From oral tradition to written language: The Patsho Khiamniungan and Mongsen Ao dictionary projects

Author: Alexander R. Coupe (Nangyang Technological University)
T. Temsunungsang (EFL University, Shillong)
Speaker: Alexander R. Coupe, T. Temsunungsang
Topic: Linguistic Anthropology
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


This paper extends the discourse of scholarship and scholarly writing by (1) considering writing as a performance, and (2) highlighting the act of citing as a ritual in the performance of scholarly writing. Taking cue from Jacques Derrida’s philosophical remark that “…writing is a ritual” in “On the Name” (1995), and Julian Wolfreys’ meditations in “Citation’s Haunt: Specters of Derrida” (2004).

This paper foregrounds that (1) scholarly writing is a performance constitutive of various rituals; (2) the scholar is a performer performing rituals of writing; and, (3) citing is a linguistic, cultural, ideological, and philosophical ritual (Samarita & Goh, 2017; Wolfreys, 2004; Derrida, 1995) integral to the performance of scholarly writing.

Using the citation data in the study “Citation analysis of Isagani R. Cruz’s Alfredo E. Litiatco lectures” (1984-1989)” of Samarita and Goh (2017), the paper shows that (1) the citations of the Filipino scholar, Isagani R. Cruz, in his lectures on Philippine culture and literature in the 1980s are specters capable of haunting; (2) the scholar-writer symbolically transforms into a shaman capable of summoning other specters (even his own specter) in the performative space of writing through citing; and, (3) scholarship and scholarly writing are shamanic performances within the disciplinary relations of hauntology and performance studies.