I am pleased to announce the winner of the Aquila Polonica article prize.
The Aquila Polonica Prize is awarded every other year to the author of the best English-language article published (either online or in print) during the previous two years on any aspect of Polish studies. The award carries a $500 honorarium and is sponsored through the generous support of Aquila Polonica Publishing, which specializes on the Polish experience of World War II.
Ordinarily the prize is presented at the PSA member meeting during the annual ASEEES conference. However, because of the bifurcated conference schedule, the member meeting was cancelled. This award and the graduate student research prize will both be celebrated at next year’s conference in Chicago.
And the winner is:
Jessica C. Robbins, "Expanding Personhood beyond Remembered Selves: The Sociality of Memory at an Alzheimer’s Center in Poland," Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Vol. 33, Issue 4, 483–500, ISSN 0745-5194, online ISSN 1548-1387.
The prize committee was deeply impressed with Robbins’ examination of a case study of elderly Poles being treated for memory loss. Robbins observed treatment that encouraged the recall of common national memory as opposed to individual memories, with salutary effects on the patients. Her argument about what she calls the "sociality of memory" offers a way forward for the care of those with Alzeihmer's disease but also offers broader insights about the social position of the elderly, nationalism, memory, and modern Poland.
Robbins's solid methodology, clear research design, sustained argumentation, reference to the relevant scholarship, and careful attention to the specifically Polish context of her study made her piece stand out. Specifically, she shows that individuals with memory loss may have access to a shared historical narrative specific to Poland. More importantly, she demonstrates that this narrative generates the possibility of new social bonds where "personal" memories have lapsed, and creates pathways for support and treatment on the part of caregivers, who also have access to this narrative. Robbins's work positions "national memory" in a new role--neither inherently exclusionary nor inclusionary but rather a functioning memory structure generating a sense of personhood when other sources are no longer accessible.
Congratulations to Jessica for this achievement!
In addition, the committee awarded honorable mention to the following two articles:
Tomasz Grusiecki, “Close Others: Poles in the Visual Imaginary of Early Modern Amsterdam,” Slavonic and East European Review 98, no. 4 (2020): 654–89.
Oliver Zajac, "The Map as a Political Manifesto: The Case of Karta dawnej Polski and Hôtel Lambert ́s Concepts of the Polish State and Nation," In Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung/Journal of East-Central European Studies 69, no. 3 (2020): 327-54. ISSN 0948-8294.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Many thanks to this year’s prize committee, which consisted of Jadwiga Biskupska and Janine Holc, for their hard work and thoughtful commentary!