Funded by the National Science Center

“Zelman Wolfowicz and his governance of the Drohobych starostwo in the mid-18th century”, OPUS, leader: Professor Tomasz Wiślicz-Iwańczyk. The objective of the project is to construct a new model of functioning of local communities in the pre-partition Poland-Lithuania, transcending social divisions and religions, a model that combines a multidimensional analysis of microsocial and biographic data with a reflection on social and cultural phenomena on a macro scale and in a diachronic context.
The point of departure for the research is Zelman Wolfowicz, son of a Jewish furrier from Drohobycz, who informally ruled the demesne of Drohobycz for over a dozen years in the middle of the 18th century, reaping maximum rewards, intimidating some of the demesne inhabitants and corrupting others. As our prime research hypothesis, we assume that both Zelman Wolfowicz’s place in the network of social connections and the legends surrounding him reflect the interdenominational relations and social associations and conflicts that existed in the Commonwealth before the partitions.


“Letters to the authorities as a research source for the social history of the People’s Republic of Poland”, OPUS, leader: Professor Dariusz Jarosz. The aim of the project is an attempt at developing and establishing the methodological rules of exploiting letters to the central authorities of the Polish People’s Republic (PRL) as a source in social history research and the inter-disciplinary and multi-aspect analyses of their content as typified by letters sent in to four chosen state institutions (the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers Party, the Cabinet Office, the Council of State Office, Polish Radio and Television).
A textual analyses of the gathered correspondence will be carried out. Among others, an attempt shall be made to establish the hierarchy of problems of significance for Polish society in the successive historical phases of the PRL, and to reproduce, on the basis of such correspondence, the mechanisms governing the two way communications between society and government. The interdisciplinary composition of the research team (social historians together with linquistic and literary researcher) will also enable carrying out an advanced analysis of the linguistic sphere of the sources of the letters taking into consideration both semiotic and stylistic analyses, as well as analyses of the epistolographic discourse). Each of the mentioned research tasks, taking into account the dynamic perspective, will concentrate on the aspect of changes occurring throughout the whole PRL period.


“A celebration of power. Public ceremonies in the major cities of Royal Prussia in the 16th–18th centuries”, OPUS, leader: Professor Edmund Kizik. The goal is reconstruction and analysis of public ceremonies organized by the authorities of Gdańsks, Elbląg and Toruń between 16th century till 1793. Cities celebrated weddings, births of royal offspring, as well as deaths of polish kings and members of royal family. Festivities happened to celebrate the military triumphs of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and especially long and extensive ones were held to honour royal visits. Analysis will include the scenarios of celebrations, including hierarchy of participants, as well as lasting and short-term effects of such festivities: panegyric literature, temporary architecture, theatre plays, ceremonial feast, music, painting, sculpture and decorative arts. It will be important to establish the role of public ceremony, its meaning in creating historical and citizen awareness of Prussian bourgeoisie, as subjects of the king of Poland.


„Electronic editions of old maps: perspectives and limitations based on «Geographic-military and statistical map of Grater Poland» (1807–1812)”, PRELUDIUM, leader: Tomasz Panecki, MA. The aim of the project is to develop a method of old maps’ digital edition based on “Geographic-military and statistical map of Grater Poland” (1807–1812) also called the Gaul’s map (cartographer) or Raczynski’s Map (patron). Today, we tend to observe an increasing interest in digital and spatial humanities, as well as more frequent maps dissemination and analysis in a digital form. Consistent method of cartographic sources editing method has not yet been developed. In the project, previous attempts in this respect (both Polish and foreign) will be taken under consideration and evaluated. The aim of the project is not only to develop such a method, but also to indicate its perspectives and constraints in the context of its future application to the maps developed in the nineteenth century. The digital edition of the map based on proposed method will be performed with the application of IT tools primarily containing Geographic Information System (GIS).


The history of the Polish-Lithuanian Union in the years 1492–1569. From the dynastic to the real union”, SONATA, leader: Dr Dominik Szulc. The main objective of the research project is to reconstruct the evolution of the relationship between the Polish Kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the stage of the dynastic union in 1492 to the stage of the real union in 1569. The aim, therefore, is to reconstruct the way in which the relationship of these two states had evolved since the time when they were linked to each other only symbolically through the dynastic bond until they merged in a real union with common formal institutions and foreign policy.


