Poland: Old and New

This seminar retraces the history of Poland in the last millennium. We shall start our investigation with the medieval Piast Kingdom of Poland. Next, we shall admire the splendor of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the Jagiellons and other elective monarchs. Then, we shall examine the Commonwealth’s Partitions in the 18th Century and the Polish experience in the 19th century. Further, in the 20th century, we shall focus on the restoration of independent Poland, her travails in the interwar period, her struggles during the Second World War and its aftermath, her trails during the Communist occupation (1944-1990), and her experience as a free nation until the present day. An important stress will be placed on Poland’s culture and politics, their universal and unique dimensions. The objective is to observe the conversion of a uni-ethnic state into a multi-ethnic entity, its disintegration, and reconstitution as a uniform nation in modern times. Required Reading: Norman Davies, God’s Playground: A History of Poland, 2 vols. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982) Adam Zamoyski, The Polish Way: A Thousand-Year History of the Poles and Their Culture (New York and Toronto: Franklin Watts, 1988) Peter Stachura, Poland, 1918-1945: An Interpretive and Documentary History of the Second Republic (London and New York: Routledge, 2004). Andrzej Paczkowski, The Spring Will be Ours: Poland and the Poles from Occupation to Freedom (University Park, Penn.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003)

Principal Professor


   Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Professor of History, The Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies {read more}