Peter Polak-Springer F'10, F'09

Peter  Polak-Springer
Assistant Professor
Qatar University

Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowships 2010
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Making “Recoveries”: The Cultural Politics of Territorial Appropriation in a German-Polish Industrial Borderland, 1922-1971

This project examines the development of a Polish-German transnational political culture of territorial appropriation over a half-century based on the case-study of the Upper Silesian Industrial District. First, it focuses on how the bilateral national “cold war” over this borderland during the interwar era spurred the cultivation of revanchist discourses, acculturation programs, symbolic landscapes, and particular groups of Polish and German elites devoted to agitating for the territory. Second, it explores how these factors served as the supporting and legitimating basis of the war- and postwar-era violence and ethnic cleansing that occurred in this borderland, as well as the totalitarian-minded regimes that promoted it. Finally, it examines the immediate and long term effects of this revanchist cultural politics, and the more violent and disruptive processes it supported, on the populace of the Industrial District and the wider societies of Poland and Germany.

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Doctoral Candidate
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Making "Recoveries:" The Cultural Politics of Territorial Appropriation in the German-Polish Upper Silesian Borderland, 1922-1971.

This project examines consecutive Polish and German programs to nationally appropriate and bring high-national culture and ethnic standardization to a linguistically diverse Upper Silesian border area of strongly regionally-oriented character and identity. It examines a half-century of Polish-German rivalry over this region during which a constant set of regional elites worked for democratic, authoritarian, and totalitarian (Nazis and Polish communists) governments to shape national landscapes and bodies by way of acculturation and ethnic cleansing. The dissertation examines multimedia (i.e. press, film, radio) forms of propaganda, urban landscape construction, grass-roots forms of mass-mobilization and schooling, and how the local population received these efforts aimed to remake their identity and consciousness.