Read “The Return of the Far-Off Past: Voicing Authenticity in Late Socialist Mongolia” written by our newest staff member Andrew Colwell. This article combines conceptual history and musical ethnography to tell the story of yazguur (meaning “authenticity” or “originality”), a pivotal concept in late socialist Mongolia that continues to inform cultural heritage discourse and policy today. The seminal music researcher Badraa first proposed this notion in the 1970s as a translation for folkloristic and primordial “authenticity” in a bid to assert the cultural sovereignty of Mongolia under Soviet hegemony. However, his cohorts, such as the xöömeich (throat singers), also resignified the term through their own discursive and performative practices that hinge upon pastoral custom and aesthetic propriety with baigal’ (nature, existence).
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