Writing the History of Poland in the Communist Era Stefan and Lucy Hejna Family Chair in the History of Poland - University of Illinois at Chicago

Wednesday, Sep 18th at 630pm - UIC presents a Roundtable Discussion lead by Prof. Robert Frost, of Scotland's University of Aberdeen,  "Out from the shadows. Writing the History of Poland 1945/1990/2013" about the difficulties facing historians who worked in the People's Republic of Poland (1945-1989).   Joining Prof. Frost are Prof. Jolanta Choińska-Mika of the University of Warsaw and Dr. Karol Mazur of the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising 1944.

Complimentary reception follows the discussion.

Free admission but reservation encouraged - Anna Szawara (szawara@gmail.com)

09/18/13 - 09/18/13


Writing the History of Poland in the Communist Era - A Roundtable Discussion

Soviet-style Communism was predicated on the control of information—censorship, limitations on research, regulation of presses and even mimeograph machines.  Across the post-war Soviet bloc, Marxist orthodox was imposed, hampering historians’ access to sources and in some cases even banning the results of their work.  The secret police maintained files on scholars at home and abroad, demanding “favors” in exchange for travel documents or entrance to archives.  Interpretations of some historical events were carefully scripted; other topics were simplyforbidden to the researcher. Despite these constraints, historians in Poland were able to carry out serious research that placed Polish historical scholarship in a stronger position than in other states within the Bloc. 


At this roundtable, three historians of Poland will discuss the writing of history in Poland before and after 1989.  How was Polish history able to survive the Communist era?  What was the relationship between work in Poland and in countries outside the Bloc?  How did scholars both inside and outside Poland cope with the restrictions imposed by the Communist regime? And how does our understanding of research conditions in the People’s Republic affect the ways we represent the Communist era today?



 Professor Robert Frost is Burnett Fletcher Chair in History at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He studied at the University of St Andrews, the Jagiellonian University, and the University of London. He has published widely on the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and on the history of warfare in eastern Europe. Volume one of his history of the Polish-Lithuanian Union will be published by Oxford University Press next year.

Professor Jola Choińska-Mika teaches at the University of Warsaw, where she specialises on the history of Mazovia, and on the history of the Polish parliamentary system.

Dr Karol Mazur is the author of W stronę integracji z Koroną. Sejmiki Wołynia i Ukrainy w latach 1569–1648, and other important works on the Ruthenian territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He is currently the head of the Didactic Section of the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising.

A complimentary reception follows the discussion.

Please RSVP to Anna Szawara, Assistant to the Hejna Chairs, szawara@gmail.com by Monday, September 16.



Professor Robert Frost (University of Aberdeen); Professor Jola Choinska-Mika (University of Warsaw); Dr. Karol Mazur (Museum of the Warsaw Uprising)

Tags: Literary, Polish, New Europe, 2013