„The historical atlas of Polish towns: Kalisz”, OPUS, leader: Dr hab. Urszula Sowa. The main objective of the project is to prepare and publish a historical atlas of Kalisz, according the rules of International Commission for the History of Towns. The obligatory program includes: 1. the earliest pre-industrial age map measured out and drawn to a scale of 1:2500 (the principal map); 2. a modern map to a 1:5000 or 1:10000 scale; 3. the reproduction of a map showing the town and its surroundings to a scale from 1:25000 to 1:100000; 4. a specially designed map with reconstruction of the town’s spatial development. The cartographic part of the atlas should be supplemented with historical commentary describing the town’s history, focused on its spatial development. This project includes also larger selection of archival plans, panoramas, thematic maps and two important supplementary tasks: 1. a digital version with interactive maps and files ready to download (in open access), 2. a digital edition of five town court books (about 2000 pages of manuscripts).


History of social and political concepts in Poland in 18th‒20th centuries”, OPUS, leader: Professor Maciej Janowski. The present project aims at creating a dictionary, unique in the Polish academic literature, presenting changes and transformations in the Polish social and political language from the 18th till the 20th century. The goal of the research is to understand general patterns of these changes and their evolution, as illustrated by selected concepts. The research owes its origin and inspiration to similar investigations made in the West, especially in Germany.


The edition of records of Kaunas assemblies for the years 1733–1795”, SONATA, leader: Dr Monika Jusupović. The research project objective is to publish records of Kaunas assemblies from the reigns of August III and Stanisław August. As part of the work it is necessary to collect and prepare for publishing all documents created by the nobility, which participated in assemblies. It applies to all kinds of assemblies, which elected envoys for the Parliament, deputies for the Tribunal, officials and occupied themselves economic problems. Planning this edition we decided to show changes occuring during years 1733–1795 in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It begins with anarchy of the Wettins’ reign, goes through the first reforms of Stanisław August’s reign to the Great Sejm and the fall of the Commonwealth. The suggested chronological range is especially interesting with reference to Kaunas assemblies. During the reign of August III, they were uniquely famous for being ”niezrywalny”, (undissolvable) which meant assemblies always ended with agreement), whereas during the reign of Stanisław August assemblies were a scene of struggles between the court party and Zabiełłos’ supporters.


The social functioning of architecture of selected fragments of public space of urban centres in the Polish territories in the second half of the 19th century (until 1914)”, SONATA, leader: Dr Aleksander Łupienko. The aim of this project is to address the question of social functioning of architecture, i.e. the edifices, monuments and urban compositions of the selected fragments of public space in the centres of the two biggest cities in the Polish territories, namely Warsaw and Lviv. Such issues will be addressed as: 1) the process of creating the selected elements of these spaces and giving them socially comprehensible meanings (with the help of e.g. sculptures, architectural details, styles, the appearance and content of the monuments, composition of urban forms etc.) in the period of restructuring Warsaw as the capital of the renewed Polish Kingdom (from 1815 to 1870s) and changing Lviv during the imperial Austrian rule (from 1840s till 1870) and 2) the reading and decoding of these spaces by the urban inhabitants during the period of subsequent dramatic urban and demographic growth of these cities until 1914. This last period was characterised by complicated political and social situation (the efforts by the Russian partition authorities to make Warsaw look as an ordinary, provincial Russian city, the development of the informal Jewish district, lack of municipal self-rule, and in Lviv: conflicts among the Polish-dominated City Council and Ruthenian community, which was in a phase of emancipation), along with the complicated cultural identity of the Poles, and financial problems of the magistrates.


