Guilherme Fians

Guilherme Fians
University of St Andrews · School of History

Doctor of Philosophy

About

27
Publications
1,698
Reads
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15
Citations
Citations since 2016
20 Research Items
13 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202468101214
201620172018201920202021202202468101214
Introduction
I am a social anthropologist working as Leverhulme Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews (Scotland) and as Co-Director of the Centre for Research and Documentation on World Language Problems (Netherlands/USA). I research language politics, use of digital media and political activism, with a focus on present-day France. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, and Digital Humanities methods, I analyse how Esperanto speakers connect anarchism, open-source software and free speech.
Education
September 2015 - September 2019
The University of Manchester
Field of study
  • Social Anthropology
February 2013 - February 2015
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Field of study
  • Social Anthropology
February 2009 - February 2013
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Field of study
  • Social Sciences (Sociology, Anthropology, Politics)

Publications

Publications (27)
Article
Full-text available
‘Prefigurative politics’ refers to how activists embody and enact, within their activism, the socialities and practices they foster for broader society. Inspired by anarchist principles, the core practices characterising prefiguration include participative democracy, horizontality, inclusiveness, and direct action. Gaining visibility with the socia...
Book
Full-text available
This book explores how Esperanto – often regarded as a future-oriented utopian project that ended up confined to the past – persists in the present. Constructed in the late nineteenth century to promote global linguistic understanding, this language was historically linked to anarchism, communism and pacifism. Yet, what political relevance does Esp...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropologists largely draw on the theoretical assumption that the interactional practices underlying hospitality are akin to those of gifting. Yet, by focussing on the giving and receiving of hospitality, such scholarship has failed to address these exchanges’ third element: reciprocating. Faced with this, this article reflects on travelling amon...
Chapter
Full-text available
During a debate in an Esperanto association in Paris, Esperantists were discussing technology, surveillance, and freedom, when the question of how to say “drone” in Esperanto emerged. At this point, the previous political debate became a linguistic discussion on possible Esperanto equivalents (drono, droneo, or spavo) and vocabulary choice. Based o...
Chapter
Following the creation of a ground-breaking online language course in 2015, this chapter explores how digital media and the emergence of the first natively digital generations of Esperanto speakers have triggered changes in this speech community. The use of online communication technologies has brought about fast-paced exchanges, a reconsideration...
Chapter
Beginning with an ethnography of the Universal Esperanto Association's bookshop, in Rotterdam, this chapter investigates how the status of the Esperanto community as an international community relies on the continuous circulation of people and things to overcome the global dispersion of Esperanto speakers. Following the packing and shipping of book...
Chapter
Focusing on how members of a left-leaning Esperanto association in Paris engage with the seeming decline of Esperanto as a tool for political activism, this chapter explores how Esperantists grapple to advance the language as a timely cause when traditional working-class, left-wing activism loses ground in France. Analysing Esperantists’ nostalgia...
Chapter
This chapter revisits the key questions asked throughout the book, analysing how Esperanto’s continuous existence and regular use emerge from the fact that the language creates ephemeral settings where Esperantists feel comfortable to express themselves expecting their voices not to go unnoticed. Setting their use of Esperanto apart from their dail...
Chapter
This chapter unpacks what Esperanto means to its speakers and how they render the language useful through everyday practices of horizontal knowledge exchange, fairer international communication and alternative travelling. This discussion invites the reader to think about what anthropology gains and what it loses in emphasising discussions on prefig...
Chapter
Based on an ethnographic account of the 2017 Universal Congress of Esperanto, in Seoul, this chapter explores how certain understandings of nationality emerged historically among Esperanto speakers, foregrounding national diversity as the proxy of difference to be valued and celebrated by particular forms of cosmopolitan openness. I argue that, as...
