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Charting Vanishing Voices: A Collaborative Workshop to Map Endangered Oral Cultures
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6/29/2012 to 6/30/2012
When: 6/29/2012
Where: University of Cambridge
United Kingdom

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Convener: Dr Mark Turin (World Oral Literature Project/Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge)

A two-day collaborative workshop bringing together university-based researchers, heritage specialists and community organisations to draft and design a web catalogue and online map of existing resources on endangered oral cultures.

There is a growing sense of public and scholarly concern about the future of orally transmitted knowledge in the face of rapid socio-economic change. Linguists have responded decisively to the threatened disappearance of many endangered speech forms by embarking on urgent documentation projects, training a new generation of field linguists, and partnering with members of speech communities engaged in the preservation and revitalisation of their threatened tongues. The anthropological community has now begun to craft its own response to these challenges.

In 2010, with support from the British Academy, researchers at the World Oral Literature Project collated three existing datasets on language endangerment levels with reference to collections and recordings of oral literature in archives around the world. This fully searchable database is now freely available online.

Building on the public interest shown in this initial scoping exercise, our Charting Vanishing Voices workshop is conceived as a global mapping initiative to visualise and represent levels of cultural and linguistic endangerment. Using a live Wiki and other collaborative online tools, workshop participants will work together to produce a draft index of oral cultures that both reflects the level of documentation and assesses threats to the vitality of such verbal arts. After short position papers at the outset, participants will be encouraged to overcome the theoretical and methodological tensions of this collaborative exercise by embracing the disciplinary knowledge of their colleagues, and working collectively to produce a dynamic and timely online resource.

Please contact for more information or to express your interest in participating.

Click here to visit the workshop webpage.

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