Monthly Publications Update, December 2022, PSA/H-Poland Member Submissions

Patrice Dabrowski's picture

(5 entries:  book, articles)



1.  Joshua Zimmerman, Jozef Pilsudski. Founding Father of Modern Poland. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2022.

Abstract: The story of the enigmatic Jozef Pilsudski, the founding father of modern Poland: a brilliant military leader and high-minded statesman who betrayed his own democratic vision by seizing power in a military coup.

In the story of modern Poland, no one stands taller than Jozef Pilsudski. From the age of sixteen he devoted his life to reestablishing the Polish state that had ceased to exist in 1795. Ahead of World War I, he created a clandestine military corps to fight Russia, which held most Polish territory. After the war, his dream of an independent Poland realized, he took the helm of its newly democratic political order. When he died in 1935, he was buried alongside Polish kings.

Yet Pilsudski was a complicated figure. Passionately devoted to the idea of democracy, he ceded power on constitutional terms, only to retake it a few years later in a coup when he believed his opponents aimed to dismantle the democratic system. Joshua Zimmerman’s authoritative biography examines a national hero in the thick of a changing Europe, and the legacy that still divides supporters and detractors. The Poland that Pilsudski envisioned was modern, democratic, and pluralistic. Domestically, he championed equality for Jews. Internationally, he positioned Poland as a bulwark against Bolshevism. But in 1926 he seized power violently, then ruled as a strongman for nearly a decade, imprisoning opponents and eroding legislative power.

In Zimmerman’s telling, Pilsudski’s faith in the young democracy was shattered after its first elected president was assassinated. Unnerved by Poles brutally turning on one another, the father of the nation came to doubt his fellow citizens’ democratic commitments and thereby betrayed his own. It is a legacy that dogs today’s Poland, caught on the tortured edge between self-government and authoritarianism.




2.  Jerome Krase, "Symbolic Icons: Conflicting Visions of the Gowanus Canal," Special Section (Part 2): Power Games and Symbolic Icons in Evolving Urban Landscapes, Giuliana Prato, Editor. Urbanities 12, no. 2 (2022): 62-78. 

Keywords: Vernacular landscape; pollution; public discourse; gentrification; displacement.

Abstract:  The four-hundred-year history of Brooklyn, New York, has provided opportunities to observe many conflicts and competitions over how neighbourhoods are symbolically presented and represented which significantly affect the lives of local residents and businesses. In recent years, conflicts and competitions over representation have resulted in heated public discourse such as over historical place names, and monuments. One of the most contentious of these discourses has been about gentrification and displacement in and around the Gowanus Canal. Over the centuries the area has changed from a primitive uninhabited marshland to its current actively developing urban neighbourhood. In each epoch, changes have been captured in images, and those images have impacted the area itself. This article will employ multi-modal methodologies to explore these changes and how they have been locally contested in print and digital media in three sections: Historical Images, Pollution, and Gentrification.



3.  Wiktor Marzec, “A sub-imperial realm amidst the global parliamentary moment. Legislative imaginations of Russian Poland, 1905-18.” Parliaments, Estates and Representation 42, no. 3 (2022).

Keywords:  Parliamentarism; parliament’ constitutional revolution; Russian Empire; Poland

Abstract:  This article seeks to explore the ideal of parliament nurtured by various political actors in the Russian-controlled Kingdom of Poland, up to the formation of the Polish nation state after the interim German occupation. Spanned between the legacy of the noble Sejms and radical democratic ideas for future Poland, the cultural imagination of parliamentarism faced its imperfect embodiment in the existing imperial assemblies – above all, the Russian Duma. Drawing from an extensive collection of political leaflets, press of various profiles and Russian administrative sources, I demonstrate the entangled, lived relationship between parliament and revolution, by no means opposite concepts in the global wave of constitutional revolutions. The parliamentary ideal served to renegotiate the arrangements of imperial social space in the direction of national self-assertion and perpetuated social practices conductive to future democratic arrangements. The actors involved demonstrated ambiguous potentials of various forms of national representation. These experiences and considerations had grave consequences in the critical juncture of the revolutionary sequence leading to the emergence of the Polish nation state – for the time being, in a majoritarian parliamentary form.



4.  Rebecca M. Townsend, “How the European Solidarity Center makes time out of space. Western Journal of Communication 86, no. 5 (2022): 627-649.  

Keywords: constellation; public memory; Solidarity; Space; Time

The European Solidarity Center (ECS) makes time out of space. Public memory, essential to the birth of Solidarność, and as created anew here, is a constellation of recursively moving time points. ECS's rhetorical arrangement of rooms and passageways allow for a recursive invention of time. Expanding rhetorical scholarship on public memory with Polish memory concepts, this essay shows how the ECS cultivates a sense of the movement that allows for reinscription of Solidarity's memory. This temporal solidarity can offer opportunities to develop civic action and layers of identity constituting a sense of Europe, Poland, and Solidarity. 


5.  Anna Przybylska and Rebecca M. Townsend, “Agent or Scene? Foreign Correspondents' Rhetorical Framing of Poland in Their Reflections on Their Own Reporting Practices.” Southern Communication Journal 86, no. 2 (2021): 175-187 

Keywords: Foreign correspondents, Poland, scene, agent, semi-periphery

Abstract:  The distribution of foreign correspondents across the globe indicates countries' newsworthiness, particularly significant when media companies withdraw their journalists residing abroad. This article analyzes in-depth interviews with foreign correspondents in Poland, which has changed dramatically during the 30 years preceding the research. It answers the questions of (1) What are the facts and issues in Poland's recent history that foreign correspondents selected as particularly meaningful and worth reporting to their audiences? (2) And how did they frame them, contributing to the country's popular understanding and positioning in the political, economic, and cultural global order? The continuous drop in newsworthiness of Poland indicates its normalizing situation as a semi-peripheral country. Rhetorical analysis of how the correspondents talked about Poland shows a prominent scene-act ratio. Poland's image shifts from a recognized agent of the bloodless democratic revolution, metaphorically rather than geographically distant to Western European countries, a scene of economic and mental transformation to an EU member, an agent coping surprisingly well with the economic crisis and a scene of values changes as well as new political and social cleavages of the local importance. It is a country where history and memories of the past have relevance in contemporary politics and where its representations in foreign media resonate and provoke political reactions.