“The order of gender in Polish academic culture, 1890–1952”, FUGA, leader: Dr Iwona Dadej. The consists in studying the history of Polish academic circles as seen through the lens of the order of gender in a transnational perspective. The project is focused on a group of Polish science women pioneers who, through their research activities and cultural and social activities in the Polish and European contexts, led to a change in the order of gender in academia and in its structures. The studied area covers the place of their academic work (Polish academic institutions and intellectual circles) in the years 1890–1952. The initial date is an approximation, given that women were admitted to university studies in the 1890s and their presence, however small, was accepted in academic structures. The closing date (and at the same time a new opening) is the year 1952 and the establishment of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The final stage of the project consists in the study of the history of Polish science at a time when in the face of political transformations and a new political order regulating all areas of social life, including academia, the previously established organisational structures were subject to change.


Women and men in marriage in Poland in years 1939–1980”, SONATA, leader: Dr Natalia Jarska. The objective of the research is to describe changes in the gender relations and roles in marriage during four decades. The research project focuses on three separated topics: the impact of the Second World War and the occupation on the gender roles in marriage, changes in defining and perceiving misalliance in postwar Poland, as well as the influence of the women’s wage work on the gender relations in marriage. The years 1939-1980 have been selected as a period of deep changes in the gender order in Poland. The research is based on the analysis of large amount of original memoirs, accessible at The Central Archives of Modern Records in Warsaw, as well as published memoirs. The results of the research will help to better understand, what models of marriage did exist in Poland, and how they evolved in recent past, as well as to define cultural changes that took place during war and communism.


„An Uneven Friendship and Its Perception: The Holy Roman Empire and Poland in the Eyes of the Other’s Chroniclers/Authors During the Middle Ages (10th–15th c.)”, POLONEZ, principal investigator: dr Grischa Vercamer. The project aims to collect and analyse the image of the Holy Roman Empire (Germany) and its people among Polish writers and (vice versa) of Poland and its people among German writers in the Middle Ages (10th–15th century). What did they think of their neighbour and in which contexts did they write about their neighbour?


„Annual Fairs in Greater Poland from the Late Middle Ages to the Deluge (1385–1655)”, POLONEZ, principal investigator: dr Anna Paulina Orłowska. The central goal of this project is investigating periodic fairs in Greater Poland in the late middle ages and early modernity (from 1385 to 1655). Periodic fairs in Europe were fundamental in the exchange of goods within the continent as they formed the backbone of European land trade. The focus of my investigation in the fellowship will be placed on Greater Poland functioning as a gateway between East and West in the transalpine Europe. The selected period begins with the year of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, which marks the beginning of a new political and economic entity, and ends with the period of wars against Sweden, which caused heavy damage to the country and radically changed economic conditions. The research questions that should be addressed by this investigation can be summarised in the following points: the manner in which fairs were privileged and established, the manner in which fairs built a far-reaching network, the factors which had an influence on the process of fair formation, with a special focus on what kind of merchandise was traded, the way in which the development of fairs affected development of towns and vice versa, as well as the type of the connection between fairs of Greater Poland and the European fairs network. The outcome of this study should be compared with studies of other European regions in order to place this case study in the European context and determine whether the identified developments were specific to Greater Poland or whether they apply to other regions where similar paths existed.


War damage in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the seventeenth century: comparative analysis of the phenomenon in the territory of Red Ruthenia and Greater Poland in view of seventeenth century economic crisis”, SONATA BIS, leader: Dr Andrzej Gliwa. The main objective of the project research is to determine the scale and scope of the war damage, which affected the area of Red Ruthenia and Greater Poland in the seventeenth century. The accurate designation of the amount of war damage along with the identification of the most devastating enemy incursion, will allow to verify and analyze deeply rooted in polish historiography view of the important role of the extremely disruptive nature of war in the period of Swedish „deluge” and the thesis about the decisive significance of the middle seventeenth century for further economic development of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth associated with it. The outcome of the pilot studies on the war devastation in the area of the Land of Przemyśl in the seventeenth century and the preliminary results of research for Greater Poland in the midseventeenth century, indicate that the processes of economic regression of these regions had a slightly different course and dynamics than portrayed in the existing historical literature. These analyses suggest preliminary hypotheses with the first one stating that the war damage in the first half of the seventeenth century was of much larger scale and scope than previously estimated and the second one undermining the disastrous impact of the Swedish „deluge” on the whole area of the Commonwealth. Another important supposition is that the spatial distribution of the ravages of war in Greater Poland was quite different than in the territory of Red Ruthenia. Concentrated mainly in urban areas in Greater Poland, war damage in Red Ruthenia was focused mainly on rural areas. It was, among others, the result of military strategy of asymmetric warfare commonly used by Tatar hordes. Contrary to the military tactics used by Swedish commanders, the characteristic features of these population-centric military operation were avoiding direct clashes with the Polish troops, targeted killing and abductions of civilians as well as deliberate and indiscriminate damaging of economic infrastructure mainly on rural areas. One of the aims of the research project is to verify these hypotheses in a broader territorial context using GIS technology.


