Courses

Fall 2017

Literature, Culture & History

460 Topics in Polish Studies (Markowski)
4 hours.

321 Introduction to Polish Literature (Underhill)
3 hours.

150 Introduction to Polish Cinema (Underhill)
3 hours. Taught in English. Films screened with English subtitles. Creative Arts, and World Cultures course.

115 Introduction to Polish Culture
3 hours.  Taught in English.World Cultures course.

Language

401 Composition & Conversation III: Polish Short stories in the Original (Markowski)
3 hours.

201 Composition & Conversation I 
3 hours.  Designed to continue the development of advanced language skills. This course is an expansion of vocabulary, idioms, grammar, writing, reading, listening comprehension, and speaking within the context of Polish culture. Previously listed as POL 301. Prerequisite(s): POL 104.

103 Intermediate Polish I
4 hours.  Prerequisite(s): POL 102 or equivalent.

101 Elementary Polish I 
4 hours. No Prerequisites.

Spring 2017

Literature, Culture & History

321 Introduction to Polish Literature: Polish School of Reportage (Brylak)
3 hours. Iran, Honduras, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa: what can these places tell us about Poland? In this course we will examine the ways Polish reporters talk about the world, civilization, conflict, community and individual. Contrary to popular belief, Polish literature has frequently extended its focus beyond the country’s borders. We will ask ourselves what Polish writings about the world abroad say about Poland and its writers. In this course we will analyze the thin line between fiction and creative non-fiction writing. Does it exist? What makes a non-fiction text literature? What is the extent of artistic liberties in reportage? Finally, we will write our own literary reportages using techniques and knowledge developed by the masters of the Polish School.

234 History of Poland (Stauter-Halsted)
3 hours. This course will consider the political, social, and cultural transformations of the historic Polish lands from 966 CE to the present. We will take as our starting premise that the history of Poland is the history of a multicultural and multiethnic society. As a result, we will study the various people, social groups, and cultures that have shaped Polish history over the past millennium. Beginning with the first Polish state under the Piast dynasty, we will continue with the union of Lithuania and the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the period of partitioning by the German, Austrian, and Russian empires and the rise of Polish nationalism, the interwar politics of Polish independence, life under occupation during World War II and the Holocaust, communism and its collapse in 1989, and the more recent post-socialist state.  Prerequisite(s): ENGL 161. Individual and Society, and Past course.

130 Masterworks of Polish Literature in Translation: The Devil in Warsaw: Polish Prose in Modern Times (Lindskog)
3 hours.  This course is an introduction to post-war Polish literature. By the end of World War II, Poland emerged as a new socialist republic, on the eastern side of the so-called iron curtain. But it emerged a fractured country: no Jews, traumatized and damaged by war, and with much tension between socialists and its opponents, but at the same time with many of its romantic ideals still intact. These circumstances and its dissonances made for a vibrant landscape of voices in art and literature and, for many, literature and philosophy became fundamental means of coping with reality. But how does one write in a totalitarian state? How does one remain humane? How does one create new values? And if one cannot stay in the country, how does one write in another culture, when one’s language becomes unrooted? And how does one write the layers of memories and forgetting that linger and resurface? This course examines such topics as existence, the absurd, memory, exile, nostalgia, totalitarianism, trauma. We will be reading such writers as Miron Białoszewski, Sławomir Mrożek, Czesław Miłosz, Hanna Krall, Tadeusz Różewicz, Witold Gombrowicz, Wisława Szymborska, Andrzej Stasiuk, Jerzy Ficowski, Tadeusz Konwicki and Olga Tokarczuk. No knowledge of Polish is required. The class is taught in English and all texts will be available in translation. Creative Arts and World Cultures course.

120 The Polish Short Story in Translation: Stranger in a Strange Land: Technology, Science and Fantasy (Jeżyk)
3 hours. This course will explore intriguing tensions between science and fantasy, progress and superstition through the lens of small narratives.  We will enter the magnificent republic of dreams inhibited by mad scientists, curious observers, robots, devils and time travelers and investigate what is the nature of this technological anxiety.  We will also learn how short story works as a genre and examine different ways in which authors such as Lem, Gombrowicz, Grabiński, Wat and Mrożek engage with issues of science, progress and the supernatural.  Taught in English. Creative Arts, and World Cultures course.

