POLISH 330 - Poland from the Medieval to the Modern
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Polish (POLISH)
Department: LSA Slavic Languages & Literatures
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

For hundreds of years, the Polish-Lithuanian Republic was the largest country in Europe, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and encompassing most of what we now call Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine. It was a paradoxical place. On the one hand, its social system was marked by an enormous gap between the rich and the poor, and the overwhelming majority of the population consisted of serfs deprived of legal rights and subjected to the unchecked authority of the nobility. On the other hand, the country was governed by an elected parliament and the nobles enjoyed rights and liberties almost unheard of in pre-modern Europe. After the late 16th century, even the king was elected rather than hereditary. As the Reformation was tearing Europe apart with confessional violence, the Polish-Lithuanian Republic was a refuge of relative toleration and peace. But whatever the merits or weaknesses of this unusual state, it proved incapable of withstanding the rise of absolutist monarchies in the countries surrounding it. After decades of increasingly aggressive interference in the Republic’s internal affairs, Russia, Prussia, and Austria joined together in 1795 to wipe Poland entirely off the map.

Rather than ending this particular story, however, the country’s partition only launched a new era, as a vibrant nationalist movement began a century-long struggle for the restoration of Polish independence. Meanwhile, the institutions of serfdom collapsed under the pressure of the industrial revolution, and the economy of the country began to slowly but steadily modernize. By the start of the 20th century, when this class comes to a close, it was clear that Poland would remain a presence in European affairs. The story of the new, modern Polish state that re-emerged in 1918 is continued in History 331, “Poland in the 20th and 21st Centuries.”

Course Requirements:

There will be no exams, but there will be short quizzes during every class session, so regular attendance is mandatory. Students must contribute once a week to a course blog. An i-clicker is required for this class.

Intended Audience:

Everyone: no prior knowledge is required or expected.

Class Format:

The course will include two lectures and one discussion section each week.

POLISH 330 - Poland from the Medieval to the Modern
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (DIS)
W 10:00AM - 11:00AM
003 (DIS)
W 11:00AM - 12:00PM
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