“«Modernity, quality and aesthetics» of home appliances. Turning ideologies into material culture artefacts in late state socialist Poland (1970–1989)”, SONATA, leader: Dr Patryk Wasiak. This project aims to investigate how a range of social actors attempted to turn their own ideologies into material culture artefacts by inscribing home appliances with cultural meanings in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s. The main research objective of the project is to answer the question, how actors which took part in the “politics of consumption” were capable of exercising their agency and influencing other actors in the political, economic and social context of the late state socialist Poland?


“Alberic of Trois-Fontaines and the thirteenth century Cistercian vision of the historical and cultural community of Europe/Christianitas”, leader: Dr Antoni Grabowski. Aim of the proposed research project is to show the vision of the community in the 13th century chronicle of the world written by Alberic of Trois-Fontaines. That is, to discuss how Europe/Latin Christianity is presented on its pages, weather there were certain terms or types of the narratives that were typical for certain lands. What united and what differed them from themselves and what made them stand apart from those who were located outside it.
Chronicle is also unique because of a very specific way of constructing the narration. From the times of Carolingians till the beginning of the 13th century Alberic evokes the consecutive sections of the various texts (naming the source of information). Therefore in his chronicle there are in sequence the passages taken from different sources and more so, Alberic does not have any objection to present sometimes several statements of the many authors on the same happening, even when they are almost identical when it comes to the facts described. This is a unique type of narration and there are no other examples of such.


“The Coming to Terms with Political Corruption and Office Abuse Cases in Poland and the German Democratic Republic during the 1980s. A Historical-Sociological Study”, PRELUDIUM, leader: Jakub Szumski, MA. The objective of the project is to determine what role coming to terms with political corruption and abuse of office cases plays during transformative periods under state socialism. The project analyzes the process of coming to terms with cases of political corruption and abuse of office in Poland and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The timeline of the study begins with the 1970s and ends October 3, 1990 with the German unification. The study focuses particularly on structurally similar transformative periods of the 1980s: in Poland between September 31, 1980 and December 13, 1981 (rewolucja Solidarności) and in the GDR between October 9, 1989 and October 3, 1990 (friedliche Revolution).


Neglected Sources. A Socio-Political History of Poland (until ca. 1320) Based on Liturgical Manuscripts”, SONATINA, leader: Dr Paweł Figurski. The goal of the project is to shed new light on the three areas crucial for Polish historiography: 1) the origins of Piasts’ early medieval state, 2) the ideology of Piasts’ political power, and 3) the restoration of the Polish kingdom ca. 1300, by integrating a hitherto marginalized type of historical source–liturgical manuscripts–into the broader narrative of the political and social history of Poland from the tenth to the beginning of the fourteenth century. Although Polish liturgical manuscripts have been utilized by theologians or scholars interested particularly in religious history, this vital source has never been properly analyzed and utilized by scholars interested in political culture and other social phenomena.


The Portuguese overseas identity in the context of the social network analysis”, PRELUDIUM, leader: Agata Błoch, MA. The purpose of the project is to identify the Portuguese overseas identity in the Atlantic Ocean basin during the period 1642-1755 through the use of a mathematical and informational method called Social Network Analysis. The research is aimed at verifying the nature of the connections between the administrative structures and the inhabitants of the colonial outskirts. Overseas identity is not regarded as a unitary assessment or state, but as a product of relationships formed between social actors. The motivation of the processes of shaping such understood identity was the interaction and cooperation of numerous elements i.e. distinctness, continuity or belonging. As a result, the colonial area of the Portuguese empire will be understood as a system that united individuals too, and not only divided them. The starting point for analyzing social networks will be provided by the concepts of the multi-continental monarchy and oceanic network empire (port. império oceânico em rede). Hence the Analysis of Social Networks, which is a suitable tool for showing this type of viewing the empire.


