In 2015, the Aleksander-Brückner Center launched the book series Polen: Kultur - Geschichte - Gesellschaft / Poland: Culture - History - Society. After approximately one year, conference volumes are available online, monographies after two years.
About the series:
How can we nowadays conceptualize research on historical and present-day Poland? Inspired by recent developments in area studies, we understand Poland as a region that repeatedly constitutes itself anew, depending on historical, cultural, or political conditions. Thus, Poland can be understood as part of medieval Western Christianity, or as the early modern Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with its numerous ethnic groups, languages, and religious denominations. It can also be part of expanding empires, be found in the global diaspora, or currently as a member of the European Union.
The question as to what, when, and where Poland and all things Polish have been in the past and are today is closely connected with these multiple options of affiliation. It is our aim to transgress national paradigms and to think of Poland in the plural - in ethnic, religious, linguistic, social, and legal terms. The series strives to integrate methodological approaches and modes of thinking from a variety of disciplines in order to explore what exactly determines Polish society and culture(s) in each case. Special attention is paid to shifts in political rule, the redrawing of borders, and periods of migration. The reflection on, and integration of, alternative narrative categories such as class, gender, religion, and nation is also of importance to this end.
As a result of these considerations, the series geographically transcends the current territory of Poland - without any revisionist intentions. Thus, the contributions of the series are also devoted to those countries and people that are historically and presently closely connected with Poland and have developed their own research perspectives. We therefore aim at an international academic exchange and a multi-perspective investigation of Poland in its European and international entanglements.
To maintain a high standard, all texts are being peer-reviewed. An international and interdisciplinary editorial board will be established soon.
Kai Witzlack-Makarevich examines the linguistic purist and linguistic reflexive discourse in Polish beginning at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries up to the present. The focus is on the question of how the Polish language, according to the authors studied in the corpus, should be structured in order to correspond to their ideas of "purity" and "correctness". The book examines which elements are rejected in the language and for what reasons, who is held responsible for their intrusion into the Polish language, why these elements are rejected and how this rejection is formulated. Both the continuities and the changes in language evaluations are traced. The participants in the discourse are largely drawn from academic Polish studies. The study is therefore also a contribution to the history of science on the role of linguistics in the discourse of linguistic purism.
Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, published in 2020, approx. 432 p., hardback, dust jacket, ISBN 978-3-8353-3918-7, approx. € 39.90 (D) / approx. € 41.10 (A)
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A comparative examination of the involvement of Jewish deputies in the local politics of three major Polish cities in the interwar period.
In the interwar period, Jewish inhabitants made up a good third of Warsaw's population and a quarter of Kraków's. In Pozna? In Poznań, their share was much smaller at about one per cent. By virtue of the March Constitution of 1921, they became full citizens of the Republic of Poland. This meant that adult Jews were also free to participate in communal decision-making processes. Little is known about how this was put into practice.
Hanna Kozińska-Witt takes a comparative look at the political involvement of Jewish representatives in the three large municipalities: How did Jewish urban milieus organise themselves? To what extent were they represented in the respective city parliaments? What were their most important issues and concerns? Who were their partners, who their opponents? How did non-Jewish municipal politicians react to the positions represented by Jewish representatives? What role did growing anti-Semitism play? In order to discuss these questions in a differentiated way, the study takes into account general tendencies in state politics as well as regional administrative traditions.
Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, 2021, approx. 344 pages, hardcover with dust jacket, ISBN 978-3-8353-3380-2 , Price: approx. 36,90 € (D) / 38,00 € (A)
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Reflections on the complex question of how societies consolidate or even reinvent themselves after the experience of war and violence.
In Poland, as in other European states, the Second World War had an impact far beyond the immediate fighting. Occupation, forced labour, political and racial persecution and border displacement shaped the lives of the civilian population. Many of the surviving inhabitants of the Republic of Poland found themselves involuntarily in other regions, on the territory of other newly formed states or in exile after the end of the military conflicts and the end of the Shoah.
