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University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 624-PITT

@ Throughout, click this on this symbol to see the source of the quoted information.

Polish Studies at University of Pittsburgh

The Institution

Founded as the Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 and private through much of its history, Pitt became a state-related university in 1966. Today, the University of Pittsburgh system consists of its 132-acre main campus, located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, and regional campuses in Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown and Titusville.

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

The Slavic Department at the University of Pittsburgh teaches courses in Polish, Serbian, Slovak, and Ukrainian, but remains primarily Russian-oriented, At present the undergraduate major is offered only in Russian, with the possibility of a self-designed major in Polish.

Polish Study Courses

POL 0870 Contemporary Polish Cinema: Kieslowski @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will trace and examine major themes in contemporary Polish cinema since 1945. Special attention will be paid to the main trends (schools, movements) in recent Polish cinema, such as the Polish School and the Cinema of Moral Concern. Among the directors whose work will be examined are Andrzej Wajda, Andrzej Munk, Jerzy Skolimowski, Agnieszka Holland, Krzystof Kieslowski, and Wladyslaw Pasikowski.

POL 0871 Contemporary Polish Cinema: Wajda @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course will examine the films of Andrzej Wajda who is regarded by film critics as the quintessential Polish director, so strongly is he connected to Polish history and Poland's cultural tradition.
POL 1450 - Contemporary Polish Cinema @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course presents contemporary Polish cinema from 1945 to the present. Concepts will be studied in their historical, political, philosophical, and aesthetic perspective. We will examine the important national themes in modern Polish cinema, relating them to the history of Poland and Eastern Europe.
POL 1270 Polish Drama @
POL 1280 Modern Polish Literature @

Language Instruction

POL 0010-0020 Elementary Polish 1, 2 @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: 1. In beginning Polish the student develops elementary communicative competence in Polish, with emphasis on correct pronunciation. - 2. A continuation of Polish 0010. By the end of the first year, the student has a good grasp of Polish grammar and the solid beginnings of conversational ability.
POL 0030-0040 Intermediate Polish 3, 4 @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Along with a general review of Polish grammar, this course introduces the student to light reading and conversational Polish at the intermediate level.
POL 0210 Intensive Beginning Polish @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A thorough introduction to the basic categories of pronunciation, grammar, and syntax. A rigorous treatment of the sound and writing systems is followed by presentation of the basic categories of the noun and verb: gender, number, case, tense, and aspect. Nominative, accusative, prepositional, and dative case of nouns and adjectives, present and past perfective and imperfective verbs are presented. Emphasis is placed on communicative competence - active use of new structures in reading, dialogues, free conversation, listening comprehension.
POL 0220 Intensive Intermediate Polish @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A rigorous presentation of the basic uses of all nominal and verbal categories: declension of nouns and adjectives in all cases, singular and plural, deepening the knowledge of aspect uses, verbs of motion, conditional sentences, imperatives, indefinite pronouns, comparison of adjectives, time expressions, prepositional phrases. Attention paid to phraseology on both oral and written levels. Introduction to participles and verbal adverbs. Great emphasis is placed on developing fluency in conversation.
POL 0400- 0410 Advanced Polish 1, 2 @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is the second part of third year Polish.

Poland-Related Courses

Slavic 2100 Old Church Slavic @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course comprises a thorough treatment of Old Church Slav(on)ic declension, conjugation, and morphophonemics, with two general aims: first, to prepare the participant for translation and textual commentary on the basis of texts read in the second half of the course; second, to provide an example of the rigorous morphological description of a Slavic language, producing techniques which may be applied to the description of languages other than OCS. The study of OCS is placed in its cultural context with readings in Schenker's The Dawn of Slavic.
Slavic 0325- The Short Story in a Polish Context @
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is primarily a course on the short story as literature, only indirectly a course on Polish culture, society, and thought. The course will examine works both formally and as they reflect the reality or literary-social concerns of given historical periods (positivism, naturalism, existentialism, gender issues, prison-camp literature, socialist realism, absurdism, and others).


Donnorummo, Robert P. Research Associate and Associate Director Russian and East European Studies @@
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
Phone: (412) 648-7403 / Fax: (412) 648-2199 / E-Mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: Russian and Polish History, Transitions, and Nationalism
  • "Poland's Political and Economic Transition," East European Quarterly, 28 (2), 259-280, 1994
Goscilo, Helena Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures @@
PhD, Indiana University
Phone: 412-624-5908 / Fax: .... / E-Mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: Russian and Polish women's literature.
  • Russian and Polish Women's Fiction, University of Tennessee Press, 1990
Swan, Oscar Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures @
PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Phone: 412-624-5707 / Fax: .... / E-Mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: Polish and Russian linguistics; Old Church Slavic; Polish literature and culture.
  • First Year Polish, Slavica Publishers, 1983
  • A Concise Grammar of Polish, Press of America, 1984
  • Translation: Bruno Shatyn's A Private War, Wayne State University Press, 1985
  • Intermediate Polish,, Slavica Publishers,1986
  • Beginning Slovak, Slavica Publishers, 1990
  • Polish Speaking in Poland Norton Publishers, 1993
  • W Labiryncie (Labyrinth of Life)Slavica Publishers, 1993
  • Grammar of Contemporary Polish, Slavica Publishers, 2002

VISITING FACULTY - Faculty whose home base is in Poland

Ostrowska, El¿bieta - Visiting Professor of Polish Studies

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

Matyjaszewski, Krystof Adjunct Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. @
Ph.D., Polish Academy of Sciences, 1976
Phone:(412) 268-3209 / Fax: (412) 268-6897/ E-Mail:
MAJOR INTERESTS: Controlled/living polymerization by radical/ionic mechanisms and inorganic/organometallic polymers

Poland-related Resources

  • Alliance College Polish Collection: the university is the home of the Polish collection developed and formerly housed in the library of its Alliance College. The College, founded by the Polish National Alliance in 1912 "to provide opportunities for Americans of Polish descent to learn about the mother country, its culture, history, and language," closed in 1987. By the time of the college's closing the Polish collection had grown to approximately 35,000 cataloged and 15,000 uncataloged volumes. The material is primarily in Polish, and is particularly strong in Polish language and literature, history, and the Polish experience in the United States. Also included are such additional subject areas as Polish music, art, folklore, science, economics, sociology, government, and foreign relations.

  • The Polish Room: The Polish room is one of the Nationality Rooms located in the Cathedral of Learning, a 42-story Gothic building. Responded to an invitation from then Chancellor Bowman to create classrooms that would represent highly creative periods or aspects of their heritage, nationality communities of Allegheny County labored with pride to finance these unique gifts to a burgeoning urban university where generations of their descendants would study. The inspiration for many elements of the 16th century Polish Renaissance Room was provided by Wawel Castle in Cracow. This represents Poland's Golden Age which developed when King Sigismund the First married an Italian Princess. Italian craftsmen were brought to Wawel Castle and, together with Polish masters, created the distinctive designs of the Polish Renaissance.

Last updated 10/06/05


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