Language

202 Polish Composition and Conversation II: Current Events (Szawara)
3 hours. The 201-202 Advanced Polish sequence includes work on composition and conversation, grammar and vocabulary development, and aural comprehension. This course sequence is a general review and expansion of the Polish grammar system, along with development of speaking, reading and writing skills. Previously listed as POL 302. Prerequisite(s): POL 201.

104 Intermediate Polish II (Jeżyk, Szawara)
4 hours. Continues POL 103. Prerequisite(s): POL 103 or the equivalent.

102 Elementary Polish II (Lindskog)
4 hours. Continues POL 101. Prerequisite(s): POL 101 or the equivalent.

Fall 2016

Literature, Culture & History

224 Introduction to Literary Analysis of Slavic Texts (Markowski)
3 hours. Interpretation of Slavic literary texts from different theoretical points of view and various methodological perspectives. Previously listed as SLAV 324. Prerequisite(s): POL 104 or RUSS 104 or the equivalent, or consent of the instructor.

150 Introduction to Polish Cinema
 (Lindskog)
3 hours. A survey of major movements and genres in Polish Cinema from the 1920s up to the present, including early Polish and Yiddish film, Polish School of Filmmaking in Lodz, New-wave, Comedy films of the socialist period, World War II in film, the Polish School of Animation, and contemporary Polish film post-1989. Taught in English. Films screened with English subtitles. Creative Arts, and World Cultures course.

Language

201 Polish Composition and Conversation I 
3 hours.  Designed to continue the development of advanced language skills. This course is an expansion of vocabulary, idioms, grammar, writing, reading, listening comprehension, and speaking within the context of Polish culture. Previously listed as POL 301. Prerequisite(s): POL 104.

103 Intermediate Polish I
4 hours.  Prerequisite(s): POL 102 or the equivalent.

101 Elementary Polish I 
4 hours. No Prerequisites.

Spring 2016

Literature, Culture & History

TBA

Language

202 Polish Composition and Conversation II: Current Events (Jeżyk)
3 hours. The 201-202 Advanced Polish sequence includes work on composition and conversation, grammar and vocabulary development, and aural comprehension. This course sequence is a general review and expansion of the Polish grammar system, along with development of speaking, reading and writing skills. Previously listed as POL 302. Prerequisite(s): POL 201.

104 Intermediate Polish II (Brylak, Szawara)
4 hours. Continues POL 103. Prerequisite(s): POL 103 or the equivalent.

102 Elementary Polish II (Lindskog)
4 hours. Continues POL 101. Prerequisite(s): POL 101 or the equivalent.

Spring 2015

Literature, Culture & History

570 Literary Theory and the Polish Canon: Culture and Life (Markowski)
4 hours. The class is about one of the most influential Polish philosopher and literary critic, Stanisław Brzozowski (1878-1911), whose impact on contemporary Polish culture can’t be overestimated. We will read several of his pivotal texts to understand his position in European Modernism, and his relationship with the Polish tradition. All readings are in Polish (we will try to translate his pieces into English) and basic knowledge of philosophical language and Polish literary tradition is required. Taught in Polish.

460 Literature as Resistance to Stalinism (Markowski)
4 hours. Not everybody in Poland in the 1950s served Communism. One of the most flamboyant examples of disobedience was Leopold Tyrmand who, during several months of 1954, kept a journal in which a radical criticism of Stalinism went hand in hand with detailed descriptions of the everyday life in Warsaw. Tyrmand’s Diary 1954 is one of the most insightful first-hand testimonies to the spirit of civil and artistic disobedience under Communism in Poland, in the few months after Stalin’s death. The diary will be read along with other seminal texts on the relationship between politics and literature, fashion in the 1950s, and intellectual analyses of Communism. All readings in English, for those who know Polish, a chance to do an extra work.

