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Poland – Between Anti-Imperial Traditions and Imperial Temptations. Lessons of Eastern European Geopolitics

Dates:
  • Fri 15 Apr 2016 17.30 - 19.00
  Add to Calendar 2016-04-15 17:30 2016-04-15 19:00 Europe/Paris Poland – Between Anti-Imperial Traditions and Imperial Temptations. Lessons of Eastern European Geopolitics

Polish memories of Eastern European empires function within a specific historical framework. Poland: too big and strong (culturally and politically) to accept the role of a minor state, yet too small and weak to play effectively the role of a big power – especially between Russia and Germany. So it has been playing a role of a specific imperial spoiler, a black hole, where imperial ambitions of neighboring empires (Russian/Soviet or German/Austrian) perish: this is how a geopolitical role of historical Poland – especially in the past two centuries – is understood by many contemporary historians and political scientists (Geoffrey Hosking, Andreas Kappeler, Svyatoslav Kaspe, Timothy Snyder, Roman Szporluk, Nikolai Zamiatin). Polish historical narratives, mostly connected to the experiences of the Russian (then the Soviet) empire, and contrasted to a predominant vision of a specific Polish political culture – a republican one, with individual liberties of free citizens in its centre, tend to accept an anti-imperial interpretation. There is, however, another tradition, or “temptation” – to see Poland as the core of an alternative imperial system, beginning with the united Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and then again – to a degree – the Polish II Republic between 1918 and 1939 as a regional rival to the Soviet empire. And how does it look now? What is the role the new government in Poland aspires to play in geopolitical shifts of early twenty-first century Eastern Europe? Is Poland an imperial victim again (of the EU or Germany, or Putin’s Russia)? Or a center of a new imperial dream (“Intermarium” – from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to Ukraine and Romania)? These are the questions I would be happy to discuss with European students in Florence.

Sala Belvedere DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala Belvedere

Polish memories of Eastern European empires function within a specific historical framework. Poland: too big and strong (culturally and politically) to accept the role of a minor state, yet too small and weak to play effectively the role of a big power – especially between Russia and Germany. So it has been playing a role of a specific imperial spoiler, a black hole, where imperial ambitions of neighboring empires (Russian/Soviet or German/Austrian) perish: this is how a geopolitical role of historical Poland – especially in the past two centuries – is understood by many contemporary historians and political scientists (Geoffrey Hosking, Andreas Kappeler, Svyatoslav Kaspe, Timothy Snyder, Roman Szporluk, Nikolai Zamiatin). Polish historical narratives, mostly connected to the experiences of the Russian (then the Soviet) empire, and contrasted to a predominant vision of a specific Polish political culture – a republican one, with individual liberties of free citizens in its centre, tend to accept an anti-imperial interpretation. There is, however, another tradition, or “temptation” – to see Poland as the core of an alternative imperial system, beginning with the united Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and then again – to a degree – the Polish II Republic between 1918 and 1939 as a regional rival to the Soviet empire. And how does it look now? What is the role the new government in Poland aspires to play in geopolitical shifts of early twenty-first century Eastern Europe? Is Poland an imperial victim again (of the EU or Germany, or Putin’s Russia)? Or a center of a new imperial dream (“Intermarium” – from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to Ukraine and Romania)? These are the questions I would be happy to discuss with European students in Florence.


Location:
Sala Belvedere

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Organiser:
Prof. Luca Molà (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Prof. Laura Lee Downs
Corinna Ruth Unger

Discussant:
Bohdan Shumylovych (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Contact:
Laura Borgese (EUI - Department of History and Civilization) - Send a mail

Speaker:
Andrzej Nowak (Jagiellonian University)
 
 

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