Northwestern Events Calendar


"The Secret History of the Mongols: Reading and Translating the World's Premier Source on the Rise of the Mongols" : A talk by Christopher P. Atwood (University of Pennsylvania)

When: Wednesday, April 10, 2024
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Peter Carroll   (847) 491-2753

Group: East Asia Research Forum

Category: Academic


Please join the East Asia Research Forum and the History Department as they co-host Christopher P. Atwood, Professor of Mongolian and Chinese Frontier and Ethnic History at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The Secret History of Mongols is the premier source on the life of Chinggis (“Genghis”) Khan, and the rise of the Mongol empire. Yet questions of genre have surrounded the work since its rediscovery in the first half of the twentieth century. Appearing suddenly in the mid-thirteenth with no predecessor and no real successor, the work -- brilliant, compelling, disturbing -- has mystified interpreters. Chronicle? Epic? Historical novel? Family saga? Or a combination of them? What is this thing? Based on his recent translation, Christopher Atwood will offer a way of reading the Secret History as an insider’s meditation on the paradoxes of fraternal feeling and role of wives and mothers in the imperial founding.

About the speaker:

Christopher P. Atwood (Ph.D. 1994, Indiana University) is professor and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches the history of Mongolia and the Inner Asian borderlands of China. His research ranges from the Mongol empire to the early twentieth century, with a focus on ethnicity, religion, and historiography. His most recent works include two books of translations: Rise of the Mongols: Five Chinese Sources (2021), and a new translation of Secret History of the Mongols in the Penguin Classics series 2023.


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