Hunting Chinggis Khan's Skull and Soul:
Inner Asian Frontiers of Historical
Ideology and Racial Imaginations

by Uradyn Bulag

[February 24, 2006]


Since the early 20th century, Chinggis Khan has become an object of desire and repulsion to many nations and individuals in the world. He has been identified by the Japanese as the 13th-century tragic hero Minamoto Yoshitsune, and recognized by the Chinese as 'the only Chinese who has ever defeated the Europeans'. His virtue and vice are equally captivating, as exemplified by the designations 'Chinggis Khan's Mongolia', or 'Genghis Bush', a nick-name for American president George W. Bush acquired in 2003 as a result of his decision to invade Iraq.

In this presentation, I explore the transnational transfiguration of Chinggis Khan through the mimetic appropriation or disavowal of Chinggis Khan by Japan, China, Russia, and Mongolia in the long 20th century. I argue that Chinggis Khan has now become the fantasy structure, the scenario, through which each of the nations involved here perceives or defines itself as a meaningful entity. His value as a national and racial signifier derives not only from local or national setting and dynamics, but more importantly from a wider racial, ideological and historical context.






Lecture Archive

Fall 2009 - Spring 2010

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

Fall 2007 - Spring 2008


Fall 2006 - Spring 2007

Fall 2005 - Spring 2006

Fall 2004 - Spring 2005

Fall 2003 - Spring 2004

Fall 2002 - Spring 2003

Fall 2001 - Spring 2002


Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2017

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
Phone: 212-869-0182 / 0187   
Fax: 212-869-0181 | E-mail: