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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 16, 2020

Enlightenment in the Name of Chinggis Khan: The Founding of the Eastern Mongolian Publishing House in Mukden 1926/27

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This paper is devoted to one of the first commercial Mongolian publishing houses in Republican China, which was founded in Mukden in 1926/27 and existed until the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. With its broad spectrum of publications, which included a textbook for primary education, translations and advices for self-improvement, its educational approach differed from earlier Mongolian publishing activities. Its founders saw themselves on a mission for education and aimed to spread knowledge relevant for Mongols in a globally connected world by making Mongolian language print material easier accessible to a wider public.

The paper argues that the founders of the publishing house were fueled by ideas of social Darwinism and saw competition not only on a global scale but also within the Chinese Republic. For this reason, their publishing project was meant to strengthen Mongols as a distinct, unitary group within the multinational Chinese Republic. At the same time, they raised their own profile as cultural translators and presented themselves as a scholarly elite. The Mukden publishers tried to set themselves apart from the institutions, which had dominated the field of Mongolian book production so far, but made reference to familiar concepts of sponsoring in order to strengthen their arguments for commercial publishing.


The author is grateful to the Swiss National Science Foundation for its financial support (Funder Id:, Grant Number: 100011_156559). I am greatly indebted to friends and colleagues in Inner Mongolia who discussed the project with me and helped me find relevant material. Many thanks also go to Elisa Kohl-Garrity for her careful proofreading of the English and helpful comments.


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Published Online: 2020-04-16
Published in Print: 2020-04-26

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