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University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637

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Polish Studies at University of Chicago

The Institution

The University of Chicago is one of the nation's leading private universities and is known around the world for the unsurpassed quality of its teaching and research. It was founded by John D. Rockefeller and classes began in October, 1892

Located in the residential community of Hyde Park, seven miles from downtown Chicago, the 190-acre campus contains stately Gothic quadrangles with grassy lawns . The University has an undergraduate College of 3600 and a professoriate of more than 1200.

Polish Studies Courses

POLI 28800/38800 Postwar Polish Poetry @@@
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines the best achievements of Polish postwar poetry, including poems by Nobel laureates Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska; by Nobel candidates Zbigniew Herbert and Tadeusz Rozewicz; and by poets of such importance as Anna Swirszczynska, Miron Bialoszewski, and Tymoteusz Karpowicz. The focus of our readings is on immanent poetics of the chosen works but also on the function of poetry in the post-war Polish society
CMS 24400 Polish Cinema Since 1945 @@
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course is designed to be a survey of Polish cinema since 1945 up to the present. We will consider Polish cinema in the context of both a national and a European cinema. Films will be examined from both a historical and an aesthetic perspective in order to present the main trends in post-war Polish cinema, for example: Socialist Realism, the Polish Film School and the Cinema of Moral Concern. This will lead into a discussion of the works of some of the most important Polish filmmakers (Andrzej Wajda, Andrzej Munk, Roman Polanski, Agnieszka Holland, Krzysztof Kieslowski and others).
Poli 29400/39400 Bodies, Things, Objects: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course discovers post-war Polish writers, poets, and painters who all share a fascination for certain objects and their presence or absence throughout life. Exploration of the object world through context of abstract painting, material culture, phenomenology, existentialism, and anthropology.
Poli 29700 Reading/Research: Polish @@
Poli 29900/49900 Paper Prep: Polish/ Dissertation Research:Polish @@
Poli 3500 Reading Course: Polish Linguistics @@

Language Instruction

10100, 10200, 10300 Elementary Polish. @@
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course teaches students to speak, read, and write in Polish, and familiarizes them with Polish culture. It employs the most up-to-date techniques of language teaching, such as communicative and accelerated learning, and learning based on students' native language skills, as well as multi-leveled target-language exposure.
20100, 20200, 20300 Second-Year Polish. @@
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The curriculum includes instruction in grammar, writing, and translation, as well as watching selected Polish movies. Selected readings are drawn from the course textbook and students also read Polish short stories and press articles. In addition, students' independent reading is emphasized and reinforced by class discussions. Work is adjusted to each student's level of preparation.
30100 Advanced Polish @

Poland-Related Courses

Anthropology 212. Intensive Study of a Culture: Eastern Europe @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Close study of an ethnographic region. Explores the current dramatic transformations in Eastern Europe after the Cold War, the meanings of nationalism in the region, everyday life under state socialism, how and why the "fall of Communism" occurred, current transnational migrations, the situation of ethnic and linguistic minorities, and the role of intellectuals in political life.
Anthropology 411 Ethnography of Central and Eastern Europe @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This seminar reads a series of classic and recent ethnographic studies of populations in the following countries: Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, parts of the former Yugoslavia, and parts of the former Soviet Union. Our aim is to get a sense of how a range of communisms worked "on the ground," as well as the range of "transitions." Possible questions include the Cold War as the context of anthropological studies of Europe; theorizing Communism; the issue of "nationalism"; "embourgeoisment" and "underdevelopment"; the imagination of democracy, citizenship, and civil society; and money and the culture of commodities. This seminar breaks with the tradition of considering Eastern and Western Europe in different courses and with different theoretical questions. Instead we will start with the political and scholarly division of Europe itself as our first conceptual issue, asking how the division was recast by the Cold War and now recast again in light of the Maastricht Treaty and 1989. Interactions and social processes that cross this divide will provide the objects for analysis in the course. We will also consider how any single phenomenon -- e.g. migration or tourism -- is understood in divergent ways depending on the symbolic geography that is assumed by the investigator. Our task will be to analyze the connections between such different conceptualizations, and between sociocultural processes in different corners of the continent. The topics to be taken up include: nationalisms and citizenships; the morality of capitalism; bureaucracy; regionalism and new forms of sovereignty; politics of sex and reproduction; utopias and dystopias -- the fate of state socialism; tourism and xenophobia; comparative mafias; memory, nostalgia and revivals. Students will be asked to lead discussions of topics of their choice and/or to present works-in-progress that analyze one or more of these issues
GnSlav 272/372 The Modern Central European Novel @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course conducts a close study of the major novels of Central European origin from the twentieth century. We read and discuss Witold Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke, Milan Kundera's The Joke, Hermann Broch's Sleepwalkers, Franz Kafka's Amerika, Robert Musil's Young Törless, and, possibly, Danilo Kis's A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, with emphasis on the aesthetic construction, ethical attitude, and cultural context of the novels cited. One of the course's main concerns is what constitutes the "national" and "regional" character of these novels and novelists and why (or whether or not) grouping these novels collectively under the rubric of "Central European" is viable.


