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Doctoral dissertation project of Aleksei Lokhmatov

Reflections on Continuity in Polish Intellectual Culture: Transborder Perspective of Post-war Public Discussions (1945 – 1956) (working title)

After the Second World War three centres emerged in Europe which claimed to be legitimate representatives of Polish culture and to continue the Polish national tradition: The Polish Republic under Soviet domination, London as the seat of the exiled government, and Paris where many Polish intellectuals gathered soon after the Second World War. The Polish intellectuals were faced with the necessity to reconsider the main points of the discussion on cultural continuity under the new conditions. The Polish philosopher and writer Stanisław Brzozowski had written still in the beginning of the 20th century: “the nation is a kind of continuity of will which sustains, raises and realizes itself”, having mentioned that “cultural continuity is impossible without the assimilation of the former cultural achievements by each new generation.” With the independence, Polish intellectuals plunged into a fierce public debate on cultural and historical identity, deepening and developing the concept of cultural continuity. The Second World War yet again radically changed the European political and intellectual landscape and shaped a completely new situation for rethinking the issues of cultural identity.

I will examine the concepts of cultural and political continuity which were coined by Polish scholars and writers who took part in the public discussions in the three European centres of Polish intellectual and cultural life after World War II. Under the term “continuity”, I understand the concepts which were formulated within these disputes and had to inscribe the post-war realities into the course of the Polish cultural and political tradition. In my research, I will concentrate on the debates in cultural journals which were, in all three centres, an important mediator between scholarly or literary communities and the broader public. In contrast to the existing historiographical tradition, I will be especially interested in the continuation and the development of the interwar debates and will examine these three centres not as separate from each other but in the context of their common intellectual genealogy and cross-border discussions during the early Cold War.


Short biography

Aleksei Lokhmatov earned his BA-degree in History at Moscow State Pedagogical University in 2016. During his studies, Aleksei conducted a research project on confessional issues in the “Western Region” of the Russian empire in 19th century. His BA-thesis was dedicated to the political and intellectual self-determination of different groups of the Polish Catholic Intelligentsia after the Second World War. From 2016 to 2018, Aleksei Lokhmatov studied History of Knowledge at the Higher School of Economics. In Cologne, he became the first alumnus of the double degree master program Cultural and Intellectual History between East and West (CIH). He received his M.A.-degree in CIH with the thesis Constructing a United Public Sphere in ‘People’s Poland’: Institutional and Ideological Strategies in 2017 and at the Higher School of Economics with the thesis Forming the Intellectual Profile of Post-War Poland: Institutional and Conceptual Aspects (1945–1948) in 2018. In 2017, Aleksei worked as an assistant researcher at Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (Moscow). Since April 2018, he is an EUmanities fellow at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduated School for the Humanities. Since 2018, he is teaching at the Slavic Institute. Since Oct. 2018, Aleksei is an associated fellow at the Herder-Institut für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung. The Project is supevised by Prof. Maike Lehmann (University of Cologne) and Prof. Maciej Górny (The Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences).

Contact: alokhmat(at)smail.uni-koeln.de



Auf dem Weg zur „Einheit“: Józef Chałasiński und die Suche nach einer „erlaubten“ Genealogie der Soziologie im Nachkriegspolen (1945 – 1951), in: NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin (accepted for publication).

The “Scientific View” of the Intelligentsia: The Literary Roots of Scholarly Public Debates in Post-War Poland (1946 – 1948), in: HISTORYKA. Studia Metodologiczne T. 49, 2019, pp. 77–100.

Review of Science Overcoming Borders, ed. by Věra Dvořáčková, Martin Franc. Masarykův ústav a Archiv AV ČR: Praha, 2018, in: Acta Poloniae Historica, Volume 119, 2019, pp. 350 – 357.

Theory in Action: French Personalism in the Public Debates of Post-war Poland, in: Reliģiski-filozofiski raksti XXV, 2019. pp. 277 – 293.

Conceptualising “Anti-Zionism”: Piasecki’s Group as an Intellectual Resource for the 1968 Antisemitic Campaign in People's Poland, in: Europa Orientalis. Studi e ricerche sui paesi dell'Est europeo, 38 (2019), pp. 103 – 118.

Obraz SSSR v refleksii Pol’skoi katolicheskoi intelligentsii (1945—1948), in: Alexander V. Golubev (ed.): Rossiia i mir glazami drug druga, M.: IRI RAN, 2017, pp. 201 – 214. (The Image of the Soviet Union in the Reflection of the Polish Catholic Intelligentsia, 1945—1948)

«Nemeckii vopros» v refleksii pol’skoi katolicheskoi intelligentsii (1945 – 1948 gg.), in: Vera D. Ken: Seminar / Seminar / Seminarium: Sbornik statei: Raboty pobeditelej Deviatogo otkrytogo konkursa studencheskikh i aspirantskikh rabot «Aktual'naja nauka» (Sovetskii Soiuz, Pol’sha i drugie strany Tsentral’noi i Vostochnoi Evropy v mirovoi politike XX veka) pamiati O.N. Kena, vyp. 4 (9), Sankt Peterburg: OOO «Izdatel’sko-poligraficheskaia kompaniia «KOSTA», 2017, pp. 89—103. (The ‘German question’ in the Reflection of the Polish Catholic Intelligentsia, 1945—1948)

Pol’skaia katolicheskaia intelligentsiia i ideologiia marksizma: Stanovlenie «otnoshenii» (1945 – 1948), Clio-science: Problemy istorii i mezhdistsiplinarnogo sinteza: Sbornik nauchnyh trudov, vyp. VII. M.: MPGU, 2016, pp. 186—193. (The Polish Catholic Intelligentsia and Marxist-Ideology: The Formation of Relations)

