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Lecture by Brigid O' Keeffe

Monday, April 12, 2021 30 Nisan 5781

7:30 PM - 8:30 PMZoom

Speaker: Brigid O’Keeffe is an Associate Professor of History at Brooklyn College. She is the author of Esperanto and Languages of Internationalism in Revolutionary Russia (Bloomsbury, June 2021) and New Soviet Gypsies: Nationality, Performance, and Selfhood in the Early Soviet Union (University of Toronto Press, 2013)


Esperanto: L.L. Zamenhof's Hopeful Language for Russia's Jews & the World


In 1887, L. L. Zamenhof launched Esperanto from the polyglot western borderlands of a tsarist empire in crisis. This presentation will explore Esperanto’s origins in the tsarist empire’s Pale of Settlement. Zamenhof came of age in an era of both global transformation and the pogroms that devastated Jewish communities in the Pale. As he wrestled with the Jewish Question, Zamenhof designed Esperanto as a universal language that would uplift Russia’s Jews and ultimately unite the whole world. Zamenhof intended for Esperanto to serve humanity as more than a practical utility to facilitate international communication. Esperanto was the foundation for what Zamenhof envisioned as a future global moral community of new, emancipated people – comfortable with their differences and equipped with an international auxiliary language designed explicitly to transcend those differences rather than efface them.

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Mon, March 8 2021 24 Adar 5781