CFP: [International] Contemporary Polish Migrant Culture in Germany, Ireland, and the UK (Germany, January 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Joanna Rostek
contact email: 

Call for Papers
Contemporary Polish Migrant Culture in Germany, Ireland, and the UK
Passau University, Germany, 15-18 January 2009

“Przychodzi baba do lekarza… a lekarz w Anglii.” (Polish joke)

For centuries, migration has been part of Polish history. As recent
developments suggest, leaving the home country â€" be it temporarily or
permanently â€" and seeking a better life abroad is still a common
experience for millions of Poles. The migration patterns, however, have
undergone a significant change, especially after the fall of the Iron
Curtain in 1990: contemporary e/migrants are no longer political
fugitives fleeing from the repressions of a totalitarian regime, but
people departing voluntarily,encouraged by the freedom of movement
granted in a united Europe and the general mobility made possible in a
globalised world. In Germany and the United Kingdom â€" two countries that
have received several waves of Polish emigrants in the past â€" a change in
migration patterns is equally observable: in Germany, Polish migrants
have claimed and attained stronger visibility around the turn of the
millennium, while in the UK, a new wave of Polish migration set in
immediately after Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004,
mainly because Britain counted among the few countries to grant the new
EU citizens free access to its labour market. A similar policy in Ireland
led to a considerable influx of Polish migrants seeking employment on the
liberalised job market there. Moreover, a well-educated and curious
generation of young Poles considers temporal migration as an important
asset for their future careers and thus confidently embarks on the
adventure of living abroad.

So far, substantial research has been carried out in order to illuminate
the sociological, legal and economic implications of recent Polish
migration. What seems to be missing though is a thorough analysis of the
manifold cultural activities of Polish migrants. It is this ‘gap’ that we
would like to fill with a conference on contemporary Polish migrant
culture in Germany, Ireland, and the UK. Relevant questions with regard
to this topic are for instance: what linguistic strategies are used by
the producers of migrant culture? Do the latter aim at fellow migrants,
address Poles back home or seek prominence within the receiving culture?
How do the migrants’ cultural attitudes (auto-stereotypes and hetero-
stereotypes, artistic, political and religious preferences etc.) change
in the wake of migration? Do the cultural activities enhance the
integration of the migrants into the host country or do they serve to
strengthen the bonds within the migrant community? And how does the
receiving culture respond to this new area of cultural production
in its midst? We encourage the submission of papers revolving around
issues such as these and dedicated to culture in a broad sense. We
understand culture as encompassing a wide array of creative activities,
ranging from literature, music, drama, and the visual arts, to
more ‘popular’ cultural phenomena such as newspapers, magazines, radio,
television or the internet.

If you are interested in participating in the conference, we would
appreciate if you let us know via email (; by 3 March 2008. Please include a
preliminary title of the contribution you would like to make and, if
possible, a short abstract of 100 words (please note that all papers
should be held in English). We plan to publish a volume based on the
results of the conference and will also endeavour to cover the costs for
transfer and/or accommodation. Additionally, we hope to gain support from
the Polish Consulate in Munich.

With kind regards,

Prof Dirk Uffelmann; Joanna Rostek

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Received on Wed Jan 23 2008 - 12:49:39 EST