The Newsletter 56 Spring 2011

A Yao Script Project. "Culture", Texts, and Literacy in Contemporary Vietnam

Bradley Camp Davis

—We know that the state (nhà nước) has an interest in this, but this is our class. We did this on our own.
Đă.ng Văn Cao, Educator, Lào Cai Province

In 2006, the Ford Foundation, through their former Hanoi Office, began funding a project that combined the establishment of an educational network with an effort to account for texts conserved by members of the Yao (Dao) ethnic group in Vietnam.1 An act of cross-institutional co-operation took place that, over the next two years, resulted in a project that combined textual collection with education in the northern Vietnamese province of Lào Cai. A Yao script project was managed by Trần Hữu Sơn of the Office of Culture, Sport, and Tourism, Philippe Le Failler of the École Française d’Extrême-Orient in Hanoi, and myself in an attempt to forge a new context for a traditional form of literacy.

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