About this community

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 these creative works - 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. 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.

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Recent Submissions

  • Lokaratna, Volume 4 

    Mishra, Mahendra Kumar (Folklore Foundation, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, 2011)
    As the the official journal of the Folklore Foundation, Lokaratna is a bilingual, peer reviewed academic journal published in Oriya and English. Located in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, the Folklore Foundation promotes ...
  • Lokaratna, Volume 5 and 6 

    Mishra, Mahendra Kumar (Folklore Foundation, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, 2013)
    As the the official journal of the Folklore Foundation, Lokaratna is a bilingual, peer reviewed academic journal published in Oriya and English. Located in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, the Folklore Foundation promotes ...
  • Storytelling in Northern Zambia, 1988 - 89 

    Cancel, Robert (World Oral Literature Project, 1988)
    Storytelling performances collected in 1988-89 from five Bemba-speaking ethnic groups: Bemba, Bisa, Bwile, Lunda and Tabwa. Soundtrack is in original language with English subtitles. Video material is the basis of a ...
  • Phur ba Ritual 5a 

    Mayer, Robert (World Oral Literature Project, 2010-02)
    Dr Cathy Cantwell and Dr Rob Mayer, of Oxford University, undertook an AHRC-funded research project to study the Bon Phur pa tradition descending from the 12th century figure of Khu tsha zla ‘od. The project ran from May ...

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