David Blundell

David Blundell Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology
Editor of the ECAI Pacific Language Mapping Project
Editor of Austronesian Taiwan: Linguistics, History, Ethnology and Prehistory
topics: Indigenous Culture Integrity: Vignettes in Taiwan and Sri Lanka
ECAI Language Mapping Project
paper
background David Blundell has a background in Southern Asia studies including research in Sri Lanka, Taiwan, India, and Thailand. Over the past ten years, Blundell expanded his interests across the Indo-Pacific region in terms of language mapping. His research has been motivated from the early records depicting the Southern Asian seafaring areas from Sanskrit, Pali, Sinhala, and Chinese. Prof Blundell received his doctorate from the University of California and has continued research in cross-cultural aesthetics, belief systems, visual anthropology, and geographic information systems (GIS) for mapping languages and cultures. Since 2001 Blundell has served as visiting professor and scholar at Academia Sinica, University of Calcutta, University of Peradeniya, and University of California. He is currently working on a new book entitled Ethnography of Communication: Acquisition of Language and Knowledge. Other books include Masks: Anthropology on the Sinhalese Belief System (Peter Lang, 1994) and his edited volume Austronesian Taiwan: Linguistics, History, Ethnology, Prehistory (Phoebe Hearst Museum, UC Berkeley, 2000).
abstract This presentation is about reflections on local integrity among the indigenous of Taiwan and the Vanniyaletto (Vedda) of Sri Lanka in developing their "heritage of place." It's a comparison of values among governments and agencies of culture on indigenous groups and the mainstay of their existence regardless of their social organization. Indigenous people refer to themselves as a "people" commonly known by terms given by “outsiders” and, yet having their own language names. In Taiwan recently indigenous visitor and cultural centers, and museums are being developed for local integrity and inviting visitors to partake in the cultures. Large dance areas, indigenous housing in open-air museums, eco-cultural tourism, and craft demonstration have become a trend in Taiwan for local groups. In Sri Lanka its heritage consciousness was stimulated from 19th century interest in ancient Buddhist and hydraulic civilizations, especially by the colonial Archaeological Survey and studies producing ethnic monographs. Yet with the vast array of ancient monuments and ethnographies on Sri Lanka, its "indigenous people" the Vanniyaletto (Vedda) are relegated to the margins.