Elizabeth Turk

Dr Elizabeth Turk


  • Position Governing Body Fellows Junior Research Fellows
  • School Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Department Social Anthropology
  • Email eht24@cam.ac.cuk
  • Department link Social Anthropology

Elizabeth is a Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology.

Elizabeth Turk

Elizabeth earned her doctorate in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge (Selwyn College) in 2018. She began research in 2010 as a Fulbright Scholar exploring shamanic healing practices in Mongolia, specifically the connection between spiritual illness and the forecasted mining boom. Elizabeth earned her MA in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University in 2013, where she also held the role of Postdoctoral Research Scholar and Lecturer in 2019-2020. As a Cultural Heritage Fellow, Elizabeth was funded by the American Center for Mongolian Studies and Henry Luce Foundation in 2016 to explore mineral springs and associated health practices in Mongolia.

In addition to teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels in the Department of Social Anthropology, Elizabeth has been Director of Studies in Social Anthropology at Corpus Christi College. Alongside her current position as Research Associate, she is also a Curatorial Consultant for the National Museum of Qatar.

Elizabeth’s research explores health-related practices and strategies in Mongolia, with particular focus on ‘alternative’ and nature-based therapies. Her doctoral dissertation traced entanglements of body, natural environment and national identity as Mongolians find renewed interest in therapeutic heritage once denigrated as ‘superstition’ by the state. It looks at how Mongolians navigate the multiple authorities on health and wellbeing during a time of aging Soviet medical infrastructure.

Her current work builds on the doctoral research, as part of a project in the Department of Social Anthropology entitled ‘Mongolian Cosmopolitical Heritage: Tracing Divergent Healing Practices Across the Mongolian-Chinese Border’, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

While the project ethnographically explores the politics of linking health and cultural heritage, research scope has shifted slightly in the wake of the pandemic, to focus on how healing practices – ‘traditional’, bio-medical, and the many intersections in between – are mobilized to prevent and treat COVID-19.

Ultimately, this research will illuminate the ways in which public administration and national constructions of culture shape practices that influence health and wellbeing. This will reveal mechanisms by which cultural forms change more generally.

What's on

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Science Student Research Series *POSTPONED*

02/12/2022 at 17.45

Please note that this event has been postponed until 2023.

Wolfson College Winter Celebration poster

Wolfson College Winter Celebration

02/12/2022 at 18.00

Wrap up warm and get skate-ready as our East Court is transformed into a magical winter wonderland for our Wolfson College Winter Celebration!

Saptarishi by Simon Patterson

Art Exhibition: 'Simon Patterson: Out of Order'

03/12/2022 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Out of Order' featuring work by prominent artist Simon Patterson, open to the public, Saturday and Sundays, 10am - 5pm.

Wolfson College Festive Market Poster

Wolfson College Festive Market

03/12/2022 at 14.00

You are warmly invited to Wolfson's Festive Market!

Wolfson in Malaysia

Wolfson in Malaysia

04/12/2022 at 14.00

Join Sian Cook, Director of Networks, for our Wolfson in Malaysia event