Oral Language & Culture Documentation
Aru Islands, Indonesia (2014-16)
Hundreds of hours of interviews, transcription, and editing produces records for posterity (http://dobes.mpi.nl/) and a book for the community. The Gwatle (Batuley) language is spoken in 7 Aru villages by about 2500 people. A quad-lingual marine biology encyclopaedia is now in use in village schools for teaching science, culture, and language skills.
This work has been recognized by Indonesian officials as a ground-breaking template for future culture vitalization projects. We are now working on a teacher’s guide to support use of the text.
“Sonny and Ross, Thank you for bringing us this book that translates the Batuley language so we can read it and finally teach the village children about their own culture.” Village teachers
Innovative research that delivers useful results.
2019 Gordon, A. Ross, Sonny A. Djonler and Hans Hägerdal. The killing of Posthouder Scheerder and Jifar Folfolun (The War of the Breasts): Malukan and Dutch narratives of an incident in the VOC’s waning days. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 50(3) 324-346. doi:10.1017/S0022463419000420
2019 Gordon, A. Ross and Sonny A. Djonler. Oral traditions in cryptic song lyrics: Continuous cultural revitalization in Batuley. Wacana 20(3) 400-429. (open source) http://wacana.ui.ac.id/index.php/wjhi/issue/view/49
2019 Gordon, A. Ross and Sonny Ananias Djonler. Hope and Energy at the Arafura Sea Shore. Journal of Ritual Studies 33 (2) 1-18. (Use Contact email to request a PDF copy.)
2017 Gordon, A. Ross. Book Review: The Pearl Frontier: Indonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia’s Northern Trading Network. By Julia Martínez and Adrian Vickers. Pacific Affairs. 2015.
2015 Gordon, A. Ross. Book Review: The Lexicon of Proto Oceanic: the culture and environment of ancestral Oceanic society; 4: Animals, edited by Malcolm Ross, Andrew Pawley and Meredith Osmond. Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia 171(2-3) 399 – 402.
2012 Gordon, Ross. Community: Use It or Lose It? Anthropologica 54(2) 253-266