Skip to content


Sex during the Cold War: Sex Education in Socialist Poland

Add to calendar 2022-01-13 17:00 2022-01-13 19:00 Europe/Rome Sex during the Cold War: Sex Education in Socialist Poland On Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


13 January 2022

17:00 - 19:00 CET


On Zoom

Organised by

The Queer and Feminist Studies Working Group hosts a talk by Professor Agnieszka Kościańska discussing her book "To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education" (New York 2021). The talk will be followed by a discussion moderated by HEC researcher, Marta Chmielewska.

In To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education, Koscianska looks at how sex education in Poland has changed since the 19th century. The book explores how sex was described in the school curriculum, and how topics of queerness, female pleasure or abortion were approached. Koscianska analyses a variety of textbooks, including those scrapped by the communists for fear of offending religious sentiments. She also examines how the Catholic church retained its power in Poland under various regimes. Koscianska identifies the women and men who changed the way sex was written about in the country, and how they established the field of Polish sex education. Focusing on the post-war period, she explores how the introduction of socialism brought both restrictions in gender rights and new opportunities.

Agnieszka Koscianska is an associate professor in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw and, in 2021 and 2022, Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Oxford School of Global and Area Studies. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, sexual violence, religion, and racism. She is the author of Zobaczyc losia (To See a Moose. The History of Polish Sex Education, 2017, English version Berghahn Books, 2021), Plec przyjemnosc i przemoc (Gender, Pleasure and Violence: The Construction of Expert Knowledge of Sexuality in Poland 2014; English edition Indiana University Press 2021). She was a visiting fellow at Harvard University (2010-2011, Marie Curie fellowship), the New School for Social Research (2006, Kosciuszko Foundation grant), the University of Copenhagen (2005, Danish Governmental scholarship), the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena (2016, 2017-2018) and Edinburgh College of Art (2017, European Visiting Research Fellowship by the Caledonian Research Foundation and the Royal Society of Edinburgh). 

Marta Chmielewska is a second-year PhD researcher at the Department of History and Civilisation interested in labour and gender history, queer theory, and global socialism. Her thesis "Bra Production in Socialist and Post-socialist Small-Town Central Poland: from Cooperation to Competition? explores how the introduction of capitalism influenced transitions in labour organisation, gender order and family lives at the local level. 

Please register in order to receive the ZOOM link.

Scientific Organiser(s):

Marta Chmielewska (EUI)


Agnieszka Kościańska (University of Oxford)

Go back to top of the page