433 Topics in East European History East European Migrations: The Polish Diaspora
3 hours. HIST 433.  This course looks at the movement of people into and out of the territory encompassing modern Poland. It focuses on the migration trajectories of ethnic Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, Lithuanians, Russians, and others from the earliest times to the present. We look at local and regional migration patterns, at political migrants–including those fleeing failed national uprisings, at Polish efforts to establish “colonies” abroad in Argentina, Brazil, and Canada, and at the steady flow of economic migrants to the United States, Australia, and South Africa in the years leading up to World War I. The course ends with a consideration of the most recent wave of Poles to the United Kingdom and the effects on the Polish domestic situation of these continuing waves of out-migration.

321 Introduction to Polish Literature: Ghosts, Zombies and the Undead: Haunting Polish Culture (Underhill)
3 hours. This course will follow Ghosts, Zombies and the Undead on their journey through 800 years of Polish literature in three languages, exploring the haunted realms of Polish culture. What do ghosts and specters mean to us, and how do ghost stories help communities and individuals to engage with memory, guilt, and responsibility? With fears of the unknown, or hopes of salvation?  How can haunting be understood as a metaphor for the presence of the past in our lives, or for the responsibility that the living have toward the dead, or toward the Other?  Polish literature is filled with ghosts, and as we travel from the 15th century Kingdom of Poland to Warsaw in 2014, we will meet Golems, ghosts, vampires, specters and zombies who have captured the Polish imagination, and contributed to shaping the cultural landscape of Poland.  Our readings include work by poets Jerzy Ficowski, Tadeusz Rozewicz, Boleslaw Lesmian and Jan Kochanowski; dramatists Tadeusz Kantor, Sh. Ansky, Stanislaw Wyspianski and Adam Mickiewicz; and prose writers Andrzej Stasiuk, Igor Ostachowicz, Y.L. Peretz, and Jan Potocki. All readings will be in English translation with the option to read in the original language. Taught in English.

234 History of Poland (Wilczewski)
3 hours. This course will consider the political, social, and cultural transformations of the historic Polish lands from 966 CE to the present. We will take as our starting premise that the history of Poland is the history of a multicultural and multiethnic society. As a result, we will study the various people, social groups, and cultures that have shaped Polish history over the past millennium. Beginning with the first Polish state under the Piast dynasty, we will continue with the union of Lithuania and the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the period of partitioning by the German, Austrian, and Russian empires and the rise of Polish nationalism, the interwar politics of Polish independence, life under occupation during World War II and the Holocaust, communism and its collapse in 1989, and the more recent post-socialist state.  Prerequisite(s): ENGL 161. Individual and Society, and Past course.

150 Introduction to Polish Cinema (Underhill)
3 hours. A survey of major movements and genres in Polish Cinema from the 1920s up to the present, including early Polish and Yiddish film, Polish School of Filmmaking in Lodz, New-wave, Comedy films of the socialist period, World War II in film, the Polish School of Animation, and contemporary Polish film post-1989. Taught in English. Films screened with English subtitles. Creative Arts, and World Cultures course.

120 The Polish Short Story in Translation: Stranger in a Strange Land: Technology, Science and Fantasy (Jezyk)
3 hours. This course will explore intriguing tensions between science and fantasy, progress and superstition through the lens of small narratives.  We will enter the magnificent republic of dreams inhibited by mad scientists, curious observers, robots, devils and time travelers and investigate what is the nature of this technological anxiety.  We will also learn how short story works as a genre and examine different ways in which authors such as Lem, Gombrowicz, Grabiński, Wat and Mrożek engage with issues of science, progress and the supernatural.  Taught in English. Creative Arts, and World Cultures course.

Language

202 Polish Composition and Conversation II: Current Events (Szawara)
3 hours. The 201-202 Advanced Polish sequence includes work on composition and conversation, grammar and vocabulary development, and aural comprehension. This course sequence is a general review and expansion of the Polish grammar system, along with development of speaking, reading and writing skills. In POL 202, students will regularly read Polish articles and texts, become familiar with contemporary Polish news and opinions, and will be able to apply their speaking and writing skills across a variety of writing styles.  All materials will be available on Blackboard. Previously listed as POL 302. Prerequisite(s): POL 201.