Gal, Susan Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Chicago @
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1976
Phone: (773) 702-2551 / Fax: . . . / e-mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: - The role of language in culture and society, in gender theory, and Eastern Europe; comparative analysis of gender relations and gender discourses as they shape and constrain the political and economic processes of the Eastern European transformations.
  • Intensive Study of a Culture: Eastern Europe
  • Ethnography of Central and Eastern Europe
  • The Politics of Gender after Socialism:A Comparative-Historical Essay, Gal, Susan and Klingman, Gail, Princton University Press, 2000
  • Reproducing Gender: Politics, Publics, and Everyday Life after Socialism, eds. Gal, Susan and Klingman, Gail, Princton University Press, 2000
Kurowska-Mlynarczyk, Joanna, Lecturer, Polish Language and Literature, University of Chicago @
M.A., University of Nicholas Copernicus, Torun M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago, 1997
Phone: (312) 915-6099/ Fax:...... / E-Mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: - The Poetry of Adam Mickiewicz
  • Polish Language: Elementary, Second, and Third Year
  • "The practice of maximum exposure and the employment of native language skills in a foreign language classroom". at Northwestern University Language Symposium,May 20,2000
Ptaszynska, Marta Polish Composer and Professor in the Department of Music, University of Chicago
M.A., Warsaw Academy of Music, 1968
Phone: . . . / Fax: (773) 753-0558 / e-mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: - Composer and percussionist, with a special interest in the performance and analysis of new music and contemporary opera.
  • Conductus--A Ceremonial for Winds, 1982 - featuring quotations from Bogurodzica (Mother of God), Poland's 13th Century battle anthemded hymn
  • Listy Polskie (Polish Letters), 1988 - a cantata celebrating Polish Independence
  • Fanfare for Frederic Chopin, 1999
  • Poland: Music, Lyric, Nation, April 2001 Festival at the University of Chicago, co-organizer with Philip Bohlman
Shallcross, Bozena Associate Professor of Polish Literature @
Ph.D., Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences, 1983
Phone: (773) 834-2179 / Fax: {773) 702-7030 / E-Mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: - Interdisciplinary studies between literature and visual arts, art and aestheticism in Leopold Staff's poetry, poets as draftsmen.
POLAND RELATED SCHOLARSHIP:- Director of Polish Studies Center
  • "Intimations of intimacy: Adam Mickiewicz's On the Grecian Room" Slavic E. Eur. J 42: 216-230, 1998;
  • "Bruno Schulz and modernism - Introduction" E. Eur. Polit. Soc.11: 254-256,1997;
  • "Fragments of a broken mirror: Bruno Schulz's retextualization of the Kabbalah" E. Eur. Polit. Soc.11: 270-281,1997;
  • "Wondrous fire: Adam Mickiewicz's Pan Tadeusz and the romantic improvisation" E. Eur. Polit. Soc. 9: 523-533, 1995
  • Framing the Polish Home: The Postwar Literary and Cultural Constructions of Hearth, Nation, and Self, ed: Shallcross, B., Athens: Ohio University Press, 2002
  • Through the Poet's Eye: The Travels of Zagajewski, Herbert, and Brodsky, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2002
Sternstein, Malynne Assistant Professor of Czech and Russian Literature. @
Ph.D., University of Chicago 1996.
Voice: [773] 834-0894 / Fax: [773] 702-7030 / E-Mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: Czech, Russian and Central European Studies; The European Avant-Garde
  • The Modern Central European Novel

