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This poster presents a case study of how archived documents provide multi-faceted, dynamic opportunity for teaching and learning in both academia and indigenous communities. Anthropologist Jules Henry compiled extensive language and cultural field notes in the 1930s while living among the Xokleng Laklãnõ (Brazil) and Pilaga (Argentina) communities. Until recently, these documents and photographs archived at Washington University in St. Louis were seldom used. However, by starting a collaborative digital project with Unicamp State University (São Paulo, Brazil) a number of innovative uses have emerged. Examples include: The Unicamp Linguistics Department is working with the Xokleng Laklãnõ to turn the digitized documents into teaching materials for community schools. A Washington University Anthropology faculty member in-turn used this real-life example of language documentation in a course on indigenous communities and human rights. Undergraduate anthropology students are helping digitize additional documents, and in the process are gaining hands on experience with 21st century skills, such as metadata. By expanding the classic archival view of how collections should be used, a wealth of possibilities emerge from what, at first glance, are only archival boxes of paper.



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Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Archival Science | Folklore | Indigenous Studies | Latin American Studies | Linguistic Anthropology


Brazil, Xokleng Laklãnõ, Pilaga, Argentina, collaborative, endangered language


Presented at the 89th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, January 8-11, 2015, Portland, Oregon.



Thinking outside the (archival) Box:  Innovative uses of Jules Henry’s Field Notes