The Importance of Animal Studies for Culture Studies in Poland
Animal studies, especially in English-speaking countries, is currently shaping a new field of science which has an important influence on art and literary theory and criticism. In Polish research a theoretical foundation for animal studies in culture, for analysis and interpretation of art and literature where animals appear, is needed.
The aim of this innovatory project is to introduce the interdisciplinary perspective of animal studies to culture studies in Poland: presenting animals as acting agents despite the fact that in Poland interest in human issues is more predominant. In Anglo-American and German-speaking countries, attentiveness to animals has revealed new changes in the culture and ethics of human interaction with animals. Practitioners and scholars have begun to reflect on the closeness and distance between species so highly visible in areas paradigmatic for hierarchical relations of people and animals (at a zoo, in a circus, laboratory, or slaughterhouse).
Events after the Holocaust: Comparative studies in traumatic realism – literature, visual arts, theory (Wydarzenia po Zagładzie. Studia porównawcze nad realizmem traumatycznym - literatura, sztuki, teoria)
NCN grant (UMO-2011/03/N/HS2/02801)
for years 2012-2014
The aim of the project entitled Events after the Holocaust: Comparative studies in traumatic realism – literature, visual arts, theory was an critical analysis on the basis of several examples of the processes of transformation of artistic, theoretical as well as critical discourses in relation to the representation of historical events in the second half of the 20th and in the 21st centuries. The researcher has been mostly interested in recreating the moment when the paradigm of the representation of the historical event as trauma is being formed and when the Holocaust becomes the paradigmatic Modernist event. Owing to her in-depth analysis and the choice of case studies she has managed to transgress the paradigm of the Holocaust studies and to offer a reflection on its changes and consequences. She provides an intriguing constellation of interpretations and ideas which prove appropriate for the issues under discussion. Her claim is the necessity for working out alternative critical modes of artistic representation of history. The innovative research method applied includes a comparative study of visual and verbal representations. The combination is determined by the conviction that in the context of (traumatic) historical experience of the second half of the 20th century and later on, it is not possible to think these two contexts separately. The work of literature/art/comic art in of interest here mostly as a „theoretical object” and not as an illustration of theory. She draws on numerous theoretical inspirations, combining languages of various fields and models of knowledge production in the humanities. She reuses these concepts and figures which can prove crucial for the rethinking both the concept of history, historical understanding as well as the reading of visual-verbal constellations. Beside conference papers, articles, and translations, the outcome of the project was a book entitled Events after the Even: Białoszewski, Richter, Spiegelman, published in the “Nowa Humanistyka” series of the IBL PAN publishing house.
The World as an Archive – Critical Modes of Historicity
for years 2012-2014
Paweł Mościcki (IBL PAN),
Krzysztof Pijarski (PWSFTviT),
Tomasz Szerszeń (IS PAN).
In the course of work on the project, the researchers have analyzed closely to what extent in the context of critical reflection on the past, the concept of the archive becomes not only one of most important notions for theory and practice (artistic and academic), but also a key to meta-reflection in various disciplines, serving to reconceptualize literary studies, art history and history more generally within an academic institution. In its initial phase the project was discussed in an article offering a kind of research manifesto, published in an academic journal of young scholars in cultural studies, entitled „Mała Kultura Współczesna” http://malakulturawspolczesna.org/2012/03/17/bojarska-mosciski-pijarski-szerszen-projekt-swiat-jako-archiwum-krytyczne-modele-historycznosci/. The project flourished in numerous seminars, public discussions and lectures/presentations with participants both from Poland and abroad. The outcome of the research was published on the website which then was turned into an on-line peer-review academic journal entitled “View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture” http://widok.ibl.waw.pl (materials published in Polish and English). The journal is co-published by the IBL PAN and the Institute of Polish Culture of University of Warsaw. Invited by the Modern Art Museum in Warsaw, the participant of the projects organized a series of seminars in the framework of Open Museum, in the “Narration” series, entitled “Points of View”. These were the encounters with renown figures in the field of visual culture and critical theory from all over the world http://artmuseum.pl/en/cykle/widokowki. All participants of the projects carried out their individual research, travels to libraries and museums as well as conferences in Poland and abroad. Many relationships have been established in the course of the project and it surely has its afterlife in the form of the journal.
Gender and Nation. The Culture of Social Change in Poland after 1989
for years 2011-2013
The goal of the project is analyzing the transformation processes connected to Polish women’s gender and national identity after 1989, as recorded in cultural texts (fiction, (auto)biography, popular culture) created after the systemic change. The point of intersection of gender and national roles is of key important here, meaning that the question about the role of women in Polish democracy after 1989 is accompanied by an inquiry into how this role differs from that assigned to Polish women in other historical periods and by the question of what activities are initiated by women themselves in order to develop completely new roles; fitting the contemporary situation of Poland. Analyses of women’s identity are set against the broader background of changes taking place after 1989 in the entire Polish society, thrown off the deep end into free market economy and global politics, while remaining engulfed in internal conflicts related to history, memory, tradition.
“Wanda, Who Preferred the Russian”. Communist Women as a Subject of Gender Studies
Scholarship “Young IBL”
for years 2011-2012
The aim of the project is to write an article about the figure of communist woman on the example of Wanda Wasilewska (1905-1964), in which mechanisms of construction and operation of that figure within Polish society and culture – both before 1989 and after that date – are described. The project is situated within the field of literary and cultural studies of communism. Using methodological tools of gender, queer and postcolonial studies, it focuses on examining the ways of construction of the communist regime, personified in the post-war Poland by Wasilewska, as gender, sexual, national/ ethnic, class stranger to the Polish nation, thus threatening its history, tradition and identity. In a broad perspective the project poses the question of what gender studies can contribute to the studies of communism: bring out the hitherto ignored, marginalized, void, like intersection of the private and public or development of relations of power in the network of meanings of gender, sexual, national, ethnic, class etc. Simultaneously the project addresses the issue of the identity of women's movement in Poland, for which (real or symbolic) links with communism are so embarrassing that they have not received any in-depth analysis yet, remaining a sort of terra incognita on the map of local feminist studies.