On February 10th, 2011 the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary. Founded in 1986, the CSOT has focused on creating networks for exchange on the world’s oral traditions, from ancient times to the present day. Please refer to the 25th Anniversary Celebration Itinerary.
On this occasion we are pleased to be able to announce the donation of the Albert Bates and Mary Louise Lord Library, thanks to the generosity of Nathan and Mark Lord and their families. This gift includes more than 3000 volumes from the personal libraries of these two eminent scholars, to be made available either in Special Collections at the university’s Ellis Library or as part of its regularly circulating contents.
Crucial to CSOT’s network-building efforts has been the journal Oral Tradition, now entering its twenty-sixth year, which offers a diversity-oriented forum for exchange across multiple areas and disciplines. In 2006 the journal migrated to the Internet as an open-access and free-of-charge resource, with all current and back issues available in searchable, downloadable format; since that time its readership has increased to more than 20,000 unique visitors per year from 216 countries and territories. Just as importantly, we now receive prospective submissions from a much broader and more varied constituency.
The CSOT has also sponsored several series of books – the A. B. Lord Studies in Oral Tradition from Garland, Voices in Performance and Text at Indiana University Press, and Poetics of Orality and Literacy at the University of Notre Dame Press – as well as electronic editions, companions, projects and the longstanding Lord and Parry Lectureship, also founded in 1986. The 2011 lecture, entitled “Butterflies and Dragon-Eagles: Processing Epics from Southwest China,” will be delivered by Mark Bender from Ohio State University. In addition, the CSOT has hosted six Summer Seminars for College Teachers under grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and maintains international collaborations with China, Indonesia, the Basque Country, Finland, Scotland, South Africa, and other partners.
In March 2011, the CSOT will announce several new projects aimed at furthering its mission of connecting scholars and students interested in the world’s oral traditions.