Ten Competing Concepts of Polish Studies – A talk by Prof. Norman Davies
Ten Competing Concepts of Polish Studies
– A talk by Prof. Norman Davies
This is the second episode in the Studying Poland Today webinar series presented jointly by the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Project on Poland Past and Present. The purpose of the series is to raise the level of expert knowledge about Poland in foreign countries and to strengthen Polish Studies in the universities of the English-speaking world.
In this webinar, Prof. Norman Davies, author and distinguished scholar who taught Polish history and held a chair at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London for nearly three decades, will delve into the concept of Polish Studies and examine its scope. He will argue that Polish Studies, traditionally defined as “Polonistyka” or “Polish Language and Literature,” ought to form part of all the academic disciplines, especially in the Humanities, and that Poland, being the center of an essential but much-neglected region of Europe, should be studied in conjunction with its neighbors.
Norman Davies first visited Poland in March 1962, when he was still a student in his final year at Oxford. Fascinated by what he learned, and by what the authorities did not want him to learn, he made the study of Polish history the starting point of his academic career. His early books – White Eagle, Red Star: the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-20, (1972), God's Playground: a history of Poland (1981), and Heart of Europe: the past in Poland's present (1984) – were banned by the censorship of the Soviet Block and long unavailable to Polish readers. As a successful historian writing in English, however, he rapidly gained a worldwide readership and devoted himself to informing the world about Poland. His books have been translated into over thirty languages including Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, German, Italian, and French. Over the years, Prof. Davies received many honors and distinctions. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy (1997) and was awarded Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest order.