This event is a part of YIVO's series Knowledge Under Siege, which presents recent scholarship from Poland about the Holocaust and antisemitism. Each event features scholars discussing a recent book they worked on.
Breaking the Frame. New School of Polish-Jewish Studies, edited by Irena Grudzinska Gross, Konrad Matyjaszek, introduced by Jan T. Gross (Berlin: Peter Lang Verlag, 2022).
“Breaking the Frame: New School in Polish-Jewish Studies” edited by Irena Grudzinska Gross and Konrad Matyjaszek is a collection of the most incisive texts of the New School of Polish-Jewish Studies, a direction of critical thinking in Polish-Jewish history and in Holocaust studies. In facing the Holocaust, the New School opposes two intellectual frames. One of them is the framework of Polish nationalism, built around the myth of Polish innocence that either conceals or justifies centuries-old antisemitism. The other is the post-Cold War conviction that the history of Polish Christians’ anti-Jewish violence is an obstacle to Poland’s Western future and that the history of that structural violence should be told as the country’s harmonious and tolerant past. The authors of the volume reformulate the terms and conditions of discourses in history, cultural and literary studies, and other fields of research. Addressing the anti-Jewish violence perpetrated through Polish history, the book is founded on a thought that past violence can be overcome and prevented in the future if it is documented and worked through – intellectually as well as emotionally – together with its cultural context.
About the Speakers
Irena Grudzinska Gross is Professor in the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw. Previously, she taught at Emory, New York, Boston and Princeton Universities. She is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. She researches issues of war and violence in modern and contemporary European literature. Among other books, she has published “The Scar of Revolution: Custine, Tocqueville and the Romantic Imagination” (1995); “Czeslaw Milosz and Joseph Brodsky: Fellowship of Poets” (2009); and, with Jan T. Gross, “Golden Harvest: Reflections on Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust” (2012).
Konrad Matyjaszek is an architect and cultural studies scholar working at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. His work focuses on architecture and urban spaces, Polish discourses of antisemitism and narratives of urban modernization. He published “Produkcja przestrzeni zydowskiej w dawnej i wspolczesnej Polsce” [The production of Jewish space in premodern and contemporary Poland] (2019), a history of Poland’s urban Jewish spaces and of cultural and spatial repression that defined their shape throughout centuries.