Monthly Publications Update, February 2021, PSA/H-Poland Member Submissions

Patrice Dabrowski's picture

(6 entries:  books, articles)




1.  Anna Dżabagina, Kalkowska. Biogeografia [Kalkowska. Biogeography]. Seria Portrety Kobiet [Women's Portraits Series]. Gdańsk: słowo/obraz terytoria, 2020.  978-83-7908-202-5


Keywords: Eleonora Kalkowska, Polish-German literature, women's writing, transnational modernism, exile studies


Abstract: This book is the first biography and the first monographical map of works and reception of Eleonore Kalkowska, Polish-German modernist poet and playwright, an important, yet forgotten, border-crossing agent of transnational modernism network. In previous studies, Kalkowska functioned mainly as an author of few plays, written between 1929–1932, which connected her only with political Zeittheater of the Weimar Republic. This book argues that it was one of the reasons for Kalkowska's marginalization in – both Polish and German – literary history. Another factor of this marginalization was Kalkowska's ambiguous, multipositional national affiliation, which interfered with her works and their reception differently in different locations, and ultimately led to her erasure from 'nationalized' literary canons. Therefore, the central axis of this book is, on the one hand, to present Kalkowska's case beyond the category of Zeittheater. And on the other, is to describe the mechanism of interferences between national categories, which was imposed on Kalkowska (who was describing herself as an "embodiment piece of Pan-Europa's body"), and the reception of her works (eventually: a marginalization from nationalized literary histories). The book is divided into three parts, framed by the chronological and biographical boundaries. The first (Migrations) tackles the years between 1883–1918 and the stage of Kalkowska's nomadic explorations (both artistical and geographical). The second shows Kalkowska's years in modernist, Weimar Berlin (1918–1933) – it analyses her artistic networks and constellations, describes her way onto the stage and the high point of her literary career, which was abruptly interrupted by Hitler's rise to power. The third part (Exodus) tackles the years of exile, which Kalkowska spent in Paris and London, among thousands of other exiles, who were eventually named as a formation of 'exile modernism'. 



2.  Jessica C. Robbins, Aging Nationally in Contemporary Poland: Memory, Kinship, and Personhood.  New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2020.


Abstract:  Active aging programs that encourage older adults to practice health-promoting behaviors are proliferating worldwide. In Poland, the meanings and ideals of these programs have become caught up in the sociocultural and political-economic changes that have occurred during the lifetimes of the oldest generations—most visibly, the transition from socialism to capitalism. Yet practices of active aging resonate with older forms of activity in late life in ways that exceed these narratives of progress. Moreover, some older Poles come to live valued, meaningful lives in old age despite threats to respect and dignity posed by illness and debility. Through intimate portrayals of a wide range of experiences of aging in Poland, Jessica C. Robbins shows that everyday practices of remembering and relatedness shape how older Poles come to be seen by themselves and by others as living worthy, valued lives. In Aging Nationally in Contemporary Poland, we see how memories and understandings of the Polish nation intersect with ideals and experiences of late life to produce forms of life that are not reducible to binary categories of health or illness, independence or dependence, or socialism or capitalism.





3.  Robert E. Alvis, "The Tenacity of Popular Devotions in the Age of Vatican II: Learning from the Divine Mercy," Religions 12, no. 1:65 (2021) 

Keywords: Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy; Catholic Church; Vatican II; John Paul II; devotions; piety 


Abstract: Despite is global popularity in recent decades, the Divine Mercy devotion has received scant scrutiny from scholars. This article examines its historical development and evolving appeal, with an eye toward how this nuances our understanding of Catholic devotions in the "age of Vatican II." The Divine Mercy first gained popularity during World War II and the early Cold War, an anxious era in which many Catholic devotions flourished. The Holy Office prohibited the active promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion in 1958, owing to a number of theological concerns. While often linked with the decline of Catholic devotional life generally, the Second Vatican Council helped set the stage for the eventual rehabilitation of the Divine Mercy devotion. The 1958 prohibition was finally lifted in 1978, and the Divine Mercy devotion has since gained a massive following around the world, benefiting in particular from the enthusiastic endorsement of Pope John Paul II. The testimonies of devotees reveal how the devotion's appeal has changed over time. Originally understood as a method for escaping the torments of hell or purgatory, the devotion developed into a miraculous means to preserve life and, more recently, a therapeutic tool for various forms of malaise.



4.  Brian Porter-Szűcs, “Contextualizing Eastern Europe: The National, the Regional, and the Global in East European Studies,” in Slawisch-Deutsche Begegnungen in der Literatur, Sprache und Kultur, edited by Aleksandra Bednarowska, Beata Kołodziejczyk-Mróz, and Piotr Majcher (Hamburg:  Verlag Dr. Kovač, 2020): 13-38.


Abstract:  The study of East-Central Europe has long been weakened by a failure to contextualize the region alongside a full range of relevant comparisons. The underdevelopment and authoritarianism of the region is emphasized when set next to northwestern Europe, which is appropriate insofar as local intellectuals tend to focus on this perspective. Nonetheless, we misunderstanding the broader position of the lands between the Baltic and the Balkans if we only take a regional approach. Globalizing the study of these territories gives us a radically different perspective on the central processes and developments that have created the East-Central European countries we know today.


5.  Brian Porter-Szűcs, “Nationalism and Antisemitism,” in Key Concepts in the Study of Antisemitism, edited by Sol Goldberg, Jonathan Judaken, Adam Teller, Scott Ury, and Kalman Weiser (London: Palgrave, 2020), 161-172.

Abstract:  Antisemitism and nationalism have frequently marched together, but is this connection necessary or contingent? Did antisemitism penetrate modern nationalism because of specific circumstances and conditions, or was there something fundamental to the nature of the former that helped constitute the latter (or vice versa)? We cannot entirely disentangle the threads of cause and effect between these two ideological strands because they were developed and propagated by many of the same people. But the two are not entirely conjoined: as paradoxical as it sounds, there have been both cosmopolitan antisemites and multicultural nationalists. There are not many of either nowadays, to be sure, but any such exceptions help us see that nationalism does not lead to antisemitism in any simple or direct way


6.  Brian Porter-Szűcs, “Conceptualizing Consumption in the Polish People’s Republic,” in The Socialist Good Life: Desire, Development, and Living Standards in Eastern Europe, edited by Zsuzsa Gille, Diana Mincyte, and Cristofer Scarboro (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020), 82-103.

Abstract:  We all too often assume that “shortage economies” were the necessary outcome of actually-existing socialism, but in fact the economists of the communist world appreciated the importance—indeed, the centrality—of personal consumption. In fact, from the very earliest postwar years, the economists of the Polish People’s Republic listed consumer abundance among their primary objectives, even as they recognized that Poland was a long, long way from achieving this goal. The proliferation of consumer goods was not an unanticipated side-effect of socialist modernization, nor did it stem from bread-and-circuses concessions aimed at pacifying a restless population. Consumer prosperity was actually quite central to communist goals.