104 Intermediate Polish II (Brylak)
4 hours. Continues POL 103. Prerequisite(s): POL 103 or the equivalent.

102 Elementary Polish II (Dylag)
4 hours. Continues POL 101. Prerequisite(s): POL 101 or the equivalent.

Previous Course Offerings:

Fall 2014

Literature, Culture & History

233 History of East Central Europe and the Balkans 
(Stauter-Halsted)
3 hours. For much of the 20th century, East-Central Europe was characterized as the site of bitter ethnic feuds, political instability, and economic underdevelopment. These problems were often portrayed as characteristics that made the region—the lands lying between Germany and Russia—distinct from the rest of Europe. The purpose of this course is to examine the historic origins of some of the region’s “problems” and to challenge contemporary understanding of their uniqueness. The course looks at the history of the people of East-Central Europe in the modern period, tracing the origins of its ethnic and religious diversity, the role of historic “memory” in fueling modern crises, and the evolution of national and political consciousness. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 161. Individual and Society, and Past course.

130 Masterworks of Polish Literature in Translation: The Devil in Warsaw: Polish Prose in Modern Times (Underhill)
3 hours.  Taught in English. Creative Arts, and World Cultures course.In this course we will enter the vibrant and anguished world of 20th-century Polish prose with an introduction to literary works by futurist Aleksander Wat, Auschwitz survivor Tadeusz Borowski, poet and acerbic social critic C.K. Norwid, modernist innovator Bruno Schulz, contemporary Polish author and psychologist Olga Tokarczuk, and others.  In this combined lecture and seminar course, we will discuss the modern text as both a hardworking machine, and an embodiment of desire.Topics in this course include Positivist, Futurist, avant-garde and neo-Romantic movements in Polish literature; witness literature; the post-1989 literature of small homelands; and the role of literary theologies in a secular modern world.  No prerequisites. All texts will be read in English translation, with the option to read in the Polish original.

115 Introduction to Polish Culture: Landscape, Cityscape, Republic of Dreams: Polish Spaces in the Cultural Imagination (Underhill)
3 hours.  Taught in English.World Cultures course. How are the urban spaces of Warsaw transformed into landscapes of resistance, heroism and abandonment in novels and films about the Warsaw Uprisings?  What role did the literary salon of 19th century St. Petersburg, the Polish shtetl or small town, the centrally-planned socialist steelworks, and the Warsaw cabaret scene play in producing Polish culture, and in shaping Polish communal identities?  Why does Lithuania play such a central role in the Polish literary imagination?  By exploring landscapes, places and spaces both real and imagined, that hold special meaning and resonance in the Polish communal and cultural imagination, this course offers a broad introduction to Polish Culture as something that is constantly in flux, constantly being re-imagined and re-performed in the present.

Language

101 Elementary Polish I (Dylag)
4 hours. No Prerequisites.

103 Intermediate Polish I
 (Brylak, Jeżyk)
4 hours.  Prerequisite(s): POL 102 or the equivalent.

201 Polish Composition and Conversation I (Szawara)
3 hours.  Designed to continue the development of advanced language skills. This course is an expansion of vocabulary, idioms, grammar, writing, reading, listening comprehension, and speaking within the context of Polish culture. Previously listed as POL 301. Prerequisite(s): POL 104.

Summer 2014

115 Introduction to Polish Culture:  Polish Culture Now (Jeżyk) Course Poster
MTRF, 9:00-11:55am  (4 week session)
3 hours.  Taught in English. World Cultures course. Exploring different disciplines of culture, the aim of this course is to show, how key topics in Poland’s cinema, visual arts, comic, music, poetry, drama and novel are redefined by the generation of young contemporary artists. Our main focus will be issues such as rewriting history (Communist-era Poland, the Warsaw Uprising, and Poland’s Jewish past), gender roles (masculinity, femininity and family), and life in the city.  We will look into the world of fashion, street art, punk rock and hip hop music and the way these plays out in the historical and sociological context. Discover the works of Wojciech Smarzowski, Małgorzata Szumowska, Dorota Masłowska, Michał Witkowski, Marcin Świetlicki and Zbigniew Libera, among others.  No knowledge of Polish is required!

