The Polish Studies Association

 PSA Awards

Travel Subvention

Each Year the Polish Studies Association contributes $00 to bring a scholar from Poland to the United States to deliver a paper at the Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

The Aquila Polonica Prize

The biennial Aquila Polonica Prize is given to the author of the best English-language article published during the previous two years on any aspect of Polish studies. The award carries a $500 honorarium (thanks to the generous support of Aquila Polonica Publishing, which specializes in publishing the Polish experience of World War II), and is announced at the National Convention of the Association for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies.

2011 Winners

Magda Romanska, "Between History and Memory: Auschwitz in Akropolis, Akropolis in Auschwitz," Theatre Survey 50 (2009): 223-250.

This article succeeds taking a relatively difficult and opaque subject, Grotowski’s 1962 re-staging of Wsypianski’s Akropolis against the background of Auschwitz, both accessible and rewarding for readers who are not specialists in Polish theatre. While Romanska’s analysis remains grounded in theatre, and her conclusion is ultimately about theatrical production, she raises many questions about history, memory, and national mythology that most readers will want to learn more about. What is particularly impressive is the scope of the article, which ranges over the entire twentieth century; she might have written solely on the 1926 staging of Akropolis or Grotowski's production in the 60s. Instead, she's honed in Grotowski while providing the reader the necessary background to understand the play, its different productions, and relevant shifts in Polish history from the play’s genesis in the early 20th century to the most recent staging in 2001. Anyone interested in the representation of Wawel or Auschwitz, the work of Wyspianski, Borowski, or Grotowski, or in modern theatrical production would be interested in this article. Romanska’s work makes a convincing argument that we need to be paying more attention to theatre in Poland, and we are happy to name her the co-winner of the 2011 Aquila Polonica Prize.

Michael Fleming, "The Ethno-Religious Ambitions of the Roman Catholic Church and the Ascendancy of Communism in Post-War Poland (1945-1950)," Nations and Nationalism 16 (2010): 637-656.

Much has been learned in recent years about the role of both the Catholic Church and of the communists in the consolidation of nationalism in postwar Poland. But whereas most accounts so far focus either on the nationalist agenda of the Church or on the nationalist agenda of the communists, Michael Fleming shows how the two were intimately, if unintentionally, intertwined. Through archival work on Church activities in the so-called “recovered territories,” Fleming shows how the Church, in the immediate postwar period, helped create a host of alleged enemies of Polishness. Through an innovative development of the concepts of “anger regime,” or the way state stability requires the creation of others on which to channel social discontent, and “centrifugal nationalism,” or the way nations are created by exacerbating social cleavages, Fleming shows how the PPR presented itself as the agent best able to subdue those enemies. Instead of being the greatest threat to communist power, the Church here is seen as inadvertently easing the communists’ ascent to power. For his research, argument, and eloquent exposition, we are happy to name Michael Fleming the co-winner of the 2011 Aquila Polnonica Prize.

Honorable Mention

Robert Brier, "Adam Michnik's Understanding of Totalitarianism and the West European Left: A Historical and Transnational Approach to Dissident Political Thought," East European Politics and Societies 25 (2011): 197-218.

In this piece Robert Brier takes us farther into a new approach to Cold War historiography, which emphasizes the transnational and discursive elements of intellectual and political history. In his case study of the use of the word “totalitarianism” in the 1970s, Brier shows how Adam Michnik (and by extension other like-minded members of the opposition) leveraged the term at the same time that Western Marxists turning away from it for ideological reasons. Examining the dialogic nature of Michnik’s writing in the context of both the West German Ostpolitik and the French radical left, Brier demonstrates that Michnik’s discourse functioned simultaneously as an intervention into policies of détente and the utopianism of „Eurocommunism.” This article provides a useful reminder that we need to account for the transnational flow of information and ideas at all levels of discourse in order to properly understand the development of dissident philosophy and practice in Eastern Europe. For this work we are pleased to award Robert Brier with an honorable mention in the 2011 Aquila Polonica Prize.

Previous Winners


The Kulczycki Prize

Starting in 2011, the Polish Studies Association will co-sponsor, along with the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, the annual Jerzy and Aleksandra Kulczycki Book Prize. To be eligible, a book must be an original work published outside Poland in English (i.e., not a translation), dealing with any aspect of Polish Studies. Comparative or transnational works will be considered only if Poland is the primary site of study. Strong preference will be given to younger scholars. 

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