Bipasha Bhattacharyya

Doctoral Candidate
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Bipasha Bhattacharyya is a third year Phd Student (Department of History)  as well as Trinity College’s Prince of Wales Student. She was a Prize Research Student in the year 2022 at the Center for History and Economics, Cambridge, and continues to be an actively engaged in its proceedings.She also co-covened the Faculty of History's World History Workshop for the academic year 2022-2023.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Bipasha read history at Presidency University, Kolkata. Her MA thesis (‘Hope is a thing with feathers: Lakshmiswar Sinha and the Search for Indian Esperantos’, Presidency University Press, 2021) attempted to give voice to a pioneering history of Esperanto usage in the early twentieth century Indian subcontinent through the lens of a forgotten Bengali Esperantist, carpenter and playwright. During her time at Presidency University, Bipasha successfully revived the once defunct peer-reviewed student journal ‘Presidency Historical Review’ and served as its executive editor. She initiated a successful campaign to preserve and catalogue a disintegrating archive owned by Presidency University. This effort is today supported by a generous endowment by the British Library Endangered Archives program.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Bipasha's thesis aims to develop her interest in constructed languages, language politics and pedagogy through an attempt to historicize Esperanto and the search for an International auxiliary language. Through ethnographic and historical explorations based on a non-insular understanding of region, the thesis aims to explore how Asian interventions within this search led to the creation of both universal particulars as well as particular universalisms. Alongside such pursuits, she is currently attempting to situate the unpublished 1960s correspondences of American Esperantist Ina Tillman with a Siberian Esperantist whose familial connections date back to Leo Tolstoy ’s own late nineteenth century Esperanto friendly publishing firm, Posrednik.

Language politics, histories of international movements and of ideas, newspapers as historical sources, critical biographies, micro-history

Historical Argument and Practice (HAP) Lecture on ‘Nations’,(Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, 6th March 2024, 4-5pm)

Introduction to Historical Thinking (IHT 1B) Lecture on ‘History and Biography’(Trinity College, University of Cambridge, 9th February 2024, 4-6pm)

O11: The Twentieth Century World(Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, Oct 2023- June 2024)

POL 8: History of Political Thought c. 1700 – c. 1890(Faculty of Political Science, University of Cambridge,Oct 2023- June 2024)

HPS Paper 2: Science, State and Society in South Asia(Faculty of History and Philosophy in Science, University of Cambridge, Oct 2023- June 2024)

“Esperanto and the Gandhi Cult: Hagiographic Legitimation and Moving Universalisms, Center for History and Economics, University of Cambridge, 4th March, 2022

 “Hindujoj and the Sindhwads: Belgian Esperantists on India", Conference on “Transnational Societies and Organisations and New Sociabilities” Campus Condorcet, Paris-Aubervilliers, 5th to 6th July, 2023

“Gandhi and the Uses of Esperanto", Conference on “Mapping multilingual (counter-)expertises: Scientific and political knowledge production across borders in the long twentieth century” University of St. Andrews, 23rd-24th August, 2023

 “Esperanto’s Social Histories:The Sergei Alekseyev-Ina Tillman Correspondence”, Joint Doctoral Workshop on “The Present and Future of Social History” Centre for Historical Research, EHESS, Paris,21st-22nd September 2023.

Chair of ‘Who Do We Think We Are? The Left Today’, A Round-Table Hosted by Trinity College, University of Cambridge, 25th September, 2023, Winstanley Lecture Theatre, 5:30-7:30 pm.

Esperanto, Science, and South Asia: Contact Zones of a Universal Language, British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference, University of Warwick, Coventry, 19-20 April 2024.

(Forthcoming) Enlightenment Goes South: Reflections on Unreason in the Age of Reason, ‘Enlightenment in the World’ Conference, The Einstein Forum & Humboldt Forum, Potsdam and Berlin, August 29th-30th.

(Forthcoming) Mapping Esperanto in India, Esperanto in Asia Conference, University of Hong Kong, 30-31st, August 2024.

(Forthcoming) South Asia and Scientific Languages, European Society for the History of Science 11th Annual Conference, Barcelona, 4th-7th September 2024

(Forthcoming) Panelist,Linguistic Activists: The Politics of Artificial Languages in the Twentieth Century, European Social Science History Conference, Leiden, 26th-29th March 2025.

Key publications

'Two Books on Visva-Bharati', Zeitschrift für Indologie und Südasienstudien, Band 40 (2023): 155-169.

'The Milk Bottle Children', EKL Review, April 2021.