Thurs. Feb. 14, Institute for the Humanities, 701 S. Morgan St (lower level), 4pm-6pm, Joanna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska “The Roma Holocaust: Breaking Silence”

The European Parliament is deeply concerned about the increase in anti-Gypsy attitudes, and therefore calls for more efforts to end discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech against the Roma people” – says the European Parliament’s resolution of April 15th, 2015, which recognizes August 2nd as the Day of the Roma Holocaust Remembrance. Four years earlier, in July 2011, the Polish Parliament established August 2nd as the Day of the Roma and Holocaust Remembrance. These very important initiatives show that the Roma genocide is no longer a forgotten page of history and has been recognized by important national and international institutions. In her talk, Professor Talewicz-Kwiatkowska will reconstruct the history of Roma Holocaust in Poland and discuss the story and implications of its acknowledgment and commemoration.

Mon. Apr. 8, Institute for the Humanities, 701 S. Morgan St (lower level), 4pm-6pm, Agnieszka Graff “Claiming the Shipyard, the Cowboy Hat and the Anchor for Women: Polish Feminism’s Dialogue and Struggle with National Symbolism”

Polish nationalism is strongly gendered – a fact that has profound and much debated consequences for women and for feminist activism in Poland. This lecture examines the mechanisms of exclusion, looking at three specific instances of symbolic contestation and appropriation unfolding over time since the 90s. Does the Black Protests’ massive recycling of national symbolism constitute resistance to or capitulation to the present wave of ethno-nationalism? More broadly: how can justice movements reclaim the language and emotions of “the people” in an age of illiberal populism?


Wed. Nov.8, University Hall 950, 601 S. Morgan St., 12pm-1pm
Tracking the Flock: Expulsion, Repatriation and Integration in Poland’s Catholic Dioceses after World War II

James Bjork from King’s College London will present from his new project on the impact of boundary changes after World War II in Poland’s Silesian borderland. Bjork’s work represents the best of borderland history, examining the flexibility and impermanence of national attachment in areas of mixed linguistic and ethnic populations.  He published his award-wining book, Neither German nor Pole: Catholicism and National Indifference in a Central European Borderland (, in 2008.

Poland Now Roundtable Series welcome Krzysztof Jasiewicz’s talk “Poland’s Silent Revolution? Political Attitudes and Behavior of Post-Solidarity Generations”
Wednesday, Apr. 12, Institute for the Humanities, 701 S. Morgan St

Since 2011, the youngest cohorts of Polish voters have been showing in consecutive elections a predilection to support maverick, anti-system parties and candidates, from Janusz Palikot to Paweł Kukiz. Even more importantly, unlike their parents, they have expressed a strong preference for the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) over the liberal Civic Platform (PO). This phenomenon should not be dismissed as a mere “youthful indiscretion,” of which people tend to grow out with the progress of their life cycle. Rather, it should be examined as a “Silent Revolution:” a rapid shift in value systems between generations of voters. In Poland’s most recent history, first the 1989 breakthrough and then the EU accession in 2004 constituted such generation-formative events. The transition (or “Shock Therapy”) generation (people too young to have voted in the historic 1989 election, but old enough to have voted in the 2003 EU accession referendum) espoused (to an extent greater than their parents or grandparents) individualistic, inclusive, and universalist set of values associated with the market economy, pluralist democracy, and cultural liberalism. In contrast, the next, “EU” generation (people too young to have voted in the 2003 referendum, but old enough to have voted in the 2014-15 elections), taking economic prosperity, individual freedoms, and civic liberties for granted, has turned toward values emphasizing the sense of collective identity, traditionalism, and cultural conservatism — in short, toward the populist-nationalist syndrome dominant in the generation of their grandparents.

Conference “Modernizations”
Monday, Apr. 24-Tuesday, Apr. 25, 2017, Chopin Theatre, Chicago, IL

Polish history is hardly imaginable without the conflict of modernization and its enemy, although this fiery dialectic took different forms. Up until 1918 modernization was an indispensable factor of moving the nation forward when the political existence of the state was denied, which meant that modernization was at odds with any nationalistic ideologies supported by the Church. After independence was granted, modernization became quickly the primary ideology of the state, which, in order to keep pace with liberal democracies all over Europe, had to fight with decades of deep underdevelopment in all previous partitions. After the WWII, modernization became a handy buzzword of the communist regime, which targeted the Second Republic for its social failures as the bourgeois state. And finally, after 1989, modernization was turned against communism, when it became obvious that the real socialism in Poland was deliberately against any social progress. In all these cases, modernization, regardless of its content, was skillfully used as an ideological weapon in the battle for power, which suggests that modernization, whether in economy, or in culture, can be either a desirable fact (when referred to by its partisans) or an obstacle to the life of the nation (when referred to by its opponents).
The convoluted way modernization has traversed through the Modern history of Poland demands a careful investigation. We encourage attendants to present different accounts how modernization was understood in the last 150 years, and to look closer at how its enthusiasts and deniers continued fighting each other, albeit pronouncing to have the same goal: a better future of Polish nation.

