[lg policy] World Oral Literature Project

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 16 15:31:08 UTC 2009

Forwarded  From: Mark Turin <markturin at gmail.com>

We are pleased to announce the launch of the World Oral Literature
Project and website:


The World Oral Literature Project is an urgent global initiative to
document and make accessible endangered oral literatures before they
disappear without record. The Project has been established to support
local communities and committed fieldworkers engaged in the collection
and preservation of oral literature by providing funding for original
research, alongside training in fieldwork and digital archiving methods.
Established at the University of Cambridge in 2009, the project aspires
to become a permanent centre for the appreciation and preservation of
oral literature and to collaborate with local communities to document
their own oral narratives.

For many communities around the world, the transmission of oral
literature from one generation to the next lies at the heart of cultural
practice. These creative works are increasingly endangered as
globalisation and rapid socio-economic change exert complex pressures on
smaller communities, often eroding expressive diversity and transforming
culture through assimilation to more dominant ways of life. As vehicles
for the transmission of unique cultural knowledge, local languages
encode oral traditions that become threatened when elders die and
livelihoods are disrupted. Of the world's over 6,000 living languages,
around half will cease to be used as spoken vernaculars by the end of
this century.

The first phase of the World Oral Literature Project provides small
grants to fund the collecting of oral literature, with a particular
focus on the peoples of Asia and the Pacific, and on areas of cultural
disturbance. In addition, the project will host training workshops for
grant recipients. The World Oral Literature Project will also publish a
library of oral texts and occasional papers, and make the collections
accessible through new media platforms.

Please visit our website for more information about our supplemental
grants programme, activities and planned publications. We are very
interested in collaborating with other institutions and individuals who
are working on related projects and initiatives. If you are interested
in exploring how your ongoing work might overlap with our new
initiative, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Good wishes


Dr Mark Turin
World Oral Literature Project
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
United Kingdom

e: <mt10003 at cam.ac.uk>
url: <http://www.oralliterature.org>

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