Local Internationalists? The Esperanto movement and Internationalism, c.1880s-1930

English is today’s Globish. Today, English is the language that eases international trade, cross-border and cross-cultural communication. English is part and parcel of the most recent phase of globalisation and internationalism since c.1945. While there are pragmatic, historical, and linguistic reasons for English as the globally dominant language, such dominance is not without problems as a language – along with its cultural implications – imposes hierarchies. The native speaker will always be in a dominant cultural position vis-à-vis the non-native speaker.

Do they still not speak Esperanto?

Around 1900 English was not yet the dominant global language. French was in decline to some extent. German made up ground in the sciences and engineering along industrialisation and science in the later nineteenth century, yet it was deemed as too complex to take over. It was the auxiliary, artificial language Esperanto that promised to fill that void around 1900 as a universal second language.

For more information on our new ITSH-based project “Esperanto and Internationalism, c.1880s-1930”, starting in September 2019, see here.

Call for Applications: PhD Studentship “Esperanto 4.0. Millennials and the global Esperanto movement in historical and anthropological perspective”

PhD Studentship in Social Anthropology & Modern History

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 25 May 2019.

The project “Esperanto 4.0: Millennials and the global Esperanto movement in historical and anthropological perspective” invites applications for one PhD studentship, for applicants to start at the University of St Andrews in September 2019. The student will examine the current resurging interest in the artificial and neutral language Esperanto among millennial Esperanto speakers and activists in an anthropological-historical perspective.

The project seeks to address – among others – the following questions:

  • To what extent are current Esperanto-speakers driven by similar or different agendas and ideals as previous generations of Esperanto-speakers?
  • To what extent are current speakers aware of the historical origins and the legacy of the language and the broader movement?
  • How do millennials interact within the wider Esperanto community in comparison to previous generations (travel, congresses, local and national societies, media and online forums)?
  • To Millennial Esperantists, what are the limits and potentials to revive the movement within the current social, economic, political, and cultural climate?

The main focus of the project is to conduct ethnographic fieldwork, in form of meetings, informal and informal interviews and oral history, regarding Millennial Esperantists. The successful candidate will find a highly stimulating research environment and joint supervision from Social Anthropology and History. The studentship allows for the development of a flexible and independent interdisciplinary project around today’s Esperanto community in a historical perspective. While the project is a free-standing PhD project it will be embedded into a wider project on “Esperanto & Internationalism, c. 1880s-1930” (Dr Bernhard Struck, School of History).

We are looking for a PhD candidate trained in Social Anthropology or History. This could include someone with a joint degree or someone with a Masters and Undergraduate degrees in the disciplines. Applicants should have completed a taught-postgraduate degree (or equivalent) with a good Masters degree by September 2019. It is expected that the student will know or be willing to learn Esperanto. The studentship is funded through the St Leonard’s College Interdisciplinary Doctoral Scholarships Scheme at the University of St Andrews. The scholarships comprise a full-fee waiver and stipend for the normal full-fee paying period. The stipend will be paid at the current Research Council rate (£14,777 in 2018-19). The scholarship may be awarded to a UK/EU or international applicant.

For a full outline of the project rationale, see PDF version Interdisciplinary PhD – Esperanto Project. The project is part of a wider project on “Esperanto and Internationalism, c.1880s-1930” with another PhD starting in September 2019 on Poland in local and transnational perspectives.

Applicants should apply for a PhD place via the University of St Andrews standard application process: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/research/. In addition, they should submit a research outline of a maximum of 500 words directly to Professor Mark Harris (mh25@st-andrews.ac.uk) and Dr Bernhard Struck (bs50@st-andrews.ac.uk).