The interwar Polish discourse on colonies and colonialism intersected with the European one but had also specific Polish characteristics. Looking at both, the discourse and the expedition, I will examine the degree of collaboration between the administration and scientists. Doing so, I will discuss the relationship between transnational and national factors, especially the impact of the existence or non-existence of a nation state on the process of knowledge production.
Colonial Questions and Colonial Science? Anthropology and the State in Interwar Poland
A talk held in the framework of the Prisma Ukraïna Workshop “Transnational Conversations: Scientists and the Big Questions of Twentieth-Century History”, 25 June 2018 in Berlin.
In my presentation, I will address the relationship between science and colonialism in interwar Poland. Scrutinizing an article written by the leading Polish anthropologist Jan Czekanowski in 1937, and analysing a Polish scientific expedition to Uganda in 1939, I will point to two crucial characteristics in the Polish colonial discourse: the effort to invent a colonial tradition on the one hand, and to implement modern elements of social engineering on the other.