Focus on Polish and East European Studies

This area of study is designed for students seeking to explore the language and culture of a nation that increasingly plays a key role in the European Union and its economy.   Students may wish to explore their own heritage, to expand their knowledge of Poland’s rich history and culture, or to develop skills that will help them pursue future professional goals in journalism, law, business, politics, etc., in contemporary Poland.  Students may combine this major or minor with a thematically related major in History, Jewish Studies, International Studies, Religious Studies, Political Science, etc. or they may combine it with any other major or pre-professional track (pre-med, journalism, engineering, pre-law, economics, communications, etc.).

This area of study introduces students to a major cultural, intellectual and economic center of what was until recently known as the Soviet or Eastern Bloc.  As such, it complements literature, culture, and language courses in the Slavic department and courses in other departments with an emphasis on Russia, Jewish studies, and/or Eastern Europe. Students frequently incorporate study abroad in Poland, either as preparatory work prior to study abroad or as an opportunity for further exploration afterwards.

The major or minor with a Polish focus is designed to give students fundamental competence in Polish language (optional for the minor) and knowledge of Polish literature, history and film. Students will understand processes of societal integration and disintegration over several generations of changing political, social and cultural regimes. Students will also familiarize themselves with contemporary culture and will develop intercultural communication skills. 

This focus affords students the opportunities to explore the work of Nobel Laureates Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska, important writers and intellectual figures including Witold Gombrowicz, Bruno Schulz, Hanna Krall, Ryszard Kapuściński, Zbigniew Herbert, and Adam Michnik, and acclaimed directors such as Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polanski and Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Sample/Suggested classes

4 courses at the 200 level:

  • SLAVIC 208-1 Intermediate Polish Lang & Culture
  • SLAVIC 208-2 Intermediate Polish Lang & Culture
  • SLAVIC 208-3 Intermediate Polish Lang & Culture
  • SLAVIC 261     Heart of Europe: Poland in the Twentieth Century

4 courses at the 300 level:

  • SLAVIC 358  Polish for Advanced and Native Speakers
  • SLAVIC 392  Eastern European Literature and Visual Arts: History of Polish Film
  • HIST 346 East-Central Europe since 1945
  • HIST 349 History of the Holocaust