Meta Faculty - Faculty who have studied and/or taught at Polish institutions of higher education

Chelmicka-Schorr, Ewa Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, University of Chicago @
M.D. Academy of Medicine, Warsaw
Phone: (773] 702-6394 / Fax: . . . / e-mail: echelmic@neurology.bsd.uchicago.ed
MAJOR INTERESTS: - The effect of Sympathetic Nervous System on the immune system.
Jurkiewicz, Antoni Manager of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago @
Ph.D. Institute of Molecular Physics, Poznan, 1985
Phone: [773] 834 7420 / Fax: . . . / e-mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: -NMR theory, high resolution NMR in liquid and solid state, spin-lattice, spin-spin relaxation phenomena and molecular dynamics, influence of an unpaired electron on the nuclear relaxation process.
Sunstein, Cass R Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School @
J.D., Harvard, 1978
Voice: 773-702-9498 / E-Mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: Administrative law, constitutional law, and civil liberties.
POLAND-RELATED SCHOLARSHIP: Participated in law reform and constitution-making efforts in Poland

Poland-Related Resources

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures has offered a program in Polish language, literature, and linguistics since its organization in 1962. The Department's Polish Studies Program has served as one of the eminent academic centers for Polish literature, culture, and linguistics in the United States. The program offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Polish literature and linguistics.

Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES) @

The CEERES is an interdivisional center which promotes the study of, and research about, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It does not itself offer a separate master's degree; however, it does administer a joint A.M./M.B.A degree in conjunction with the Graduate School of Business. An interdisciplinary A.M. in this area is available under the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences with concentration in language and area studies. The center also cooperates with the Committee on International Relations in providing a master's program in international relations with specialization in Russia and Eastern Europe. It administers Title VI fellowships for East European, Russian, and Eurasian studies when funding is available.

The Center for Research Libraries @

The Center, located proximally to the University, is an international not-for-profit consortium of colleges, universities and libraries that makes available scholarly research resources to users everywhere. Among its holdings are newspapers form 18 Polish cities: Bialystok, Bydgoszcz, Chelmno, Gdansk, Katowice, Kielce, Koszalin, Krakow, Lodz, Lublin, Olsztyn, Opole, Poznan, Rzeszow, Szczecin, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Zielona Gora. Materials held by the Center can be borrowed by contacting the Center's Access Services Department at 312 955 4545, ext. 313.

Chicago Review @

In 2001 the Chiago Review, a journal of the Univerity's Division of Humanities, published as a 400-page anthology entitled NEW POLISH WRITING. It represents the first and most comprehensive survey in English of Polish writing since the end of Communist rule. Among the 50 poets included in this selection are the generation of poets born before World War II, such as Herbert, Milosz, and Szymborska, as well as the less visible but no less remarkable Jerzy Ficowski, Julia Hartwig, Ursula Koziol, and Tadeusz Rozewicz. The "Generation of 1968," a.k.a, the "New Wave"(which includes Stanislaw Baranczak, Julian Kornhauser, Ryszard Krynicki, Ewa Lipska, and Adam Zagajewski) is well represented, as are many other poets of the middle generation, like Piotr Sommer, Ewa Lipska, and Bronislaw Maj. And there is a substantial selection of work by younger poets like Andrzej Sosnowski, Marcin Swietlicki, Jacek Podsiadlo, Marcin Sendecki, and Marzanna Bogumila Kielar, as well as documents by the writers associated with the counter-culture journal bruLion, a school of poets sometimes known under the rubric of "[Frank] O'Harism." Literary prose by several generations of authors is amply represented as well. There are excerpts from the late Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski's Diary Written at Night, a short story by Henryk Grynberg, recent short prose by Slawomir Mrozek, feuilletons by Pawel Huelle, and novel excerpts by Aleksander Jurewicz and Stefan Chwin. Likewise, this issue contains work by some of Poland's most exciting younger prose writers, including Andrzej Stasiuk, Magdalena Tulli, Natasza Goerke, Olga Tokarczuk, and Piotr Szewc, to name a few.

Polish American Students Association @
Club meets for screenings of Polish films, social occasions, etc.

Last updated 09/29/05


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