We are pleased to announce a presentation and a discussion on the book
by dr hab. Anna Sosnowska-Jordanowska
(Univeristy of Warsaw)

“Explaining Economic Backwardness. Post-1945 Polish Historians on Eastern Europe”
(Central European University Press 2019)

The guest speakers participating in the discussion will be:
prof. dr hab. Tomasz Zarycki (University of Warsaw)
prof. Józef Böröcz (Rutgers University)

Thursday, December 19, 2019
at 4:00pm

Refreshments will be served after the discussion.



American Studies Center, room 317,
al. Niepodległości 22, Warsaw.



The book presents an exciting episode in the intellectual history of Europe: the vigorous debate among leading Polish historians on the sources of the economic development and non-development, including the origins of economic divisions within Europe. The monograph covers nearly fifty years of this debate between the publication of two pivotal works in 1947 and 1994.

Anna Sosnowska provides an insightful interpretation of how local and generational experience shaped the notions of post-1945 Polish historians about Eastern European backwardness, and how their debate influenced Western historical sociology, social theories of development and dependency in peripheral areas, and the image of Eastern Europe in Western, Marxist-inspired social science. Although created under the adverse conditions of state socialism and censorship, this body of scholarship had an important repercussion in international social science of the post-war period, contributing an emphasis on international comparisons, as well as a stress on social theory and explanations. Sosnowska’s analysis also helps to understand current differences that lead to conflicts between Europe’s richest and economically most developed core and its southern and eastern peripheries. The historians she studies also investigated analogies between paths in Eastern Europe and regions of West Africa, Latin America and East Asia.

More details can be found here.


Anna Sosnowska-Jordanowska is a sociologist and an associate professor at the American Studies Center. Her research focuses on the impact of migrations from Eastern Europe and other world’s peripheries on the American cities in the post-industrial era. She is an author of the books: “Zrozumieć zacofanie. Spory historyków o Europę Wschodnią (1947-1994)”, TRIO 2004 and “Polski Greenpoint a Nowy Jork. Gentryfikacja, stosunki etniczne i imigrancki rynek pracy na przełomie XX i XXI wieku”, Wydawnictwo Naukowe SCHOLAR 2016. She recently published Polish Female Immigrant Niche in Studia Migracyjne-Przegląd Polonijny 2017 and “Explaining Economic Backwardness. Post-1945 Polish Historians on Eastern Europe”, Central European University Press 2019.

Tomasz Zarycki is a sociologist and social geographer currently holding the position of the Director of Institute for Social Studies (University of Warsaw). He is specializing in sociology of politics, sociology of culture, sociology of knowledge, critical sociology and discourse analysis with particular focus on Polish and Eastern European societies. His books include “Ideologies of Eastness in Central and Eastern Europe” (Routledge, 2014), “Peryferie. Nowe ujęcia zależności centro–peryferyjnych” (Scholar, 2009), “Kapitał kulturowy. Inteligencja w Polsce i Rosji” (Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego 2008), “New Regional Identities and Strategic Essentialism. Case studies from Poland, Italy and Germany” (co-author, Münster: LIT Verlag, 2007), „Region jako kontekst zachowań politycznych”, (Scholar 2002). His articles appeared in such journals as Current Sociology, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, East European Politics and Societies, Europe-Asia Studies, GeoForum, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Kultura i Społeczeństwo, Russian Education & Society, Theory and Society, and several others.

Józef Böröcz is a sociologist, currently Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. His interests include narrative and visual sociologies of historical experiences, politics and performing arts, knowledge and otherness, larg-scale (indeed global) transformations, and intersections of political economy, geopolitics, coloniality, ethics, aesthetics and power. He is the author of “The European Union and Global Social Change: A Critical Geopolitical Economic Analysis” (Routledge, UK, 2009, also published in Hungarian, Kalligram 2018), “Hasított fa: A világrendszerelmélettől a globális struktúraváltásokig” (l’Harmattan, 2017) “Leisure Migration: A Sociological Study on Tourism” (Pergamon Press, 1996), co-editor of and contributor to three collections: “El ultimo europeo: Imperialismo, xenofobia y derecha radical en la Unión Europea” (Madrid: La oveja roja, 2014) and “Empire’s New Clothes: Unveiling EU-Enlargement”, (published by the online journal Central Europe Review, 2001), “A New World Order? Global Transformation in the Late 20th Century” (Greenwood Press, 1995), and “Gender and Nation” (a Special Block in the journal East European Politics and Societies). His most recent journal publications include “Performing socialist Hungary in China: ‘modern, Magyar, European’.” Cold War History, 2018, 2 (April 30) and (with Mahua Sarkar): “The Unbearable Whiteness of the Polish Plumber and the Hungarian ‘Peacock Dance’ Around ‘Race’.” Slavic Review. 76, 2 (Summer 2017).

American Studies Colloquium Series

January 21, 2021 at 4:45pm, Online; Refugees and Racial Capitalism: What “Integration” in the US Labor Market Means?

January 20, 2021

This talk by Elizabeth Cullen Dunn focuses on the situation of refugees during the COVID-19 epidemic, by discussing the example of the American meatpacking industry, which relies heavily on refugees resettled by the US Department of State.

Year 2020/2021

January 25, 2021 at 5:00 p.m., Online; Weird Space Junkies: Speculations on the Psychedelic

January 20, 2021

In this lecture, Jędrzej Burszta proposes to examine the cultural history of psychedelic science fiction in the United States, focusing on the legacy of the 1960s New Wave movement.

American Studies Colloquium Series

January 28, 2021 at 4:45pm, Online; Cyberfeminism, an Orthodox Version in North America: Social Media as a Counterpublic Transformative Space of Religiosity

January 19, 2021

Our next guest, Jessica Roda from Georgetown University will give a talk on the usage of social media by ultra-Orthodox women, as a tool for the development of cyberfeminism(s) in the transformative counterpublic space reinforcing religious norms and authority.

Year 2020/2021

January 18, 2021 at 5:00 p.m., Online; The Ur-Savage: The Anthropological Horror of Green Inferno and Bone Tomahawk

January 18, 2021

This lecture aims to elaborate on the problem of presenting indigenous people as a threat in current horror cinema, and to analyze it through the lenses of growing racist and far-right ideologies in the USA.


Festival “Imagining the Future” – call for proposals

January 14, 2021

Students and the university staff of the University of Warsaw are invited to take part in Festival “Imagining the Future” at the Sorbonne University, which focuses on issues of coexistence of humans and the environment.