The contributions in this volume assume that there was no end to the war either in Poland or in its neighbouring states. In Lublin, a Soviet-directed transitional government was already established in 1944 after the liberation by the Red Army, but forced migrations and the return of displaced persons continued until the early 1950s. On a mental level, the different war experiences shaped people and their behaviour for years or even decades. The authors of this volume understand the different ends of the war as phases of transition and reorientation. Analytically, historical, museological, sociological, jurisprudential, linguistic and psychological perspectives are brought to bear.
The volume is published in English.
Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, 2019, 376 p., 12 ill., hardcover, dust jacket, 14,0 x 22,2
ISBN: 978-3-8353-3307-9; € 34,90 (D) | € 35,90 (A)
A look at the Polish government's treatment of Jewish and Ukrainian minorities before the Second World War.
Before 1939, relations between the Polish state and its non-Polish citizens were marked by sometimes sharp disputes. But there were also attempts to resolve the conflicts by mutual agreement. These took place beyond the parliamentary stage and were usually initiated by actors from the second row.
Stephan Stach's study is the first to examine the formation of an institutional environment in which academics, ministry officials, MPs and journalists developed concepts for integrating national minorities into the Polish state. Using the example of the Jewish and Ukrainian minorities in Poland, it sheds light on processes that contributed to political trust between the parties to the conflict.
Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag, to be published in 2020, approx. 450 pages, hardcover with dust jacket, ISBN 978-3-8353-3101-3, price: approx. 39,90 € / 41,10 € (A)
Analyses of the changing understanding of community and society in a thousand years of Polish history.
Poland is a European community that can look back on a good thousand years of history, but its territory, ruling contexts and population structure have varied greatly over the centuries. Social developments and differentiations can therefore only be inadequately captured by categories of national historiography.
The authors deliberately move the state perspective into the background and focus on much smaller political, social or cultural units. The conceptual starting point is the question of changing ideas of community and society: What criteria were used to determine membership of the political and cultural elite in each case? What alternative or competing ideas of community existed? How did migration affect society? How did politically marginal groups organise themselves? What was the significance of political system changes at the local level?
How can one narrate history after postmodernity?
History is a construction - history needs to be told. Criticism of master narratives and the deconstruction of universal interpretations has evolved into a historigraphical standard, yet, the question on how to narrate and transmit history remains. The authors of this volume deconstruct narratives, but still face the challenge of narrating history. By the means of shirt essays, they turn to the chances of depicting history, by adressing selected controversies and various miniatures.
These essays deal wih the following questions: How does one construct space, time, and epochs - and how is it possible to reevaluate them? How do memories influence historical depictions, and how can they be historized? By which means are historical events experienced, how can history be visualized? Which alternatives are possible to counter dominant historical narratives? How can scientific practice and the creation of historical knowledge be reconsidered?
Aleksander Brückner (1856-1939) was a polyglot scholar from Habsburg Galicia. Ignoring traditional disciplinary boundaries he created a multifaceted oeuvre including linguistics, literary studies, cultural history as well as ethnology. Brückner's thought unfolded in various political and cultural contexts, namely in hubs of European academic life such as Lviv, Vienna, Leipzig or Berlin. How to explore his life in different cultures of knowledge, in imperial as well as national contexts from today's perspective? What could come out of a revision of his writings? How can we relate to his ideas in an endeavour to promote interdisciplinary research on Poland?
The authors of the volume delve into the multifaceted personality of Aleksander Brückner, taking up one of his core issues - the reflection on Polishness. From historical, linguistic, literary and ethnological perspectives, they discuss the issue how Poland and things Polish are conceptualized in past and present.
Michael G. Müller, Igor Kąkolewski, Karsten Holste, Robert Traba (ed.), Polen in der europäischen Geschichte. Volume 3: Die polnisch-litauischen Länder unter der Herrschaft der Teilungsmächte (1772 / 1795 - 1914)