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The Archives of (Polish) Modernity

The Archives of (Polish) Modernity

Polish modernity. What is it? When did it start? What are its varieties? Is there a model of modernity or are there many different concepts? Who is afraid of Modernism... and why?

In the last couple of years we have learnt that Poland has a chance to modernize due to the fact that we became a member of the European Union and received structural subsidies. We have also learnt that the modernisation process consists of the construction of stadiums, motorways and railroads. Are there any other ways to reach modernity?

We intend to find a different – from the dominant national or martyrological – narration that would allow us to examine Polish history and modernity. The history of modernisation which begun in Poland in the second half of the 18th century can become such a narration and can allow us to look at the past of Poland and the Polish nation in a broader, European perspective. It can make it possible to perceive the problems of the nation and its difficult past in a new way. It may help us understand our place in today’s Europe and world. The scope of our interests exceeds theatre and literature alone and encompasses issues of economy, politics and civilization.

During the project’s first year our work will take the form of seminars – we will read books that are important to Polish modernity, that depict its projects or representations and that were written in the 20th and the 21st century. The program encompasses texts by authors such as:

Stanisław Brzozowski, Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, Stefan Żeromski, Jan Nepomucen-Miller, Witkacy, Witold Gombrowicz, Andrzej Stasiuk as well as Jerzy Jedlicki, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Agata Bielik-Robson, Jan Sowa and Andrzej Leder.

During the second stage of the project we plan to focus on issues such as: 

The project of Polish Enlightenment Modernism (concerning comedies), the Republic of Philomaths, Romanticism and modernity, the Warsaw School generation, familiarity and foreignness in Polish culture, the city and the country in Polish culture, Polish revolutions, national democrats and socialists on the future of Poland, the avant-gardes of the 20th century, socialism and the modernization project in Poland after the year 1945, post-1989 transformations and many more.   

The project is curated by Michał Kuziak.


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