Annual Hejna Lecture:  Ryszard Koziołek, Early Polish Modernism and its Shadow”  (part of Modernizations conference)
Monday, Apr. 24, 2017, 10:30am

Fourth Annual Midwest Historians of East Central Europe Workshop
March 30-31 (by invitation), Institute for the Humanities, 701 S. Morgan St
The workshop is open to faculty and graduate students in history and related disciplines. It will be based on pre-circulated papers, chapters, article drafts, etc. Participants are welcome to attend either as paper presenters or as members of the active audience. The main purpose of the workshop is to introduce scholars working in related areas to one another, to showcase work in progress, and generally to facilitate a sense of community among historians of East Central Europe with easy access to Chicago.

Poland Now Roundtable Series welcome David Ost’s talk “Why Poland Matters”
Monday, Feb. 20th, 6:30pm, Institute for the Humanities, 701 S. Morgan St
In the 16 months since the Law and Justice Party won elections, Poland has been thrust into the center of global interest. It has radically changed laws governing the courts, schools, media, and police. It has reduced the retirement age, introduced cash payments to parents, and begun a campaign against “gender ideology.” It refuses to accept refugees, has increasingly frosty relations with the European Union, but better relations with its own trade unions. It has also restricted the rights of the opposition.
Is Poland no longer a democratic country? Or does it finally have a government that represents the real interests of its people? Today no one doubts that Poland is transforming Europe. With other countries turning to the right, some see it as a new model for the world. It may well provide hints of what to expect from the Trump presidency.
This talk is about how Poland’s recent history tells us so much not just about Poland, but about our world today.

Polish Women on Strike: A Round Table on the “New Right” and the Anti-abortion Law in Poland
Wednesday, Oct. 19th, 2016, Institute for the Humanities, 701 S. Morgan St
Polish women have faced a sustained attack on their reproductive rights since the country’s transition from communism to democracy in 1989. The current ruling party in Poland, Law and Justice (PiS), has taken steps to introduce the most drastic measure yet: a near-total ban on abortion (in addition to limiting other reproductive rights). Just a few days ago, on October 3, Polish women and men took to the streets (accompanied by solidarity protests around the globe) to protest against the planned legislation. The Round Table will discuss the issue of reproductive rights in Poland in the broader context of the current government’s attempts to dismantle democratic institutions, and redefine public culture alongside nationalist and religious lines.

Annual Hejna Lecture:  Krzysztof Czyżewksi “Borderland as Koinos Logos
Friday, Apr. 8th, 2016, Daley Library
Borderland is in-between. It has its ethos. It is unpossessed by any absolute, definitive, narrow oriented, general, simple past, separate room, proved ownership… If so how to be a borderlander today? Does it make sense to create a Borderland Center in a town where there are already Polish and Lithuanian cultural centers? And if it is in a former shtetl why not a Jewish museum? Why to care about each crumb on the table instead of the lovely one? And for what this extra chair which does not belong to any family member? Borderland has its memory but it is all about practicing not celebrating. How to transpass from orthodoxy to orthopraxy? How to replace idées générales with something very concrete and real? How to transform identity to a “connective tissue” building process? Borderland has its culture but to belong to it you only start with “I will tell you my story”, you understand it is insufficient, and what is truly nurturing you is a question: “What about a common story?”

2nd Annual Hejna Polish Poetry Translation Contest Reception
Thursday, Apr. 28th, University Hall, Room 1501

Conference “Cities East and West: New Maps for Research”
Monday, Apr. 13-Tuesday, Apr. 14, 2014, Chopin Theatre, Chicago, IL
The goal of the conference is to examine urban enclaves not as monolithic areas of habitation but rather as places of intersection, collision, coexistence, and exchange between classes, races, ideologies, ethnic groups, artistic styles, and private modes of everyday living. We are interested in the large panoramas of various cities, seen from vast sociological or historical perspectives, as well as in small, detailed, idiosyncratic accounts, created from microscopic viewpoints. We welcome papers and comments about migrations between cities, or between villages and cities, but also look for narratives of meandering through large and small cities in the past and present. Our goal is to examine the urban symbolic energy at the intersection of literary and historical studies. The conference is a part of a broader series of Polish Studies meetings at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Friday, Feb. 27-Sat. Feb. 28, Chopin Theatre, Chicago, IL
Third Annual Midwest Historians of East Central Europe Workshop

The workshop is open to faculty and graduate students in history and related disciplines. It will be based on pre-circulated papers, chapters, article drafts, etc. Participants are welcome to attend either as paper presenters or as members of the active audience. The main purpose of the workshop is to introduce scholars working in related areas to one another, to showcase work in progress, and generally to facilitate a sense of community among historians of East Central Europe with easy access to Chicago.

