Thursday, May 5th: Visions of Emancipation

Please join the European History Workshop on Thursday, May 5th, in 1014 Tisch Hall (4-6pm) for a special panel discussion:

“Visions of Emancipation: Intellectual Mobility in Modern Poland”


From the late nineteenth century on, Polish intellectuals embarked on a number of projects involving the educational mobility of the popular classes. Usually these projects were heavily tainted by the intelligentsia’s paternalism toward “the people.” The “people,” however, also engaged in independent forms of autodidacticism. In both cases, their projects were explicitly contested by guards of the existing order. But what did such democratization mean for intellectuals, peasants, and workers, respectively? Was it possible for the popular classes to rise up the social hierarchy? Did workers’ and peasants’ historical circumstances provide them with the opportunities and support necessary to succeed?  How did the old elites – or the intellectuals who facilitated these ideas – react when their projects were put into practice, often with unforeseen consequences? The panel will examine these issues from a number of angles, from global exchanges of correspondence dealing with the education of peasant girls in the early twentieth century, to the autodidacticism of working-class militants around the 1905 Revolution, to the push among intellectuals to open up higher education to the popular classes after WWII.


Kathleen Wroblewski (PhD Candidate in History, University of Michigan)
Wiktor Marzec (PhD Candidate in Sociology, Central European University)
Agata Zysiak (Visiting Scholar, Sociology, University of Michigan)
Commentator: Brian Porter-Szücs (Professor of History, University of Michigan)

Click here for a copy of the program.