Book
This book transcends the commonplace perception of Esperanto as a ‘language of the past’, drawing on an ethnography carried out primarily in France to investigate how Esperanto’s internationalism is manifested in the present. Constructed in the late nineteenth century as an attempt to promote global linguistic understanding, Esperanto has been asso...
Chapter
Is Esperanto, the ‘universal language of peace’, still spoken? Where, how and why do people learn and speak it? Esperanto Revolutionaries and Geeks begins to address these questions by reassessing the idea that ‘nobody speaks Esperanto anymore’. Esperanto was originally designed by a single man in the late nineteenth century who envisaged it to be...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on what speakers do with Esperanto while they speak Esperanto. In 2016, while Esperantists in Paris discussed technology, surveillance and freedom, a question emerged, turning the political debate into a linguistic discussion: how to say drone in Esperanto? Relatedly, in a constructed language, how can speakers refer to things...
Chapter
This chapter immerses the reader in an Esperanto association in Paris, one of the key locations for this research, aiming to map out some aspects of the mise en discours of Esperanto. Understanding how Esperanto has been historically conveyed as timely requires revisiting the battle of artificial languages, through which the history of constructed...
Article
Full-text available
Homoj ofte neglektas la gravecon de la rutino, konsiderante ĉiutagaĵojn enuaj. Tamen, dum oni babilas, ridas, suferas kaj laboras en sia ordinara vivo, oni lernas kaj ankaŭ elformas neordinarajn ideojn. Tiamaniere, antaŭ pli ol 130 jaroj, iu homo pensis pri kiel senkonfl ikte rilati kun siaj najbaroj. Rezulte de tiu ŝajne ordinara konsidero, kreiĝi...
Article
Full-text available
Esperanto is neither an official nor a commonly spoken language anywhere in the world and, due to the limited number of people who speak this language from birth and who teach it to the next generation, the persistence of this speech community cannot rely on intergenerational language transmission. Based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in Franc...
Article
Full-text available
Since the Esperanto speech community cannot rely on intergenerational transmission to guarantee its long-term continuity, the Esperanto movement has emerged as an attempted solution to stabilise the community by promoting the language and encouraging continuous engagement with it. In this sense, one of the most interesting wings of the current neut...
Chapter
Full-text available
One of the core uses of Esperanto as a bridge language relates to the establishment of contacts between people from different origins and backgrounds – between national others – so as one can learn and exchange thanks to the other’s differences and to the diversity that composes the Esperanto community. If the philosophical and political programmes...
Book
Full-text available
Se alguém lhe perguntasse “O que é o esperanto?”, o que você responderia? Seria uma ideia? Um projeto de língua planejada para facilitar a comunicação internacional? Sim, mas há mais de cem anos que o esperanto pode ser definido dessa maneira. Centenas de intelectuais e idealistas já sonharam com esse conceito. No entanto, só o esperanto foi bem-su...
Article
Full-text available
Este trabalho se baseia na etnografia de um encontro entre criançasem uma escola no Rio de Janeiro e dois ex-moradores da Aldeia Maracanã. Umdos pontos centrais da proposta pedagógica dessa escola em questão é a “valorização da cultura brasileira”, levando em consideração suas diversas manifestações e invocando principalmente elementos de culturas...
Article
Full-text available
Neste artigo, busco discutir as narrativas orais elaboradas por crianças principalmente a partir de um diálogo com as narrativas escritas por adultos, mas voltadas para crianças – como as de livros infantis e histórias de contos de fadas. Para isso, desenvolvo algumas das narrativas, brincadeiras e questionamentos com os quais entrei em contato por...
Book
Full-text available
Deleuze dizia que se os prisioneiros são tratados como crianças, estas são tratadas como prisioneiros e sofrem uma infantilização que não é a delas. Durante muito tempo, a antropologia contribuiu para esse teatro de sombras no qual a sociedade desempenha o papel de prisão disciplinadora e as crianças o de seres associais ou antissociais esperando...
Article
Full-text available
A entrevistada dessa edição da Revista Habitus é a antropóloga Christina Toren. Christina é australiana, graduada em Psicologia pelo University College London e doutora em Antropologia Social pela London School of Economics. Atualmente, é professora na University of St. Andrews, Escócia. Seu interesse pela variedade e complexidade dos seres humanos...
Article