Friday, December 5th-Sunday, December 7th
Polish Writers of the World: Mrożek and Herbert in memoriam
Chopin Theatre, Chicago, IL
On Friday, Dec. 5th, Dr. Michał Paweł Markowski (UIC, Hejna Family Chair in Polish Language and Literature) gave an introductory lecture on Mrożek, the play “Vatzlav” followed.  On Saturday, Dec. 6th, there was a series of talks and panels on Herbert and a return to Mrożek with a round-table discussion and performances of 2 plays: “Strip Tease” and “Out at Sea”.

Thursday, December 4th, 5:00pm
University Hall, Room 1750
Talk by Michal Golubiewski “Where lies the Home of Czeslaw Milosz”
Michal Golubiewski presented a reading of Czesław Miłosz’s poem “Kresy”/“Far West” in the context of the issues of hybridity, colonialism, exile, and home.

Wednesday, December 3rd, 4:00pm
1st Annual Hejna Polish Poetry Translation Contest Reception
University Hall, Room 1501
This semester, Polish Studies invited students of Polish language and heritage to participate in the first annual Hejna Polish poetry translation contest. We had an amazing turnout, with 20 translation submissions of poems by Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, Tadeusz Różewicz and Bolesław Leśmian!  On Dec. 3rd, we held a reading of the top submitted translations, alongside the original poems, a brief discussion on the process of translation

Thursday, October 6th, 6:00pm
Forum on 15: Genevieve Zubrzycki: “Narrative Shock and Polish Memory Remaking in the Twenty-First Century.”  
University Hall, Room 1501
This talk will examine different modes of memory-making, un-making, and remaking in present-day Poland, as it relates specifically to its Jewish past.—narrative-shock-and-polish-memory-remaking-in-the-twenty-first-century

Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014, post-show
A Talk with Playwright Tadeusz Słobodzianek about Our Class/Nasza Klasa

Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL
The Hejna Family Chair in Polish Language and Literature is proud to sponsor a talkback with Tadeusz Słobodzianek.  Performance of the play, Our Class, begins at 7:30pm, discussion to follow.
Student tickets, $15.

Tuesday, Apr.15, 2014, 2:00-3:00pm
Polish Studies Undergraduate Reception
Richard J. Daley Library, Room 1-470
Join us for our 1st Polish Studies Undergraduate Reception!  Take a break with traditional Polish food and beverages.  Learn about our program, study and travel abroad opportunities and scholarships for this Summer, as well as new and exciting developments within our Department.  If you are, or are considering, a MAJOR/MINOR in Polish Studies, join us (and bring your friends!). Undergraduate Reception Flyer

A Talk by Piotr Rypson
Thursday, Apr. 10, 12:00-1:00pm, John M. Flaxman Library, Special Collections Reading Room 508,—lecture-by-piotr-rypson

Annual Hejna Lecture:  Beth Holmgren, From the Legs Up: The Fall and Rise of the Chorus Girl in Warsaw’s Roaring ‘20s”
Monday, Apr. 7, 2014, 3:00-4:00pm, Chopin Theatre, Chicago, IL

Conference “Roaring 20s in Poland”
Monday, Apr. 7-Tuesday, Apr. 8, 2014, Chopin Theatre, Chicago, IL

Michał Markowski, “Essences and Props: Memory and Forgetting from Plato to Google.” (lecture)
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 1501 University Hall, UIC

Traces of Memory, Exhibit of Jewish History in Poland (photography exhibit)
Dec. 2013-Present, Richard J. Daley Library, UIC

Narrating Nations:  Central and Eastern European Literatures after 1989 (conference)
Polish Panel : Michał Paweł Markowski, Sławomir Sierakowski, Filip Springer, Karen Underhill

Nov. 7-8. 2013, Goethe Institut and UIC Hull House

Ill-Born: Modernist Polish Architecture Under Communism (photography exhibit)
Nov. 2013, Richard J. Daley Library, UIC

Writing the History of Poland in the Communist Era (round-table discussion)
Sept. 18, 2013, Chopin Theatre