Elizabeth Turk

Dr Elizabeth Turk


  • Position Governing Body Fellows Junior Research Fellows
  • School Humanities and Social Sciences Department of 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 today navigate the multiple authorities on health and well-being.

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, the 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.

What's on

Inger Mewburn

Kicking the can down the road: How to create research impact in seven (not so easy) steps

06/06/2023 at 17.30

We hear terms like ‘research impact’ and ‘engagement’ all the time, but what does ‘impact’ and ‘engagement’ actually look like in practice?

selection of books written by Professor Inger Mewburn

Productivity workshops for researchers with Prof. Inger Mewburn aka The Thesis Whisperer

10/06/2023 at 10.00

Join Professor Inger Mewburn, also known online as the Thesis Whisperer, for one or both workshops to help increase your productivity: Getting sh!t done and Building a second brain (for writing)

'You' by Gavin Fry

Art Exhibition: 'Things Put Differently'

10/06/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Things Put Differently' featuring Gavin Fry and works by Anthony Green and Mary Cozens-Walker.

Photo of artist Gurpran Rau holding a piece of her artwork

Art Exhibition: 'Patterns of Renewal'

10/06/2023 at 10.00

We're delighted to be the first to display Gurpran Rau's latest exhibition 'Patterns of Renewal', featuring a series of paintings created during lockdown inspired by her walks in the woods of Cambridgeshire.