and spectral character of borderline situation gives opportunities to investigation of Michelle Foucault micro-physics perspective – how power plays out in the institutionalized forms (Foucault 2003). Dispositions, maneuvers, tactics and techniques of border life show us the permanent contradiction between local and official knowledge, between local and central authority, between phantom and reality, between official version of the past and memory. The attention will be devoted mainly to the 1st half of the 20th century when local attempts to modernize borderline regions were confronted with modern state-building on the Sino-Russian frontier and their legacy.



I. The Boundaries, Sovereignty and Legal Status of Concessions in Chinain the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries ( Pavel N. Dudin) 

II. Hulun Buir: Its Ethnic and Linguistic Situation (Veronika Zikmundová,Veronika Kapišovská, Bayarma Khabtagaeva) 

III. People in the Shadow of Empire Bordering. New Evenki Transborder Nationalism in North-Eastern Asia (Ivan Peshkov) 

IV. Restoring Cultural Continuity: Cultural Heritage in Post-Socialist Inner Asia (Zbigniew Szmyt)

V. The Exception that Proves the Rule: Modern Mongolian Historyin a Textbook (Katarzyna Golik) 

VI. Ethnic Framing on the Sino-Russian Frontier (Zbigniew Szmyt) 

VII. Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg: Between Global Pop Culture and Mongolian Historiography (Adam Dohnal) 

VIII. Daurian Gothic as a narrative of Far-Right Public History in Central Eurasia (Alexey Mikhalev) 


Electronic version available at:

The Hulunbuirand Transbaikalia Playground.


Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Faculty of Political Science and Journalism
Poznań 2019


The book was prepared with the support of the National Science Center (Poland)(grant number DEC 2012/05/E/HS 3/03527)