Pol’skaia katolicheskaia intelligentsiia v 1945 – 1948. Politicheskoe i dukhovnoe samoopredelenie, in: I. Aleshkovskii / A. Andriianov / E. Antipov (ed.).: Materialy Mezhdunarodnogo molodezhnogo nauchnogo foruma ‘Lomonosov-2016’, M.: MAKS Press, 2016 [electronic resource]. (The Polish Catholic Intellectuals between 1945 and 1948. Political and Spiritual Self-Determination)

Chelovek kak simvol, ili obraz arkhiepiskopa Evlogiia (Georgievskogo), «vossoedinitelia uniatov» Vostochnoi Galitsii (1914—1915), in: Svetlana Y. Rafalyk (ed.): Clio-science: Problemy istorii i mezhdistsiplinarnogo sinteza: Sbornik nauchnyh trudov, vyp VI, M.: MPGU, 2015, pp. 169—181. (A Man as a Symbol, or the Image of the Archbishop Evlogy (Georgievsky), the ‘Unitor of Uniates’ in Eastern Galicia, 1914—1915)

«Novyi format» vossoedineniia uniatov ili «spasenie dush» v Vostochnoi Galitsii (1914—1915 gg.), in: Elena Y. Bolotova (ed.): Rossiia v mirovykh vojnah XX veka: Problemy sokhraneniia istoriko-kul’turnoi pamiati, Volgograd: «Blank», 2015, pp. 112—118. (A ‘New Format’ of the Uniates Reunion or the ‘Salvation of Souls’ in Eastern Galicia, 1914—1915)

Dva podkhoda k resheniiu «uniatskogo voprosa» v Zapadnom krae (tsarstvovanie Nikolaia I), in: Vsevolod E. Voronin (ed.): Kliuchevskie chtenija 2014. M.: «Sputnik», 2015, pp. 145—151. (Two Approaches to the ‘Uniat Question’ Solution)



Polish Social Sciences in the European Academic Landscape: The Public Debates on the Genealogy of Sociological Approaches in Post-War Poland (1945–1956), 12 – 13 February 2020, Polish-German History. A New Historiographical Field and its Contribution to the History of Europe, Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris; Centre scientifique de l’Académie polonaise des sciences; École des hautes études en sciences sociales;

‘Historical Truth’ in Constructing New Social Realities: The Perspective of Intellectual History, 18 – 20 September 2019, The 2019 AHRC DTP Conference on “Trust and Truth”, Peterhouse College (University of Cambridge);

The First Scientific Congress in Poland and the Public Debates on the Genealogy of Polish Social Sciences, 12 July 2019, workshop “South/Eastern and Central European Histories of Science and the Humanities, Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien”, University of Erfurt;

Bolesław Piasecki: Tricks of Self-Performance in Retrospect, 6 – 9 December 2018, The Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies Annual Convention, Boston;

Theory in Action: French Personalism in the Intellectual Landscape of Post-war Poland, 4 – 5 October 2018, conference “Socio-Political and Religious Ideas and Movements in the 20th – 21st Centuries”, the University of Riga;

The “Scientific View” of Continuity in the Public Discussion in the Polish Republic after World War II (1945-1948), 22 June 2018, conference “Soviet States and Beyond: Political Epistemologies of/and Marxism 1917-1945-1968”, Higher School of Economics (Moscow);

Conceptualizing “Anti-Zionism”: Piasecki’s Group as an Intellectual Resource for the 1968 Anti-Semitic Campaign in People’s Poland, 7 June 2018, “AltrEurope 2018 I Sessantotto delle altre Europe”, University of Padua;

The Problem with Forming the ‘New Culture’ in the Intellectual Discussions of Post-war Poland, 14 December 2017, Conference in memory of Oleg Ken, Saint Petersburg Institute of History of Russian Academy of Sciences / The Polish Institute in Saint Petersburg;

Intellectuals and Power in Postwar Poland (1945—1948), 13 February 2017, round-table discussion “Humanities and Authoritarianism in the 20th Century”, Higher School of Economics (St Petersburg);

The Image of the Soviet Union in the Public Space of Postwar Poland” (1945—1948), 3 February 2017, conference “Russia and the World: the History of Mutual Reception”, the Institute of Russian History of Russian Academy of Science (Moscow);

The Polish Catholic Intelligentsia: Political and Spiritual Self-Determination (1945—1948), 15 April 2016, conference “XXIII International Conference for Young Scholars: Lomonosov 2016”, Lomonosov Moscow State University;

Two Approaches to the ‘Uniat Question’ Solution, November 2014, conference “Kljuchevskie chteniia 2014”, Moscow Pedagogical State University.


Teaching experience

Winter semester 2018/19

Advanced seminar “Intellectual History zwischen Geschichte und Philologie”, with Prof. Jörg Schulte, Slavic Department, University of Cologne.

Summer semester 2018

Block seminar “Die kulturelle Renaissance der 1960er Jahre”, with Prof. Jörg Schulte, Slavic Department , University of Colgone.


Cover photo: Barak na placu Trzech Krzyży. Zdjęcie Zofii Chomętowskiej z 1945 r. (Zofia Chomętowska/FUNDACJA ARCHEOLOGIA FOTOGRAFII) // Portrait photo: Patric Fouad

a.r.t.e.s. EUmanities has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 713600.

Call: H2020-MSCA-COFUND-2015 | Proposal: 713600 – artes EUmanities
CORDIS: http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/203182_de.html