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Eric Thrift

Eric Thrift Title: Faculty Member
Phone: 204-786-9716
Office: 4CM16
Building: Centennial Hall
Email: e.thrift@uwinnipeg.ca


Eric Thrift is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose interests include environmental governance, social-ecological resilience, and the role of cultural diversity in development. Eric initially became involved in culture and development policy research while serving as a VSO volunteer at the Mongolian University of Arts and Culture. Inspired by his colleagues’ attempts to renegotiate cultural identities and Indigenous development trajectories in the post-socialist period, Eric contributed to a wide range of local and internationally-led projects in Mongolia, including the preparation of nomination dossiers and site management plans for Mongolia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites and intangible heritage properties.

Eric's ongoing research addresses mobile pastoralists’ ability to accommodate social and ecological change and uncertainty. By investigating the ways that small-scale adaptive practices are affected by governance policies or development interventions, this research engages practitioners and policymakers in promoting social-ecological resilience, biocultural diversity, and well-being as governable development goals.

Eric also works to promote the applications of collaborative ethnographic research in development practice and public discourse. Since 2011, Eric and his collaborators have produced over 100 hours of audiovisual records documenting resilient local knowledge and practices among mobile pastoralists in Inner Asia, partly in an effort to address knowledge gaps in current policy research. As curator of the Mongolian Digital Ethnography Archive, affiliated with the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge, Eric has been contributing to the development of software tools, guidelines, and standards for collecting and appropriately sharing open ethnographic research.

Currently, Eric is working with Mongolian goat herders and other stakeholders to investigate how diverse understandings of "sustainability" come into conflict in the global commodity chain for cashmere.


ANTH-1002 (3) Introductory Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics
ANTH-3100 (3) History of Anthropology
ANTH-3125 (3) Ethnographic Research Methods
ANTH-3133 (3) Public Anthropology
ANTH-3160 (3) Cultural Perspectives on Global Processes
ANTH-4100 (3) History of Anthropology


2015 Ichinkhorloo, Byambabaatar and Eric Thrift. “Who eats quality meat? Consumers and the national meat reserves program in Mongolia”. Health Environment 1(1), 1–15.

2014 Thrift, Eric. “‘Pure Milk’: Dairy production and the discourse of ethnic purity in Mongolia”. Asian Ethnicity 15(4), Special Issue, “Mongolia: Civilization, Nationality, and Ethnicity”, 492–513.

2015 Thrift, Eric and Byambabaatar Ichinkhorloo.“Management of dzud risk in Mongolia: Mutual aid and institutional interventions”. In Building Resilience of Mongolian Rangelands , ME Fernandez-Gimenez, SR Fassnacht, and D Wilson, eds., Colorado State University / Mongolian Rangelands and Resilience Project, 136–141.

2012 Thrift, Eric D. and Khangaisaikhan Khuren-Alag. “Adaptive capacity and extensive livestock production in the Mongolian agricultural sector”. In Priroda i sel’skokhozyaistvennaya deyatel’nost’ cheloveka [Nature and Human Agricultural Activity] , vol. II, Irkutsk: Irkutsk State Agricultural Academy, 121–129.