General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Society and Culture in Postcommunist Poland
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Izabella Main
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Semester 2021/2022 (winter)
Duration 30


Module aim (aims)

Give knowledge about social history and culture of different groups in People’s Republic of Poland during subsequent decades· Develop ability to critically asses different discourses about life choices during People’s Republic of Poland· Develop skills to compare individual and group experiences across decades and generations· Provide a base to study and discuss differences existing between „Western” societies and „Soviet Block” in relation to everyday life

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)


Week 1: Introduction Week 2: The beginnings: authorities and society after the war Week 3: Leader cult, new holidays Week 4: The visit to the Museum of Poznan 1956Week 5: The Catholic Church and society Week 6: Polish-German relations Week 7: Nowa Huta. New architecture and art Week 8: Labour heroes, new manWeek 9: Women in CommunismWeek 10: Everyday lifeWeek 11: Strikes, protests, opposition Week 12-13: Visiting Poznań - sites of communism Week 14-15: Summary: memories and myths about People’s Republic of Poland

Reading list

Ash, Timothy Garton. The Polish Revolution: Solidarity. New York: Vintage Books, 1985.Behrends, Jan C. "Exporting the Leader: the Stalin Cult in Poland and East Germany (1944/45-56)." In The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships. Stalin and the Eastern Block, ed. by Balazs Apor et al. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004, 161-178.Fidelis, Malgorzata. The New Proletarians: Women Industrial Workers and the State in Postwar Poland 1945-1957, PhD Diss, Stanford University, 2006 (a selection).Gluza, Zbigniew (ed.) The Days of Solidarity. Warsaw: Karta Center Foundation, 2000.Kersten, Krystyna. Poles' Responses to the Realities of 1944-1947: Questions for Consideration. Intermarium 1/1.Kula, Marcin. "Communism as Religion." Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6, no. 3 (2005): 371-381.Lebow, Katherine Anne, Nowa Huta, 1949-1957: Stalinism and the Transformation of Everyday Life in Poland’s “First Socialist City,” PhD Diss, Columbia University, 2002 (a selection).Main, Izabella. "The Weeping Virgin Mary and the Smiling Comrade Stalin. Polish Catholics and Communists in 1949." In Public Spheres in Soviet-Type Societies, ed. by Gabor T.Rittersporn et al. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lange, 2003, 255-278.Paczkowski, Andrzej. "The Poles and Their Past: Society, Historiography and the Legislation Process." East European Studies 64 (2001).Toranska, Teresa. "THEM" Stalin's Polish Puppets. Translated by Agnieszka Kolakowska. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1987 (Julia Minc, Edward Ochab)