The Polish Jewish Studies Initiative, founded in 2013, is an international and interdisciplinary working group of scholars from the humanities and social sciences involved in research and teaching at the intersection of Polish and Jewish studies.
A collaborative project of the Slavic Studies and History faculties at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Ohio State University, Princeton University and the University of Michigan, the April 2016 Polish Jewish Studies Workshop and conference at UIC is the third in a series of gatherings bringing together international scholars working in Polish Jewish Studies, under the auspices of the broader Polish Jewish Studies Initiative. It follows previous workshops held in March 2014 at Ohio State University and April 2015 at Princeton University, and precedes the fourth workshop scheduled to be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in Spring of 2017.
The goal of these workshops, and of the Polish Jewish Studies Initiative, has been to establish an international forum for communication among scholars working in the developing field of Polish Jewish Studies; to identify theoretical and methodological developments of greatest relevance to new research in the field; and to mark a path for scholars, educators and activists who would like to see the study of Polish and Jewish cultures more intentionally and productively intertwined.
Update: 2nd Annual Int’l Polish Jewish Studies Workshop, Princeton University, April 2015
In April 2015, the Polish Jewish Studies Initiative held its second annual workshop, dedicated to furthering the conversation between scholars and activists who are working at the intersection of these two fields. We met at Princeton University for a two-day session which focused largely on POLIN, the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Participants included those who were closely involved in the development and curation of the Museum, scholars in Polish and Jewish studies who reflected on the potential impact of the Museum, and individuals in related fields who were learning about these developments for the first time. We were pleased to welcome representatives from three major cultural institutions as well – YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York – who contributed their own perspective on program development and advocacy for this field.
The detailed program and list of participants for PJSW 2015 can be found at: pjsw.princeton.edu.
In our second year of coordinating events to promote the intersection of Polish and Jewish Studies, we identified a clear need to open a stronger channel of regular communication and exchange of ideas between scholars in Europe, North America, and Israel. In addition to establishing our own web presence, we will be making active use of existing platforms (such as http://www.pol-int.org), mailing lists, and institutional newsletters relevant to Polish and Jewish Studies. We are planning to hold an intensive seminar in Poland in the summer of 2017, which will bring together researchers from these different geographic contexts. Leading up to this event, we will continue to convene regularly at professional conferences and at our annual workshops. Additionally, the PJSI organized three sessions at the 2015 annual ASEEES convention in Philadelphia (November 19-22, 2015):
“Sciences of Culture, Cultures of Difference: Poles and Jews as Ethnographers and Sociologists, 1920-1950” (Sarah Zarrow, Grażyna Kubica-Heller, Katherine Lebow, Olga Lienkiewicz, Leila Zenderland, Jan T. Gross)
“Polish Jews Come Home: from POLIN the Journal to POLIN the Museum” (Sean Martin, Karen Underhill, Joanna Mazurkiewicz, Nichole Freeman, Irena Grudzińska-Gross)
“Three Histories? Revisiting Polish/Jewish Historiography” (Karen Auerbach, Sarah Zarrow, Joanna Sliwa, Rachel Rothstein, Natalia Aleksiun, Antony Polonsky)