“Studies on ethnos and race in Poland and the international circulation of knowledge, 1918–1952”, OPUS, leader: Dr Olga Linkiewicz. Until the mid-twentieth century studies of ethnicity and race were a source of an epistemological and political competition between disciplines and scientific schools across Europe and the United States. They simultaneously fueled the rapid growth of modern expertise. As a result, the ubiquitous notions developed in the post-World War One period, such as ethnicity and race, civilization, national character, culture areas and cultural patterns acquired new meanings and became a part of the international circulation of social scientific knowledge. I am interested in understanding how these notions were integrated, domesticated, and altered to fit into debates on a complex relationship between science, modern society, and the state, especially how they interplayed with the local-level ideas of assimilation, citizenship, and patriotism on the one hand, ideological and geopolitical threats on the other. This project explores the development of expertise in anthropology (racial anthropology, ethnology, and ethnosociology) in the Second Polish Republic and seeks to determine the mechanisms of the circulation of international knowledge and the ways the knowledge-related resources were employed by authorities between 1918 and 1958. The studies of ethnicity and race in interwar East Central Europe developed in a close relationship to the German-speaking scholarship, French tradition, and the Anglosphere, as well as often unacknowledged influence of the Soviet project. On the basis of an exhaustive use of archival sources, I will argue that these studies are intimately interconnected with early American Area Studies. More specifically, my project traces links between epistemologies and practices of applied anthropology and empirical sociology in the Second Polish Republic and related social scientific endeavors conducted in the United States from the interwar period up to the early Cold War. The close analysis of knowledge circulation and dissemination focuses on activities of Polish and Polish Jewish scholars who operated along transnational networks. In so doing, I propose a shift of attention toward the “non-Western” arbiters of knowledge and bring into focus the agency of mobility, highlighting its implications in the development of the anthropological and sociological fields as a means of intervening in society.


“Exotic animals in printed pamphlets, 1500–1650”, ETIUDA, leader: Konrad Bielecki, MA. The aim of the project is to determine the significance of early modern prints in the process of cognition, description and visualization of new natural phenomena, such as the appearance of exotic animal species in Europe in 1500–1650. The analysis of sources is aimed at understanding the conditions of processing information by means of iconographic systems and written narrations, as well as defining and categorizing the functions of the ensuing discourses.


“The Polish Courtier at the Jagiellonian court and the elected king’s court. The social position, value system, role model”, OPUS, leader: Dr hab. Bożena Czwojdrak. The project has been designed to explain the unexplored phenomena of the social position, the system of values and the role model of the Polish courtier in the Jagellonian monarchy and in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by elected kings, until the fall of the latter i.e. from 1386, until the abdication of Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1795. The study will be limited only to the royal courts, as we do realize the extent of the subject matter, the time constraints and the difficulties we would encounter when taking into account the Lithuanian courts. In addition, the specifics of the Lithuanian court differ greatly from the process that took place at the court of the Polish Crown rulers and requires a separate examination, which might be another step in our research.

In the light of the present, small, fragmentary and largely intuitive knowledge of the courtesans of the Polish kings, it is possible to put forward a preliminary hypothesis that the social position, the system of values and the role models of the courtiers of Polish were rooted in the pan-European tradition. It means that all those elements had strong cosmopolitan background, adapting itself over time to the original and unique socio-political system of the Kingdom and later of the Commonwealth. This issue was noticed by Łukasz Górnicki while, based on the Italian original, he was preparing his “Dworzanin Polski” (an adaptation of Baltassare Castiglione “Book of the courtier”), which is our inspiration, but also a starting point for the discussion that may lead to completely new and unexpected conclusions.


