Mark Turin, Director Yale Himalaya Initiative

Dartmouth Events

Mark Turin, Director Yale Himalaya Initiative

Mark Turin, Director Yale Himalaya Initiative - Collect: Protect: Connect - Documenting Vanishing Voices and Hidden Himalayan Archives

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Kemeny 08
Intended Audience(s): Public
Dr. Mark Turin is a linguist and cultural anthropologist. In addition to his scholarsip on Tibeto-Burman and Himalayan languages and cultures, Dr. Turin is the director of the Yale Himalaya Initiative ( as well as Digital Himalaya (, and the World Oral Literature Project (, both of which are housed jointly at Yale University and Cambridge University, UK.

Up to half of the world's 6,500 languages spoken today may be extinct by the end of this century. If undocumented, these tongues--each representing a unique insight into human cognition and its most powerful defining feature, language--risk disappearing without trace.

Facilitated by an infusion of funding from philanthropic sources, descriptive linguists have been galvanized to document many of the world's languages before they vanish without record. As a result, scholars are entering into increasingly collaborative partnerships with speech communities, producing documents that have both local relevance and academic integrity.

The growth in access to digital recording technology has also ensured that contemporary research initiatives on endangered languages are not only born digital, but often birthed straight into an archive. Yet heritage collections of recordings made by previous generations of fieldworkers are ever more endangered, becoming orphaned when their collectors die or fragmented into their component parts based on the medium of documentation when they are finally archived.

Drawing on two decades of research in Nepal, and reflecting on time spent directing digital humanities research initiatives, I discuss how linguists and anthropologists are collecting, protecting and connecting their data, and how technology in increasingly influencing their relationship to their research subjects.

More about the Speaker

For more information, contact:
Therese Perin-Deville

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.