Wiktor Marzec: Antisemitism - Event and Structure within the 20th-century Polish Public Sphere

17.5.2018 (Autor: Ondřej Slačálek)

23rd May, 4PM, Room 104, Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague, nám. Jana Palacha 1


The talk will address the question of modern “Polish antisemitism”. Revisiting the vast literature on the even vaster problem it highlights less explored repercussions of antisemitism for the development of modern Polish politics, public sphere and national identity. On the one hand, drawing from previous research on 1905 Revolution, the “eventful” character of antisemitism will be demonstrated. As an effective tool of political mobilization antisemitism rose to prominence extremely rapidly and later underwent equally rapid transformations in regard to its function in larger context. This questions many, otherwise plausible, theories explaining its pertinence. On the other hand, once triggered, antisemitism had its long term resilience and widely-reaching impact on the Polish public sphere and national identity. Therefore, it should be investigated as a functional device restructuring political identities, and a crucial factor in delimiting political divisions in the Polish 20 th century. Last but not least, the aim is to question the very notion of “Polish antisemitism” as a blurred analytical category concealing more than it explains. In order to understand structural reasons for wide-spread antisemitism and its far reaching impact, one has to dissect its elite and popular variant. They play different, and only occasionally supplementary, roles within the Polish public sphere, and hence their origins are divergent.


Wiktor Marzec holds a PhD in sociology and social anthropology from Central European University in Budapest, MA in sociology, and MA in philosophy from University of Lodz. His research interests concern historical sociology, labor history and conceptual history. He has been a junior fellow at the University of Michigan, Humboldt University in Berlin, and Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. His recent publications include articles in Thesis Eleven, Journal of Historical Sociology and Eastern European Politics and Societies. He is the author of Rebellion and Reaction. The 1905 Revolution and Plebeian Political Experience in Russian Poland (in Polish, with Lodz University Press and Universitas). Social science editor in the journal Praktyka Teoretyczna / Theoretical Practice. Currently in-residence fellow in Center for Advance Study in Sofia. From September 2018, post-doc in the Centre for Historical Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Sankt Petersburg.

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