27 August 2012
Second Congress for Foreign Scholars of Polish History: POLAND IN CENTRAL EUROPE, 13-15 September 2012 in Cracow
The Cracow-based section of the Polish Historical Society is pleased to announce the Second Congress for Foreign Scholars of Polish History, to be held on 13-15 September 2012 in Cracow under the leading theme: POLAND IN CENTRAL EUROPE.
The main objective of the meeting is to hold discussions and debates on the subject.
The Second Congress furnishes an opportunity to discuss future perspectives and current research challenges, as well as the issues of teaching and popularization, and is designed to facilitate the integration of scholars and institutions engaged in the study of Polish past and Poland’s historical connections with its neighbors.
The Congress is once again to be held in the Royal City of Cracow. Thanks to the involvement local institutions devoted to the teaching of history, participants will be able to visit a number of important historic sites, including those normally off-limits to the average tourist.
Foreign scholars from Europe and across the world, as well as Polish researchers, are all welcome to attend.
"Following in the tradition of the first congress, which took place in 2007, it is our goal to provide a venue for the exchange of experiences among international scholars involved in the field of Polish history. We extend our invitation to academics involved in the study of particular thematic fields, individuals engaged in the transmission of knowledge on the history of Poland and the region, as well as teachers and lovers of history. The call for submissions is addressed not only to historians, but also to other scholars in the humanities and social sciences, as well as representatives from research institutions and organizations which award grants and fellowships. Journalists, museum workers, graduate and postgraduate students – in short, all those who consider the study and popularization of Polish history in Central Europe important – are likewise welcome".
The program of the Congres will consist of 38 sessions, held over three days (13-15 September 2012) and designed to bring together more than 300 international speakers and panelists in the field of Polish and Central European history.
The program of the Second Congress is based on the meaning of “Central Europe” in its historically changing boundaries and conceptualizations. This conceptual framework serves to provide a reference point for the main sessions, which focus on “parallel histories”, i.e. histories which depict the most important aspects of political, social and cultural life in Central Europe across the ages in a comparative perspective. In order to show the paths taken by Poland and its neighbors on a large scale, the organizers decided not to follow a rigid chronological or geographical order. Therefore, the sessions will focus on the political ties in Central Europe and their place in respective national historiographies, the role of superpowers and the instruments of expansion in the region, the propaganda of power and its representations, the Polish migration experience approached from a comparative vantage point, and religious history. The perspective of parallel histories will likewise lay the basis for innovative sessions focusing on the subject of small towns, everyday life and the culture of cuisine, which remain largely unexplored in our research to date.
The exploration of parallel histories is also supplemented with a discussion of the regional creative identity as it expressed itself in art and music.
This section is designed to explore the musical ties between Central European towns at the beginning of the last century, as well as the role and significance of the Polish avant-garde in Central European art.
The parallel histories approach focuses on the long time span, and therefore needs to be accompanied by a glance on more recent history. Accordingly, another section of the Congress consists of a series of panels focused on contemporary events and tendencies in the region. These will include debates on the role of Central European countries on the international arena since 1989 and the transformations that they have undergone in the wake of the fall of communism. The manner in which Polish history is presented in the textbooks of neighboring countries will be looked at; attention will be given to the presence of history in cinema, television and the Internet. The past and its place in the present are also the main theme of the “Heritage and Memory” panel, moderated by the International Cultural Center in Cracow, as well as the focus of the opening debate on the role of the historian in public life, the discussion on Central Europe from a journalistic perspective, and the analysis of its representations in 20th century historiography.
For the first time, the organizers decided to devote a separate session to the contemporary historical narration conducted by municipal museums, which are ever more active in the shaping of global and local communities. The session will be presided over by the National Historical Museum of Cracow, and participants will include representatives from a number of Central European museums; they will attempt to approach the myth and model of a Central European town from the viewpoint of their respective museums and municipalities. Yet another session will take up the subject of the cultural landscape of Cracow in the 20th century.
The heritage of Central Europe is inseparably linked with Jewish history and culture, which is the focus of two special sessions, one devoted to the fate of the local Jewish community after the Holocaust, and the other to contemporary Polish-Jewish relations.
Debates held during the Congress will directly translate into the present and future research on Central Europe, and a number of special meetings will be organized in order to advance this objective. These will be devoted to research grants and fellowship programs for Central European scholars, the editing of historical sources on the region, the Polonica in European archives, and the role of historical websites, as well as providing an opportunity for the directors of Central European historical research institutes to exchange their experiences and good practices. Relevant foundations will be laid during a session devoted to the methodological reflection on the past in the contemporary humanities.
An innovative cycle entitled “Microhistory – gender ¬– oral history” is designed to cover a number of subjects which still remain in the margins of historical research in Central Europe.
Finally, the program includes meetings intended to bring together scholars in particular historical periods; these will be held according to a club formula to facilitate the sharing of experiences and ideas among the participants. In addition, two awards for the best historical book will be presented at the Congress: Pro Historia Polonorum and the Wacław Felczak and Henryk Wereszycki Prize. The Congress will also include a Historical Book Fair organized by Targi w Krakowie, a student session, a PhD student symposium and many other accompanying events.
The program thus fulfills the goals and objectives of the Second Congress; it comprehensively serves to advance the understanding of Central European history in all its complexity, and to set out perspectives for regional development, identity transformation, and the role of Poland in modern Europe.
Program - download