CFP: Polish-Jewish Relations after Shoah (6/5/03; collection)

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


Contributions are sought to a collection of essays on the subject of
Polish-Jewish relations in the aftermath of the Shoah. We are
particularly interested in including texts that mobilize a wide range of
theoretical vocabularies, including philosophical, psychoanalytic, and
literary approaches (e.g. post-structuralism and deconstruction;
Levinas-inspired ethics; Freudian and post-Freudian approaches to
trauma, mourning, witnessing etc.; cultural studies work on race,
national identity and ethnicity, to name but a few).


The project was originally inspired by the publication of J.T. Gross’
book Neighbors, in which he writes about the murders of hundreds of Jews
by their Polish neighbors in 1941, in the town of Jedwabne, and the
resulting public discussion about Polish-Jewish relations. The
controversy revealed that the Holocaust memory in Poland is a memory in
conflict, while questions about the role of Poles in the pogroms and
Polish attitudes toward the Jews remain largely untheorized, despite a
number of ardent exchanges on the topic. At the same time, the debate
surrounding Gross’ book drew attention to the multiple images of Poland
and Polishness circulating in diasporic stories of survival, migration
and return, on both sides of the Atlantic.

While the issue of Jedwabne remains the nodal point of our book, we are
particularly interested in questions concerning the representations of
Jews and Jewishness in the Polish cultural and historical imaginary (for
example, in terms of loss, absence, mourning or nostalgia; in the
context of Polish national narratives of heroism, oppression and
liberation; in relation to anti-semitic topoi, etc.) and, conversely,
Jewish representations of Poles and Poland (for example, Poland as the
place of origin and the site of trauma, a graveyard, an absent presence,
an imaginary homeland reconfigured in terms of narratives of exile and
survival, of brotherhood and betrayal). We want to start by posing the
following questions: Are forgiveness and reconciliation between Poles
and Jews possible or even desirable, and what do these terms mean,
considering the post-Shoah history of irreconcilable differences? Can
Poles bear witness to Jewish suffering, or are they false witnesses? On
the other hand, to what extent is the Jewish narrative of continuing
survival grounded in the foreclosure of the Polish narrative? Further,
what is the effect of that exclusion on the popular imagination, as
reflected in recent cultural productions? What is the relation between
Poland’s effort to come to terms with its Jewish legacy and the changing
geo-political configurations in Europe?

Please email a proposal of 500 words to both
- Dr Dorota Glowacka (Associate Professor of Contemporary Studies,
University of King's College, Canada)
- Dr Joanna Zylinska (Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies, University of
Surrey Roehampton, UK)
before 5 June 2003.

Contributors will be notified about the acceptance of their papers at
the beginning of July 2003. The deadline for the submission of final
chapters will be January 2004.

--Dr Joanna ZylinskaReviews Editor for Culture Machine, Lecturer in Cultural StudiesSchool of Humanities and Cultural StudiesUniversity of Surrey RoehamptonDigby Stuart CollegeRoehampton LaneLondon SW15 5PHUK =============================================== From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List Full Information at or write Erika Lin: ===============================================Received on Tue Apr 29 2003 - 22:17:08 EDT