An urgent global initiative to document and make accessible endangered oral literatures before they disappear without record
For many communities around the world, the transmission of oral literature from one generation to the next lies at the heart of cultural practice. Performances of creative works of verbal art - which include ritual texts, curative chants, epic poems, musical genres, folk tales, creation tales, songs, myths, legends, word games, life histories or historical narratives - are increasingly endangered. 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. > more
- Book launch for Ruth Finnegan's Oral Literature in Africa was held at Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge on 15 Oct 2012.
- Charting Vanishing Voices: A Collaborative Workshop to Map Endangered Oral Cultures was held on 29-30 June.
- On 01 June 2012, Professor Rukmini Bhaya Nair gave a lecture on The Material Culture of Oral Narratives in India.
- February 2013: Publication of the sixth Occasional Paper, Encyclopaedia of Literatures in African Languages by Ursula Baumgardt and Marie Lorin.
- January 2013: Project celebrates the 50th collection hosted online.
- Dec 2012: Mark Turin presents the three part series Our Language in Your Hands on BBC Radio 4.
- Sept 2012: Publication of new edition of Ruth Finnegan's classic, Oral Literature in Africa.
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