Full-text available
The interviewed person in this issue is the anthropologist Christina Toren. Christina is Australian by birth, she graduated in Psychology from University College London and gained her Ph.D in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Currently, she holds a professorial chair at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Her interest in h...
Article
Full-text available
O presente trabalho tem por intenção identificar e discutir os elementos nacionalistas e universalistas presentes no discurso e na prática do Esperanto. Para iss o, tomamos como ponto de partida uma descrição do Esperanto, em seus principais aspectos: enquanto idioma internacional, filosofia e cultura. A partir daí, mostrarmos que, em muitos casos,...
Article
Full-text available
O ano de 2011 foi um tempo de muitas mudanças e novas reflexões na Revista Habitus. Nesse ano, passamos por uma intensa renovação do Comitê Editorial-composto por estudantes de graduação da UFRJ-e alteramos ainda nosso Conselho Editorial-formado por professores de diversas universidades do Brasil e do mundo. É com grande satisfação que percebemos q...
Article
Full-text available
Nossa entrevistada nessa edição é Maria Celi Ramos da Cruz Scalon. Graduada em Comunicação Social pela Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), é Mestre e Doutora em Sociologia pelo Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ). Cursou um aperfeiçoamento na Universidade de Warwick, além de duas especializações na Universidade de Mic...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
The early twentieth and twenty-first centuries represented critical moments in globalisation’s history. During both periods, novel communication technologies emerged, from the popularisation of postal services and international scientific congresses to digital media. Simultaneously the constructed language Esperanto flourished both around 1900 and 2000. Through archival research and digital ethnography, this historical-anthropological project will ask: what role has Esperanto played in this scenario of international knowledge circulation and what has changed over the century? This comparative approach bringing together anthropology and history will propose a fresh look at the mechanisms and media that have helped shape political, scientific and lay knowledge in the past and present. Communication carried out in Esperanto will be the project’s entry point, but it will also involve looking at how scientific ideas were produced and disseminated in the early twentieth century and how ideas about colonialism and post-colonialism circulated between Europe, India and Brazil since the 1960s - initially by post, nowadays mostly via e-mail and other digital media.
Project
This project aimed to identify and analyse the nationalist, internationalist and universalist discourses that backed/back the international auxiliary languages constructed in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Approaching language planning from a (sometimes conflicting) dialogue between universalist, internationalist and nationalist ideals, the project explored how planned languages were conveyed as tools both against linguistic imperialism (by opposing the communicative aspects of colonialism) and in support of regional and minority languages (such as Occitan, Breton and Catalan). Yet, planned languages are also heavily marked by the late nineteenth century's imperialist mindset in Europe, both politically and linguistically. By looking at the tensions between imperialism and post-colonialism, I argue that international communication is also a political arena in which the choice to use particular languages has more to say than the messages that these languages may convey.
Project
Desde os tempos da antropologia vitoriana, alguns antropólogos relacionam os povos ditos selvagens e primitivos à infância da humanidade, fazendo associações entre a mentalidade primitiva e a mentalidade infantil, afirmando que ambas confundem o que hoje chamaríamos de sujeitos e objetos, humanos e não-humanos. Se essas oposições entre humanos e não-humanos já vem sendo tratadas em outras pesquisas, elas também aparecem como uma questão a ser abordada ao se estudar crianças. Por meio de uma etnografia em uma escola de Educação Infantil e Ensino Fundamental no Rio de Janeiro, este projeto busca entender as maneiras como as crianças produzem significados para as formas de vida que lhes são apresentadas e como elas pensam as diferenciações e transformações de sujeitos e objetos e seres vivos e não-vivos. No caso de crianças, os elementos e seres parecem permitir mais variações e mudanças, constituindo um mundo altamente transformacional; mundos possíveis, nos quais diversas possibilidades são repensadas, com os próprios humanos podendo assumir uma infinidade de papéis e estabelecer relações muito amplas entre si e com os elementos do ambiente no qual eles se encontram.