Polish Studies

Polish Studies

Polish Studies


Dr. Tomasz Markiewka
University of Bielsko-Biała, Poland

The 2015 Cleveland State University Visiting Polish Scholar
and Kosciuszko Fellow

HIS 393: Special Topics—Turning Points in Polish History
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 11:20 am -12:10

The course is designed to present the main events in the Polish history set against the broader European context. As Norman Davis put it, Poland as God’s Playground was a scene of true heroism as well as cultural and political inefficiency and unparalleled defeats. Situated between East and West, Poland has always had to face the challenges of cultural and civilizational clashes, as well as bridging the gap between cultures, civilizations and languages. 

The presentation is organized chronologically, and focuses on the main events that changed the course of the Polish history. The course covers the medieval (10th-15th century) and modern history presenting not only the key figures, rulers, dynastic policies, but also the defining military and political events; the factual framework serves as a canvas for the cultural history of Poland, since the political events and history are always reflected in artistic forms (literature, music, theatre, cinema).

Special attention is paid to the history of the 20th century (mainly the history after 1939), in particular to post war-migrations, problems of identity, regional identities and the unique historical movement of Solidarity.

A separate part of the course will be devoted to the contemporary position of Poland in the broader European contexts, its status in the structures of the UE and the cultural and civilization changes the participation in the structures of contemporary globalization have brought. The economical and political spheres of contemporary Poland will be discussed.       

ENG 352: History of Polish Literature
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 2:35-3:25

Classical and Romantic traditions of the Polish poetry are redefined in the 20th century in the works of the Skamander group, both Avant-Gardes of the 1930 as well as the post war movements of the New Wave Poetry and linguistically-oriented poetry. Tradition and modernity are combined to create a diverse spectrum of literary styles and modes of reality representation. Poetry accompanied the Polish people in the difficult century, helping the readers to understand the mechanisms of history. It also served as a critical commentary, it was thought provoking and the sphere of the freedom of speech, often opposing (though masked) the dominant political forces.

Lyrical poetry (in the works of Lechoń, Wierzyński, Różewicz, Miłosz, Herbert, Barańczak and Szymborska) of the 20th century will be presented in the broader context of the 20th century aesthetics. Whenever possible, the American periods (sometimes very long ones) in the lives of the discussed poets will be explored.

The 20th century Polish prose will be discussed with reference to the development of the historical novel, which turns out to be highly intellectual and thought-provoking erudite literature, crossing the boundaries delineated by the 19th century classics of the genre. The works of Teodor Parnicki, Hanna Malewska, and Zofia Kossak show that the transformation of the said literary genre led to the development of sophisticated, often experimental literary works which broadened the understanding of the mechanisms of history, initiated the quest for universal values and, particularly in the case of Teodor Parnicki, prepared the literary genre in question for the challenges of globalization and postmodernity.

For information regarding Polish Studies please contact:
Ed Horowitz, School of Communication
216-687-4511 || e.horowitz1@csuohio.edu

To make tax-deductible contributions to the
Cleveland State University Polish Studies, contact:

Paul Wolansky Director for Advancement, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
216-875-9838 || e-mail: p.wolansky@csuohio.edu

To donate online, please click here and select "other" then type CLASS Polish Studies.