The Floating University

Global education and international politics in the 1920s

In September 1926, 500 American university students left New York aboard the Floating University, a journey around the world that involved stops at forty-seven ports and visits to foreign dignitaries including the King of Siam, the Sultan of Jodhpur, Mussolini and the Pope. Organised by New York University professor, James Lough, and promising a ‘world education’ to its students, the venture was influenced by new approaches to psychology, the American internationalism of the period, as well as economic and social imperatives. But if its organisers thought the world would be a site for fashioning American students, the voyage itself turned out to be an anxious undertaking for its organisers, as well as a stage for the nationalist and anti-imperial politics of societies wanting their own place in international politics. You can follow my progress with this project on this thread.