Organizers

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KAREN UNDERHILL

Karen Underhill is Assistant Professor of Polish Literature and Polish-Jewish Studies in the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on Jewish and Polish modernisms, multilingual Polish culture, and the work of Bruno Schulz, about whom she is currently completing a book entitled “Bruno Schulz and Jewish Modernity”.

IRENA GRUDZIŃSKA - GROSS

IRENA GRUDZIŃSKA – GROSS

Irena Grudzińska – Gross is a Research Scholar at Princeton University, she teaches East European literature and history. Her books include a volume of essays “Honor, Horror and Classics,” “Golden Harvest” (with Jan T. Gross),”Czesław Miłosz and Joseph Brodsky: Fellowship of Poets,” and “The Scar of Revolution: Tocqueville, Custine and the Romantic Imagination.” She has also edited several books on literature and the transformation process in Central and Eastern Europe, and is the author of numerous book chapters and articles on these subjects published in the international press and periodicals. Between 1998-2003, she was responsible for the East-Central European Program at the Ford Foundation. 

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JESSIE LABOV

Jessie Labov is Associate Professor in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at Ohio State, where she teaches courses on comparative Central and Southeastern European literature and culture. Her research concerns cross-border transfer of texts in a variety of settings, with a focus on Cold War culture, underground and émigré literature, and film. Her co-edited volume, Samizdat, Tamizdat and Beyond: Transnational Media During and After Socialism, came out in 2013 with Berghahn and her monograph,  Transatlantic Central Europe: Contesting Geography Beyond the Nation, will be published by CEU press this fall.

Agnieszka Rudzińska, Instytut Adama Mickiewicza, Warszawa

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GENEVIÈVE ZUBRZYCKI

Geneviève Zubrzycki is Associate Professor of Sociology, Director of the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies, and Director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Michigan. She is currently Chair of the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Culture Section. Professor Zubrzycki studies national identity and religion; collective memory and mythology; and the debated place of religious symbols in the public sphere. Her award-winning book, The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland (University of Chicago Press, 2006), was translated into Polish in 2014 (Nomos) and she has recently completed a historical ethnography of national identity in Quebec (Beheading the Saint: Nationalism, Religion and Secularism in Quebec, University of Chicago Press). This academic year she’s a fellow Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at Michigan, where she is at work on a book manuscript on the “Jewish turn” in Poland, tentatively entitled : Resurrecting the Jew: National Identity, Philosemitism, and the Politics of Memory in Contemporary Poland. She has published several articles on the topic, most recently in Comparative Studies in Society and History (2016)

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BOŻENA NOWICKA-McLEES

Bożena Nowicka-McLees is a Polish language and literature instructor and Director of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She earned her M.A. in Polish Language and Literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ms. McLees is experienced in teaching and developing Polish language, literature and culture curriculum. In addition to her work at Loyola, she has taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Harper College. Ms. McLees has focused on connecting the evolving academic programs in Poland with the existing network of schools, educational institutions and Polish American organizations in Chicago, to promote interest and understanding of Polish culture as well as the acquisition and maintenance of heritage language skills. She has collaborated with Poland’s State Commission in providing examination for the Certification of Proficiency in Polish as Foreign Language and with the Chicago’s Sister City Warsaw Committee in leading the Educational Exchange Subcommittee. She was a co-founder and Board Member of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, 2012-2015, and a co-founder of the Polish Film Festival in America in 1988.

ASSISTANT ORGANIZERS:

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ANDRZEJ BRYLAK

Andrzej Brylak is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literature Department. He graduated from Jewish Studies at the Jagiellonian University. As a freelance journalist he wrote on issues such as, Revolution in Ukraine, Israeli Literature, and independent journalism in Belarus for titles like Znak Monthly and Krytyka Polityczna. He is a Graduate of Mi Dor Le Dor Jewish heritage educators and leadership-training program. He worked as an educator and researcher at Taube Center for Jewish Life Renewal in Poland. His academic interest include: Polish Literature in Israel, dynamics between Polish, Jewish and Ukrainian Literatures and identities, Contemporary Jewish writing, and Postcolonial Theory.

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AGNIESZKA JEŻYK

Agnieszka Jeżyk is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures Department. She graduated from Journalism and Polish Literature and Culture at the Jagiellonian University, where she was a recipient of the Scholarship of the Minister of Science and Higher Education. For couple of years she used to work as a freelance journalist, editor and PR specialist, working for institutions such as Onet.pl, SIW Znak and Universitas Publishing Houses. She initiated and organized three graduate students conferences in Poland and US and participated and co-organized numerous others. Her academic interests revolve around issues such as love and erotic discourse, masculinities and femininities, body and corporeal experience in modernist and contemporary culture, everyday life under socialism (with the emphasis on fashion and music) and Polish-Jewish and Polish Avant-Gardes of the interwar period.