Last year I wrote a post where I used the word racism of the state of affairs in Mongol studies. A year ago (but doesn’t a lot happen in a year, these days?) that felt almost daring, actually, because very few seemed to be addressing it, or calling it out, as I said. The skimpy bibliography I attached to the post was the most I knew of to point to.
It was a crude post, because I don’t have the analytic tools on this subject of racism. But boy, have I been bothered by its obvious presence in Mongol history-writing.
Now a PhD candidate, Sierra Lomuto, has written a post that is being much shared, on ‘the utter lack of racial consciousness in our field of Medieval Studies’.
It’s a welcome post, and what excites me is that Lomuto says she is working on Mongols and race: ‘As a mixed-race Asian woman working on histories of racial structures in medieval European-Mongol relations, this lacuna in Medieval Studies is not news to me. I regularly read adjectives like “uncultured” and “barbaric” to describe Mongols in books published within the last decade. I still see “Oriental” used uncritically to refer to Asian peoples.’
I hope she publishes soon. I hope she or others address racism in the historiography on Mongols.