Bilde av Fraser, Richard
Bilde av Fraser, Richard
Department of Social Sciences +4777644638

Richard Fraser

Associate Professor in Social Anthropology

Job description

I am an anthropologist and Associate Professor within the Department of Social Sciences. I completed my PhD at the University of Leiden and two postdoctoral projects at the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge. 

I have carried out long-term ethnographic fieldwork with Evenki, Orochen, and Mongol communities in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Heilongjiang province since 2007, as well as with Darhad and Tsaatan communities in Mongolia since 2010.

More recently, I have started new fieldwork in China's Southwest - including Guizhou, Sichuan, and Yunnan. 


My research interests include:

Human-Environment Relations (Zoonoses, Multi-species and More-than-human, Resource Extraction)

Multimodal Anthropology and Critical Heritage Studies (Museums, Photo-Elicitation, Repatriation, and Digital Return)

- Infrastructure (Roads, Pipelines, China's Belt and Road Initiative)

Indigenous People, Ethnic Minorities, and the State

Pastoralism, Hunting and Conservation (Displacement and Resettlement, Protected Areas)

Phenomenological and Existential Anthropology (Anthropological Theory, Ethnographic Writing)

Shamanism, Animism, the Ontological Turn

Enskilment and Deskilment


  • Richard Fraser :
    The “Heritage-isation” of Photographs: The Ethel John Lindgren Collection and the Orochen Ethnic Minority in Northeast China
    Heritage & Society 2022 DOI
  • Richard Fraser :
    A museum in the taiga: heritage, ethnic tourism and museum-building amongst the Orochen in northeast China
    Journal of Heritage Tourism 2022 DOI
  • Richard Fraser :
    Contesting the Chinese Taiga: spirits, reindeer, and environmental conservation in Northeast China
    Routledge 2021
  • Richard Fraser :
    In-Between the Rural and the Urban: Skill and Migration in Ulaanbaatar’s Ger-Districts
    Ethnos 2021 DOI
  • Richard Fraser :
    Cultural heritage, ethnic tourism, and minority-state relations amongst the Orochen in north-east China
    International Journal of Heritage Studies (IJHS) 2020 DOI
  • Richard Fraser :
    Motorcycles on the Steppe: Skill, Social Change, and New Technologies in Postsocialist Northern Mongolia
    Nomadic Peoples 2018 DOI
  • Richard Fraser :
    Forced Relocation amongst the Reindeer-Evenki of Inner Mongolia
    Inner Asia 2010
  • Richard Fraser, Åshild Kolås :
    Tents, Taiga and Tourist-Parks: Evenki Vernacular Architecture and the State
    Berghahn Books 2015

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    Research interests

    I am involved in several projects.

    First, I am leading the JPI-funded, “ArcHeritage: Commodification, Identity, and Revitalisation in the Anthropocene”, with partners at the University of Aberdeen (David Anderson) and University of Groningen (Maarten Loonen). The project explores the commodity chains of three iconic heritage artefacts in the Arctic: reindeer antler, the conical tent, and walrus ivory. We trace the oral histories and new market and social entanglements of these artefacts across several sites in Sápmi, Canada, and Greenland, linking them to historical pastoralist and hunting lifeways and their transformation over time. In recent years, each artefact has taken a new form within the heritage and tourism industries: reindeer antler as Traditional Chinese Medicine, the conical tent as a fixed tourism dwelling, and walrus ivory as souvenir carvings. They thus tell a wider story of Arctic heritage and the relationship between indigenous producers, consumers, and the market.

    For this, I am also leading a Network Project "Heritage making in the Arctic", as part of the Thematic Network on Circumpolar Archives, Folklore and Ethnography (CAFE), funded by UArctic:

    Second, I am a researcher in the project, "Arctic Silk Road: Imagining Global Infrastructures and Community Boundaries in Sápmi and the Russian North", led by Dr. Natalia Magnani. This is a project funded by the Research Council of Norway, which follows the imagination of global infrastructures across time and space. We focus on experiences of planning and anticipating constructions along the Arctic Silk Road from China across the Circumpolar North—in Sápmi, along the northern Russian coast, and other connected sites. Furthermore, we examine comparative cases of large-scale infrastructural networks historical and emerging.

    For this, I am a Visiting Research Associate at the Arctic Studies Centre at Liaocheng University in China (

    Third, I am writing up the results of an AHRC-funded project: “Imaging Minority Culture: Photography, Digital Sharing, and Cultural Survival in Northeast China” (2017-2019). This was a project to research a previously unseen and recently digitised photographic archive of two ethnic minorities in northeast China: the Ethel John Lindgren Collection of Evenki and Orochen communities at the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Cambridge. The project used the photographs as tools during ethnographic fieldwork amongst contemporary Evenki and Orochen communities, identifying locations, landscapes, and material objects to better understand everyday social life during this formative period in pre-communist China. In addition to working with communities and co-curating an exhibition, the project also documented the process of digital repatriation and sharing and explored their uses by community and state actors in the context of surging interest and investment in 'protecting' minority heritage and culture.

    Finally, I am completing a book project: “Skill, Social Change and More-Than-Human Relations in Postsocialist Northern Mongolia”, based on my PhD fieldwork and currently under contract with University of Amsterdam Press.






    I teach courses in Social and Multimodal Anthropology, Indigenous Studies, Anthropological Theory, Human-environment relations and Multi-species ethnography; Phenomenology and Existentialism, Cultural Heritage and Digital Repatriation, and the regional ethnography of Asia, Siberia, and the North.

    Member of research group