16th Conference June 8-23, 2018

The sixteenth edition of the conference/seminar series “Recovering Forgotten History: The Image of East-Central Europe in English-language Academic and Text Books” took place in Krakow and Warsaw on June 8-23, 2018. The main organizer from the Polish side was the Foundation of Civic Space and Public Policy. Coordinators from the American side were Prof. Andrzej Kamiński, founder of the conference series; Prof. James Collins from Georgetown University; Prof. John Merriman from Yale University; and director Peter Kracht from the University of Pittsburgh Press.

In 2018, the conference was organized under the auspices of the national patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda on the 100th anniversary of Polish independence; Patronage of the Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin; and honorary patronage of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The sponsors and partners of the conference were: the Polish National Foundation, PGNiG Foundation, The Department of History at Georgetown University, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, Polish History Museum, and the Center for East European Studies at the University of Warsaw.

The sessions took place in Krakow and Warsaw. In addition, a specially organized sightseeing program allowed conference guests to visit Krakow and Warsaw, Museum and Memorial Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Lubomirski and Potocki Palace and the synagogue in Łańcut, The Ulma Family Museum in Markowa, sites in Sandomierz, Radom, Zakroczym, as well as the the Museum and Cemetery in Palmiry. We regard this tour program to important Polish historical sites as being an essential element of the conference series about which our guests are invariably enthusiastic.

Due to the generous support of the PGNiG Foundation, several sessions were also held at the headquarter of PGNiG, where guests had the opportunity to visit the Gas Industry Museum in Warsaw. Our guests were welcomed by Piotr Woźniak, president of PGNiG, who handed out medallions commemorating the 100th anniversary of Poland`s independence that were especially prepared for this occasion. One session was organized in the Matejko Hall of the Royal Castle at the invitation of Prof. Wojciech Fałkowski, director of the Royal Castle. Our guests were treated to a tour of the Royal Castle after the session.

The guests also met with Prof. Wojciech Fałkowski, director of the Royal Castle, Robert Kostro, director of the Polish History Museum, and Michał Laszczkowski, deputy director of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute,.

The sessions were attended by the authors and editors of the discussed books, as well as 33 experts representing leading scientific institutions in Poland, Germany, Ukraine, and Hungary. Discussions were led by Prof. Andrzej Kamiński, Prof. John Merriman, and Prof. Adam Kożuchowski.

Discussed texts:

  1. Eliyana Adler (Pennsylvania State University), Exile and Survival: Polish Jewish Refugees in the Soviet Union During World War II, Harvard University Press
  2. Vanya Bellinger (US Army War College), Von Clausewitz’s Last Campaign: Cholera, the Campaign of 1831, and the Lessons Never Written Down, Oxford University Press
  3. Eunice Blavascunas (Whitman College), Of Forests and Time: An Ethnography of the Bialowieza Forest, Indiana University Press
  4. James Felak (University of Washington), John Paul II’s Pilgrimages to Poland, 1979 to 1991, University of Pittsburgh Press
  5. Maciej Górny (Polish Academy of Sciences), Science Embattled: Eastern European Intellectuals and the Great War, Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh
  6. Łukasz Krzyżanowski (Freie Universität Berlin), Ghost Citizens: Jewish Return to a Postwar City, Harvard University Press
  7. Catherine McKenna (Georgetown University), Liberty’s Double-Edged Sword: The Liberum Veto and the Destruction of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, University of Pittsburgh Press
  8. Jaroslaw Piekalkiewicz (Kansas University – retired), Dance with Death: A Holistic View of Saving Polish Jews During the Holocaust, Rowman & Littlefield
  9. Tatyana Tairova (St. Petersburg State University), Ivan Mazepa and the Russian Empire, McGill-Queen's University Press
  10. Iryna Vushko (Hunter College), The Lost Fatherland: Europeans between Empire and Nation States, 1867-1939, Oxford University Press
  11. Andriy Zayarnyuk (University of Winnipeg), Switching Tracks: Lviv Railway Terminal’s Journey Through the Twentieth Century, University of Toronto Press
  12. Joshua Zimmerman (Yeshiva University), Piłsudski: History of a Life, Biography of a Nation, Harvard University Press

The conference’s primary goals are meaningful discussions and substantive criticisms of the texts, as well as preparation of the best manuscripts for publication, thanks to which it contributes to increasing knowledge about Poland, its history, and culture. At the same time, it raises the authors` and publishers` awareness of Polish and Central European perspectives of the past and present.

The fact that the relevant publishing houses have delegated representatives to participate in the conference series for many years is a guarantee that the conference is able to implement its long-term goals, such as raising the level of knowledge about Poland abroad, engaging the interest of Western readers, as well as verifying numerous opinions and stereotypes. This year, as in the past, the invited authors and publishers were genuinely grateful to the experts for their insightful comments and thoughtful remarks.