“Polish-British Relations, 1937–1939”, PRELUDIUM, leader: Marek Rodzik, MA. The main purpose of the project presented for realization in the grant shall be the study of Polish-British relations from the visit of Lord Halifax in Nazi Germany in November 1937 – which initiated the so-called active phase of appeasement policy – to the internationalization of the Polish-German conflict on 3 September 1939 when Great Britain and France joined the war. Although this topic has been the subject of historical research before, mostly in terms of the fact-oriented description of mutual relations, it has not yet been fully clarified what were detailed mechanisms for determining policies by both decision-making centres to their partners. One of those partners was a western empire with global commitments; the other was a state with limited potential yet aspiring to the role of a leader in East-Central Europe. The objective of this project is also a widening of the perspective on mutual perception and expectations of Great Britain and Poland in the period of time delineated above.

The main hypothesis assumes that on the one hand there was no full consent among British policy-makers for the position towards Poland, dependent on the evolving international situation which impacted the process of London’s policy crystallization towards Warsaw. On the other hand, it seems that Poland’s attitude towards British policy was complex: till the turn of March and April 1939, the response to the appeasement policy was ambivalent, whereas after the beginning of closer political cooperation between the two countries, the policy of London was perceived in a multi-perspective manner, not devoid of criticism.


“A Socio-Cultural History of Cancer in Poland after 1945. Institutions. Places, People”, OPUS, leader: Dr Ewelina Szpak. The key research problem under the present project will be the attempt at delineating the dynamics of changes in the perception of selected malignant neoplasms in the Polish society of the 20th century. Among the main research purposes will be: 1. reconstruction of developments in oncology with respect to the state of knowledge and education in Poland along with indication of the efforts and achievements of the medical environment in studies on cancer since the 1920s.; 2. delineation of the dynamics of transformations in the institutional and state aid (health policy) in combating neoplastic diseases in the 20th century.


“Between St. Petersburg and Berlin. The Polish-Lituanian Commonwealth in the shadow of the Prusso-Russian relations in the years of the Confederacy of Bar and the First Partition”, OPUS, leader: Dr Dorota Dukwicz. The principal aim of this project is the analysis of the role played by the affairs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the allied relations of Russia and Prussia. The most important decision, which was agreed between Berlin and St. Petersburg in regard to the Commonwealth was the one concerning the First Partition. It explains why the research into the relations between Berlin and St. Petersburg is – from the Polish point of view – a quest for an answer, who, when and in what circumstances, on what basis and on with what premises, but also why, decided for a partition. Equally interesting will be to answer whether that decision was rational from the viewpoint of each of the partitioning powers, and how it influenced subsequent Polish policy of both courts as well as their mutual relations. Since the historiography of the topic is not unanimous on that issue it is important to check to what extent Berlin’s Polish policy was a result of individual and deliberately chosen aims, and to what extent it resulted from allied dependence on Russia. Can we say – as it recurs in the historiography of the topic – that Prussia was the main force behind the partition? Basing upon my hitherto studies I am inclined to accept a hypothesis that the partition decision was a sovereign decision by St. Petersburg basing, however on false premises due to inadequate assessment of the situation in and around the Commonwealth. I am going to focus on various trends leading to the partition in the Russian politics. I do not belittle the significance of Berlin’s partition pressure, but I consider it less important a factor. Instead, I would like to appreciate the impact of geopolitics and international power ratio on a Russian partition decision. I am going to hint on the Russian-Ottoman War, the situation in Sweden and the European arms race as factors intensifying political tensions about the Commonwealth.

The Prussian diplomatic sources offer the most important evidence for these issues, as Berlin was the main political partner of St. Petersburg, and possessed better knowledge of the Russian actions and objectives than any other court. That is why I would like to study with these sources Russia’s Polish policy, too. Of course, these material will be studies in confrontation with the documents from archives of Moscow and Vienna. The material I am going to research in Berlin, had been published on turn of the 19th century in SIRIO, i.e. Sbornik Imperatorskago Russkago Istoričeskogo Obŝčestva (which is a source collection widely used by historians of the 18th cent.). My earlier experiences with this series show that the edition is neither complete nor accurate. Hence I will examine whether the Russian historians preparing SIRIO manipulated the received text of reports and instructions for the years 1768-1772, for example in order to hide Prussia’s influence on the politics of Catherine II.