Frontier Encounters: Knowledge and Practice at the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian Border - cover image


Franck Billé; Grégory Delaplace; Caroline Humphrey. Contributors retain copyright of their work.

Published On





  • English

Print Length

291 pages (x + 281)


Paperback156 x 16 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.61" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 17 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.69" x 9.21")


Paperback912g (32.17oz)
Hardback1294g (45.64oz)



OCLC Number





  • JHMC
  • RGCP


  • SOC002010
  • HIS003000
  • POL011010


  • DS740.5.R8


  • Russia
  • China
  • Mongolia
  • anthropology
  • Asia
  • international relations
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Frontier Encounters

Knowledge and Practice at the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian Border

China and Russia are rising economic and political powers that share thousands of miles of border. Yet, despite their proximity, their practical, local interactions with each other — and with their third neighbour Mongolia — are rarely discussed. The three countries share a boundary, but their traditions, languages and worldviews are remarkably different. Frontier Encounters presents a wide range of views on how the borders between these unique countries are enacted, produced, and crossed. It sheds light on global uncertainties: China’s search for energy resources and the employment of its huge population, Russia’s fear of Chinese migration, and the precarious economic independence of Mongolia as its neighbours negotiate to extract its plentiful resources. Bringing together anthropologists, sociologists and economists, this timely collection of essays offers new perspectives on an area that is currently of enormous economic, strategic and geo-political relevance. This collective volume is the outcome of a network project funded by the ESRC (RES-075-25_0022) entitled "Where Empires Meet: The Border Economies of Russia, China and Mongolia”. The project, based at the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit (University of Cambridge), ran from 28 January 2010 to 27 January 2011. That project formed the foundation for a new and ongoing research project "The life of borders: where China and Russia meet" which commenced in October 2012.


A Slightly Complicated Door: The Ethnography and Conceptualisation of North Asian Borders

(pp. 1–17)
  • Grégory Delaplace

On Ideas of the Border in the Russian and Chinese Social Imaginaries

(pp. 19–32)
  • Franck Billé

Rethinking Borders in Empire and Nation at the Foot of the Willow Palisade

(pp. 33–53)
  • Uradyn E. Bulag

Concepts of "Russia" and their Relation to the Border with China

(pp. 55–70)
  • Caroline Humphrey

Chinese Migrants and Anti-Chinese Sentiments in Russian Society

(pp. 71–87)
  • Viktor Dyatlov

The Case of the Amur as a Cross-Border Zone of Illegality

(pp. 89–110)
  • Natalia Ryzhova

Prostitution and the Transformation of the Chinese Trading Town of Ereen

(pp. 111–135)
  • Gaëlle Lacaze

Ritual, Memory and the Buriad Diaspora Notion of Home

(pp. 137–163)
  • Sayana Namsaraeva

Politicisation of Quasi-Indigenousness on the Russo-Chinese Frontier

(pp. 165–181)
  • Ivan Peshkov

People of the Border: The Destiny of the Shenehen Buryats

(pp. 183–198)
  • Marina Baldano

The Persistence of the Nation-State at the Chinese-Kazakh Border

(pp. 199–210)
  • Ross Anthony

Neighbours and their Ruins: Remembering Foreign Presences in Mongolia

(pp. 211–233)
  • Grégory Delaplace

Appendix: Border-Crossing Infrastructure: The Case of the Russian-Mongolian Border

(pp. 235–243)
  • Valentin Batomunkuev


Grégory Delaplace


Caroline Humphrey