Spring 2014

Literature, Culture & History

535 Gombrowicz: Exile and Exposition (Markowski)
4 hours. Gombrowicz is one of the most intriguing writers of European Modernism. Spending most of his mature life in exile (Argentina, Germany, France) and deprived of the traditional means of making his career as a national writer (he was unknown abroad and banned in Poland,) Gombrowicz was forced to develop a unique dialectics of writing. On the one hand, this dialectics was aimed at familiarizing the foreign and the exotic (especially in Argentina) while it also exposed him to the uncanny and absurd in life. His ability to morph political exile into an existential venture with no self-assuring back plan was one of the most interesting features of his post-war work, brought to the fore in the most spectacular way in the Diary, the text upon which this course will focus. Removed from the black-and-white fields of true and false or facts and fictions, the three volumes of the Diary reveal a writer who creates himself through a series of surreal provocations and who exposes the reader to an unexpected experience of reading. Studied alongside other key figures of European Modernism, such as Cioran, Bataille, and Sartre, the Diary, a work without comparison in Polish literature, reveals Gombrowicz’s philosophical acumen as well as his literary bravura. As such, the Diary is an indispensable text to understand the breadth of intellectual and artistic tensions within European Modernism. Taught in English.

460 Writing in the Third Language: Between Theology and Materialism in Modern Central European Narrative (Underhill)
3 OR 4 hours. Taking its inspiration from Jacques Derrida’s essay “The Eyes of Language”, this course will seek to explore how the concept of a “Third Language”, between theology and materialism, can be useful in the study and description of modernist literary and critical texts.  What does a text written in the “third language” look like? What does it sound like?  Our study will consider 20th century works that are invested in summoning this adversity, and in opening up the conceptual space and the interaction, within the parameters of the text itself, between non-sacred and sacred.  Drawing on theoretical work by Walter Benjamin, Gershom Scholem, Giorgio Agamben, Eric Santner and Emmanuel Levinas, and Derrida, we will explore the potential validity of the concept of “writing in the Third Language”, building a vocabulary of specific narrative strategies and formal techniques. Together we will test this concept against the work of modern Polish, Yiddish and German-language writers, including Aleksander Wat, Itzik Manger, Moyshe Kulbak, Franz Kafka, Melech Ravitch, Bruno Schulz,  and S.I. Witkiewicz. Theoretical and formal concepts explored will include: the dialectical image; the abyss, “language as such” or “pure language”, the Face and the Name; theatricality, gesture and mask; modern messianism; and the figures of clown, Devil, charlatan, magician and fool.  Taught in English. Polish majors will be required to complete some assignments in Polish. Prerequisite(s): SLAV 224; or consent of the instructor.

433 Topics in Eastern European History (Stauter-Halsted)
3 OR 4 hours. Specific topics are announced each term. Same as CEES 433. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated. Students may register in more than one section per term.Prerequisite(s): 3 hours of European history or consent of the instructor.

234 History of Poland (Fidelis)
3 hours. Exploration of political, socioeconomic, and cultural developments since the first Polish state, the union with Lithuania, the struggle for independence, and Communist rule to the present.  Prerequisite(s): ENGL 161. Individual and Society, and Past course.

224 Introduction to Literary Analysis of Slavic Texts (Markowski)
3 hours. Interpretation of Slavic literary texts from different theoretical points of view and various methodological perspectives. Previously listed as SLAV 324. Prerequisite(s): POL 104 or RUSS 104 or the equivalent, or consent of the instructor.

150 Introduction to Polish Cinema (Underhill)
3 hours. Introduction to the major themes and techniques of Polish film art; comparative survey of narrative film and literature. Taught in English. Films screened with English subtitles. Creative Arts, and World Cultures course.

Language

102 Elementary Polish II (Szawara)
4 hours. Continues POL 101. Prerequisite(s): POL 101 or the equivalent.

104 Intermediate Polish II (Gąsienica-Byrcyn, Jeżyk)
4 hours. Continues POL 103. Prerequisite(s): POL 103 or the equivalent.

202 Polish Composition and Conversation II (Gąsienica-Byrcyn)
3 hours. Continues POL 201. Designed to continue the development of advanced language skills. This course is an expansion of vocabulary, idioms, grammar, writing, reading, listening comprehension, and speaking within the context of Polish culture. Previously listed as POL 302.Prerequisite(s): POL 201.