Lecture Series "Debating the Anglosphere: History, Hegemony, Identity"

organized by Prof. Dr. Ana Sobral & Dr. des. Martin Mühlheim (Contact: m.muehlheim@es.uzh.ch)

Place: Room KOL-F-117, UZH Main Building*

Time: Wednesdays, 6.15–8.00 p.m.

Course Description and Program

The controversial term Anglosphere encompasses a set of English-speaking nations with supposedly shared cultural roots: the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and – perhaps more precariously – Ireland. These ‘core Anglo nations’ maintain close political and military cooperation and, according to some, have dominated international politics for the past 200 years, if not longer.

In this interdisciplinary lecture series, political scientists, historians, linguists, educationalists, literary scholars, and musicologists will present case studies from their fields of research that engage with the English-speaking world and which – directly or indirectly – assess the potential as well as the pitfalls of the Anglosphere as an interpretive category. Overall, the lecture series seeks to interrogate not only the concept’s temporal and spatial coordinates, but also the arguably “racialized identity” (Srdjan Vučetić) and, more broadly, the ideological assumptions that underpin it. In doing so, we hope to convey a better sense of the cultural and historical complexity of the Anglophone world: its unifying features, key tensions, and major divisions; its global reach as well as its local characteristics; and the extent to which – depending on one’s disciplinary perspective – the concept of the Anglosphere needs to be revised, or even disbanded.

The organizers gratefully acknowledge the support by the UZH English Department, the British Council Switzerland, and the Dr. Wilhelm Jerg-Legat.

Program Anglosphere (PDF, 601 KB)



Session Title


1 Sept 20

Introduction: Debating the Anglosphere

Slides Session 01 (PDF, 1434 KB)

Podcast Session 01

Ana Sobral

& Martin Mühlheim
2 Sept 27

The Anglosphere beyond Security

Slides Session 02 (PDF, 3771 KB)

Srdjan Vučetić

(University of Ottawa)
3 Oct 4

Other Spheres in History: The Sinosphere

Slides Session 03 (PDF, 11212 KB)

Martin Dusinberre

(University of Zurich)
4 Oct 11

The (Post-)Colonial Careers of English in India (c. 1800–2000)

Slides Session 04 (PDF, 3210 KB)

Podcast Session 04

Harald Fischer-Tiné

(ETH Zurich)
5 Oct 18 Language Policy in Switzerland’s Educational System: A Case of Anglo Encroachment?

Daniel Stotz

(Zurich University of Teacher Education, PHZH)
6 Oct 25 The Evolution of World Englishes: From Unity to Diversity

Daniel Schreier

& Marianne Hundt

(University of Zurich)
7 Nov 1 “Seid umschlungen, Millionen!”:
Musikalische Leitkulturen und das Problem des ‘Englischen’

Laurenz Lütteken

(University of Zurich)
8 Nov 8 Spreading the Hip-Hop Nation: Americanization of the World?

Ana Sobral

(University of Zurich)
9 Nov 15 The Education/Formation of O_t_h_e_r_s through Art: Art, Education and Empire

Carmen Mörsch

(Zurich University of the Arts, ZHDK)
10 Nov 22 “Woven with Tram Lines”: Zurich in Anglophone Literatures

Martin Mühlheim

(University of Zurich)
11 Nov 29 Ireland and Globalisation: Closer to Boston than Berlin?

Ambassador Breifne O’Reilly

(Irish Ambassador to Switzerland)

& Shane Walshe

(University of Zurich)
12 Dec 6 The ‘Jihadosphere’ versus the Anglosphere: Convergence and Clashes of Intellect and Brutality

Prem Mahadevan

(ETH Zurich)
13 Dec 13 Conclusion: Reconsidering the Anglosphere

Ana Sobral

& Martin Mühlheim

(University of Zurich)
14 Dec 20 Final Exam (only for enrolled students)

Ana Sobral

& Martin Mühlheim

(University of Zurich)