Biography

Mark Turin (PhD, Linguistics, Leiden University, 2006) is an anthropologist, linguist and radio presenter. At the University of British Columbia, Mark serves as Chair of the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program, Acting Co-Director of the University’s new Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and Associate Professor of Anthropology. Before joining UBC, Mark was an Associate Research Scientist with the South Asian Studies Council at Yale University, and the Founding Program Director of the Yale Himalaya Initiative. He continues to hold an appointment as Visiting Associate Professor at the Yale School Forestry & Environmental Studies. Prior to Yale, Mark worked a Research Associate at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. At UBC, Mark is an Associate Member of the Department of Asian Studies an Affiliate Member of the Institute of Asian Research.

Mark directs both the World Oral Literature Project, an urgent global initiative to document and make accessible endangered oral literatures before they disappear without record, and the Digital Himalaya Project which he co-founded in 2000 as a platform to make multi-media resources from the Himalayan region widely available online. For over twenty years, Mark’s regional focus has been the Himalayan region (particularly Nepal, northern India and Bhutan), and more recently, the Pacific Northwest. Mark is very privileged to have had the opportunity to work in collaborative partnership with members of the Thangmi-speaking communities of eastern Nepal and Darjeeling district in India since 1996, and since 2014 with members of the Heiltsuk First Nation through a Híɫzaqv Language Mobilization Partnership in which UBC is a member.

Mark has held research appointments at Cornell and Leipzig universities, as well as the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Sikkim, India. From 2007 to 2008, he served as Chief of Translation and Interpretation at the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).

Mark Turin writes and teaches on ethnolinguistics, language endangerment, visual anthropology, digital archives and fieldwork methodology. He is the author or co-author of four books, three travel guides, the editor of eight volumes, the co-editor of the journal Himalaya and he edits a series on oral literature. Mark is a regular BBC presenter on issues of linguistic diversity and language endangerment. Mark is one of three principal investigators on a major five-year collaborative research project supported by the Arcadia Fund to document and protect Bhutan’s oral traditions, a Co-Investigator on Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada entitled First Nations Languages in the 21st Century: Looking Back, Looking Forward, a Co-Investigator on a NASA-funded grant on Urban growth, land-use change, and growing vulnerability in the Greater Himalaya mountain range and serves as Advisor to the Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project. Mark is honoured to serve on the Advisory Board of SAPIENS.

photo by Dennis Ng, Dartmouth College, February 2013