Agnieszka Pasieka and Paweł Rodak, “Rethinking Modern Polish Identities: Transnational Encounters” (U Rochester Press, 2023)

Anti-Semitic or philo-Semitic? Backward or modern? Locally rooted or diasporic? “Polishness” is too often flattened to an oversimplified list of either-or propositions. But a critical look at the multiple, contradictory versions of “Polishness” circulating in the modern era helps us to make sense not only of Poland’s past and present, but of a whole host of global problems: from the failures of multiculturalism, to the mutual misunderstandings of different communities claiming the same identity, to the insidious prejudice sometimes lurking within egalitarian projects. 

Conceived and curated as a collaborative encounter by anthropologist Agnieszka Pasieka and historian Paweł Rodak, Rethinking Modern Polish Identities: Transnational Encounters (University of Rochester Press, 2023) challenges conventional wisdom and serves up a range of scholarly essays that are sure to change the way that students and scholars alike think about Poland, Eastern Europe, and some of the biggest challenges facing the modern world.

Piotr H. Kosicki is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Catholics on the Barricades (Yale, 2018) and editor, among others, of Political Exile in the Global Twentieth Century (with Wolfram Kaiser). His most recent writings appeared in The Atlantic and in Foreign Affairs.

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