Catherine PleteshnerCPinMongolia.com is an open access online repository for my study of contemporary post-soviet socialist Mongol culture and society. Postings are grounded in my longitudinal community-specific ethnographic fieldwork in Mongolia since 2004.

Autobiographical elements and critical reflection are woven into my narratives. In working with Mongolian and other cultural resources, I seek to reflect the creative practices of the people around the world with whom I have the good fortune to associate.

In October 2014 I was honoured with the position of inaugural Research Fellow (Nomadic and Buddhist Philosophies) at the Zava Damdin Institute of Mongolia. Given that I am not an ethnic Mongol, this unexpected appointment is a great honour indeed.

In terms of background, I have been studying Gelugpa Buddhism according to the tradition of Je Tsongkhapa since 1987. Over these many years, I have attended lectures and studied with ethnic Tibetan tutors and on occasion still do so now. This journey has run in tandem with the demands of a professional working life. Each would not have born such sweet fruit, were it not for the other.

In 2010 my studies took me further afield (geographically). I lived in residential monastic colleges in Europe where I studied under the tutelage of certain older generation  Je Tsongkhapa lineage tutors and made new Kalyāṇamitrā (Skt. wholesome friends) in Switzerland, Italy and Austria.

However, starting in 2004 if not before, it is a beautiful Mongolian voice that sings in my heart. In terms of situated-ness my heart-tutor is Khalkha Mongol and lives with his family and students in community, in Mongolia.  Suffice to say, my initial visit to Mongolia in 2004 had a profound and catalytic effect on my inner and outer world and on those in my ambit. Nineteen years on, this initial unanticipated intersection with Mongolians-in-Mongolia culture continues to deepen in equally unanticipated ways.

The Zava Damdin Medallion, an award

In November 2011, I was very fortunate to have been awarded the Zava Damdin Medallion for my ongoing scholarly contribution to the study of contemporary Mongol culture. I understand that I am the first woman and Australian to have been publicly awarded this honour in Mongolia. Here I pause to also honour my friend and colleague Erdenetsogt Sodontogos who has been for many years the Mongolian President’s Adviser for International Public Affairs, and to acknowledge all that she has done and continues to do for so many others. The Honourable Professor Choirov Khishigtogtokh and Dr Hatagin Gotovin Akim received the same award for their own lifelong and much greater contribution to scholarship at the same official ceremony.

The Zawa Damdin bLo bzang rta dbyangs (1867– ) Medallion

The Zawa Damdin bLo bzang rta dbyangs (1867– ) Medallion

Articles on this website reflect aspects of educational and artistic collaborations in this context. They echo both inter and intra-cultural locations in Mongolia. 

In curating a blog, one has the opportunity to exercise a particularly spacious and judicious freedom: to discern and (re)configure artistically what one considers to be more important in relation to what may be deemed less so. The curatorial aspect of blogging itself is a reflection of a contemporary modernity and its vast array of online discourses that inform, shape and engage trans-cultural diversities in a globalising world.

E-site branching categories are listed below in alphabetical order (A-Z):


The Artefacts page on CPinMongolia.com lists key works associated with my study of contemporary Mongol culture and society in Mongolia since 2004. The completion of each project mentioned has laid foundations for the next. All have required negotiating a labyrinth of intra-cultural and socio-political involvements.


Posts to the Artscapes category of CPinMongolia.com showcase original works by Khalkha Mongol artists in Mongolia as well as other talented and creative people around the world with whom I have the good fortune to associate or collaborate artistically.

For my own works, a post to Artscapes is usually in the form of a short curatorial essay, the purpose of which is to support a cross-cultural interpretation of such image/s as presented. Background stories are at times linked to a composition or performance on CP in Mongolia on You Tube

The You Tube channel hosts exploratory multimedia works at the boundary of scholarly text-based proscriptions. Whilst the background stories reside on this website as posts to Artscapes, Motifs or Soundscapes, the creative works with which they are associated can be found on CP in Mongolia on You Tube. Working with this modality of analysis and expression is not only fun but an ongoing  important area of interest and research for me.


This new branch of my website (est. Oct 2022) shares information about relevant contemporary Mongolian art films, music videos, documentaries and other collaborative, multimodal made-in-Mongolia artistic projects using cinematic techniques can be found here.


Here you will find educational resources and articles based on my ‘in the field’ study of Mongolian society and culture since 2004. Whilst the formality of register may vary, the focus is on teaching and learning.

The Index lists these in chronological order (of development and posting) according to their categorial affiliation. Embedded in these, is information about ICTs and plugins and how they may help you with setting up your own WordPress blog. Music and other performing arts continue to be my travelling companions, so you will find expressions of this aspect of my journey too.


Posts to the Landscapes category of CPinMongolia.com offer authentic resources that can be cited by students, observers and other people interested in studying contemporary culture and society with Mongol valencies.


I love creating music. Here you will find the backstory to my compositions on You Tube. This new channel @cpleteshner (est. 2022) shares examples from a folio of technical etudes I am working on. I work digitally and enjoy noodling around on other instruments too.

Other Studies

The Other Studies page on CPinMongolia.com offers readers an overview of a selection of peer-reviewed and other highlights on previous project-specific journeys. These are not about Mongolia. However they do inform how and what I do now. In considering the arc of my own small life, these artefacts of scholarly production and other formative contributions to research in Australia’s higher education and public sector have been important keystones.

Out and About

Posts to the Out and About category of CPinMongolia.com share information about important gatherings, educational activities, performances and other cultural events in Australia, Mongolia and other locations around the world.


Posts to the Vignettes branch of CPinMongolia.com belong to a larger collection of short stories. These introduce contemporary Mongol women and aspects of the cultural and social worlds within which they are situated. Essays are grounded in  participant-observation fieldwork as well as key informant interviews (2008) with the person upon whom the vignette is based. (Pleteshner, C. 2011. Nomadic Temple: Daughters of Tsongkhapa in Mongolia. Unpublished manuscript, 365pp). Some are simply in annotated pictorial form.The contributions of other scholars who have made contributions to Mongolian Studies research, people I admire are noted here too.

© 2013-2023. CP in Mongolia. This post is licensed under the  Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Documents linked from this page may be subject to other restrictions.   Posted: 6 January 2014. Last updated: 28 January 2023.