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Section for Cultural History

room 02
phone: 0-22 55 24 503
head of section: Justyna Kowalska-Leder

Section for Cultural History

The Section for Cultural History explores issues of cultural history in the perspective of anthropology of the word and the history of ideas, attitudes, imagination, customs and cultural practices. Critical reflection is also applied to the concept of Polish culture and to the segmentation of the historical process (including the category of modern culture and its relationship with early modern culture and old Polish culture). The “culturological” orientation of Polish thought in the 20th century is also reconstructed in the Sections’s research (more on the website

The Section for Cultural History cooperates with three French research organizations: École des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (Équipe Anthropologie de l’écriture, Groupe de recherches interdisciplinaires sur l’histoire du littéraire – GRIHL, Centre de recherches sur les arts et le langage – CRAL), l’Université Paris-IV Sorbonne (Centre interdisciplinaire de recherches Centre-Européennes – CIRCE), Institut des textes & manuscrits modernes (Équipe Genèse et autobiographie).

Three research teams currently operate in the Section: the Old Polish Culture Research Team, the 19th Century Culture Research Team, the Holocaust Remembrance Research Team.

Andrzej Mencwel, Professor Emeritus,
Małgorzata Szpakowska, Professor Emeritus,
Marek Prejs, Professor,
Paweł Majewski, Associate Professor
Paweł Rodak, Professor,
Justyna Kowalska-Leder (Head of Section), Assistant Professor,
Joanna Kubicka, Assistant Professor, Ada Arendt, Assistant Professor,
Piotr Kubkowski, Assistant Professor,
Małgorzata Litwinowicz-Droździel, Assistant Professor,
Igor Piotrowski, Assistant Professor,
Weronika Parfianowicz-Vertun, Ph.D.

Graduate students:
Sylwia Chutnik,
Marcin Gołąb (secretary of Section),
Jakub Jakubaszek,
Zofia Mioduszewska,
Kornelia Sobczak,
Marzena Szugiero,
Agnieszka Witkowska-Krych,

Aleksandra Jakóbczyk-Gola, Ph.D.
Hanna Jurkowska, Ph.D.
Alicja Urbanik,
Witold Zakrzewski,
Anna Zdrojewska-Żywiecka,
Hanna Zielińska,

Old Polish Culture Research Team: Marek Prejs (Head), Paweł Majewski, Igor Piotrowski, Aleksandra Jakóbczyk-Gola (secretary), Hanna Jurkowska, Ada Łobożewicz, Natalia Mętrak

The team’s work focuses mostly on the process of concomitance of orality and literacy in the culture of the Old Ages and on the question of cultural memory. The Old Polish Culture Research Team is the co-organiser and member of Warszawskie Czwartki Staropolskie (Warsaw Old-Polish Thursdays) – monthly sessions organized by Old Poland researchers (members of the team have presented their research during these events). The team has conducted two research projects (both completed by the publication of edited volumes): Humanistyczne modele kultury nowożytnej wobec dziedzictwa starożytnego [Humanist Models of Modern Culture and Classical Heritage] as part of the project “Humanizm. Idee, nurty i paradygmaty humanistyczne w kulturze polskiej” [Humanism. Humanist Ideas, Trends and Paradigms in Polish Culture] and Mnemonika i pamięć kulturowa epok dawnych [Mnemonics and Cultural Memory of the Old Ages].

Nineteenth Century Culture Research Team: Małgorzata Litwinowicz-Droździel (team leader), Justyna Jaworska (Section for Film and Visual Culture), Joanna Kubicka, Iwona Kurz (Section for Film and Visual Culture), Igor Piotrowski, Jakub Jakubaszek, Piotr Kubkowski (Section for Anthropology of the Word), Agata Sikora (Section for Anthropology of the Word), Alicja Urbanik

The team is analyzes the experience of modernity in 19th century Polish culture in order to describe the changes in media and communication culture, which contributed to the peculiarity of modernization processes of Polish culture. The aim of the research team is to describe and analyse the basic cultural categories of 19th century and to register changes in cultural practices. Since 2013 the team has been conducting the „Expositions of modernity. National and thematic expositions 1821-1929 and experiencing modernity” research grant, financed by the National Program for the Development of Humanities.

Holocaust Remembrance Research Team:

Justyna Kowalska-Leder, Ph.D. (head), Paweł Dobrosielski, Ph.D.  (secretary, Section for Contemporary Culture), Małgorzata Szpakowska, Professor Emeritus (Section for History of Culture), Jan Borowicz, Ph.D. (Section for Film and Visual Culture), Olga Kaczmarek, Ph.D. (Section for Anthropology of the Word), Zofia Mioduszewska, M.A. (Section for History of Culture), Kornelia Sobczak, M.A. (Section for History of Culture), Agnieszka Witkowska-Krych, M.A. (Section for History of Culture), Karolina Wróbel-Bardzik, M.A. (Section for History of Culture) and Sara Herczyńska, M.A., Agnieszka Pajączkowska, M.A., Karolina Sulej M.A., Joanna Woźnicka, M.A.

The team researches transformations of Holocaust memory – in particular the visual and discursive signs of the Holocaust that can be traced within the Polish culture. An important part of the team’s research efforts is devoted to the study of Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War. The team adopts an inter-medial perspective, which utilizes a diverse body of sources: personal documents, fiction, theatre, film, photography and other means of commemorating the Holocaust. The members of the research team originate from different subdisciplines of culture studies.

Between 2012 and 2018 the team completed a research project titled “Traces of the Holocaust in the Polish Cultural Imaginary”, financed by the National Program for the Development of Humanities. The team’s research results have been published, among others, in the following volumes: “Traces of the Holocaust in the Polish Cultural Imaginary”, ed. Paweł Dobrosielski, Justyna Kowalska-Leder, Iwona Kurz, Małgorzata Szpakowska, Political Critique Publishing House, Warsaw 2017; Agata Chałupnik, “Auschwitz in the writings of Marian Pankowski”, University of Warsaw Publishing House, Warsaw 2017; Paweł Dobrosielski “Disputes over Gross. Polish problems with the memory of the Jews”, Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences Publishing House, Warsaw 2017; Justyna Kowalska-Leder, “Sphere of ambivalence in the Polish and Jewish testimonies”, Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences Publishing House, Warsaw 2019.

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