This area of research begins with the question of what, when, and where Poland and all things Polish have been in the past and are today. As it is our aim to think of Poland in these plural terms, we do not speak of a single Poland or Polish language, but especially look into constellations in which Polishness (polskość) had been and continues to be construed in all of its facets.
The geographical and political areas in which Polish history has unfolded in the course of over a thousand years have often varied: There were phases of considerable expansion of the state and its influence during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era. By the end of the 18th century, by contrast, Poland ceased to exist as a sovereign state for over 100 years. Through the 1980s, Poland's political sovereignty, within borders that shifted after both world wars, remained precarious.
The historical and current position of Poland in the middle of Europe and phenomena such as migration and economic-communicative globalization pose new challenges for researchers, including the necessity to expand the well-established investigation of bilateral German-Polish relations to include research into Poland's diverse European and international dimensions throughout history and today.