Lecture (private event)
The Zapotec people (Oaxaca, Mexico) have one of the longest records of alphabetic written documents of any indigenous language of the Americas, the earliest text dating to 1565 (Oudijk 2008: 230). Reading and interpreting these documents can be difficult because of the challenges of early Zapotec orthography, vocabulary, grammar, and printing conventions, yet the documents contain rich linguistic, historical, and cultural information. Ticha is a digital text explorer for Colonial Zapotec (http://ticha.haverford.edu; @TichaProject), which allows users to access and explore many interlinked layers of these texts, including images, transcriptions, translations, linguistic analysis, and commentary. The Ticha Project employs an iterative development process that includes in-person workshops with Zapotec community members; feedback from these interactions inform design decisions for the project. Collaboration with Zapotec communities is an integral part of Ticha, which also makes explicit connections to modern Zapotec languages, which are threatened by the hegemonic force of Spanish and discriminatory ideologies. In this talk I explore the motivations, practicalities, and opportunities present in community engaged digital scholarship based on my experience as a co-director of the Ticha Project.