Founded in 1986 with the approval of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition stands as a national and international focus for interdisciplinary research and scholarship on the world’s oral traditions. Our long-term mission is to facilitate communication across disciplinary boundaries by creating linkages among specialists in different fields. Through our various activities we try to foster conversations and exchanges about oral tradition that would not otherwise take place.
During its more than three decades of existence the CSOT has established a series of paper and web publications aimed at serving a broad academic constituency. These include the journal Oral Tradition (1986-) and three series of books: the Albert Bates Lord Studies in Oral Tradition (1987-96; 17 volumes); Voices in Performance and Text (1995-97; 3 volumes); and, Poetics of Orality and Literacy (2 volumes to date; 2004-).
Since 1987 the CSOT has sponsored the Lord and Parry Lecture on Oral Tradition, an annual event honoring two of the most important scholars in this interdisciplinary area.