Geneviève Zubrzycki

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Genevieve Zubrzycki

Institute Fellow

Office Location(s): 2111 Thayer Building
Phone: 734.763.9047
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  • About

    Geneviève Zubrzycki studies national identity and religion, national mythology, collective memory and the politics of commemorations, and the place of religious symbols in the public sphere. Her work combines historical and ethnographic methods, and considers evidence from material and visual culture.

    Her book, The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland (University of Chicago Press, 2006) received the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Book Award in the Sociology of Religion; the Orbis Book Prize, awarded annually by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies to "the best book in any discipline, on any aspect of Polish affairs"; and the Polish Studies Association’s Kulczycki Best Book Award.  It was recently published in Polish (Nomos, 2014).  Other articles received awards from the American Sociological Association’s sections on Political Sociology, Sociology of Culture, and the Collective Behavior and Social Movements section.

    Zubrzycki is now extending her research agenda in two directions:

    She continues investigating the relationship between religion, nationalism and state (re)formation in Beheading the Saint: National Identity, Religion and Secularism in Quebec, a monograph on the genesis and transformation of French Canadian/Québécois national identity from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, with specific attention to the secularization of national identity during the 1960s’ Quiet Revolution.  She accomplishes that by tracing the career of St John the Baptist, the national patron saint, in processions, parades and protests, but extends her analysis to recent debates on immigration and secularism.

    She also pursues her analysis of religion’s role in symbolic boundary-making in a book-length study of the current revival of Jewish communities in Poland and non-Jewish Poles’ interest in all things Jewish.  She has published on both projects in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2012) and Theory and Society (2014). 

    Her research has been funded by grants and fellowships from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the American Sociological Association, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l’Aide à la Recherche (FCAR, Quebec).  In addition to her regular appointment at the University of Michigan, she frequently lectures at other institutions in North America and Europe.  She was visiting professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (2011, 2013), was a member of the “Terrorscapes in Postwar Europe research group,” funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), and is now a member of the a research group on “Polish Vernacular Culture in Comparative Perspective: Memory, Imagination and Practices of Resistance,” Sponsored by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the University of Warsaw.

    Professor Zubrzycki is the director of the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies and associate director of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.

    Recent publications (selection):

    • Krzyze w Auschwitz. Tozsamosc narodowa, nacjonalizm i religia w postkomunistycznej Polsce. Kraków: NOMOS, 2014. *Polish translation of The Crosses of Auschwitz.
    • “Aesthetic Revolt and the Remaking of National Identity in Quebec, 1960-1969.” Theory and Society, 42:5, 423-475, 2013. *Received Honorable Mention for Best Article Award from the American Sociological Association’s Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section (2014).
    • “Religion, Religious Tradition and Nationalism: Jewish Revival in Poland and ‘Cultural Heritage’ in Quebec.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51:3, 442-455, 2012.
    • “History and the National Sensorium: Making Sense of Polish Mythology.” Qualitative Sociology, 34: 21-57, 2011. *Awarded the Clifford Geertz Prize for Best Article, Sociology of Culture Section, American Sociological Association (2011).
    • “Narrative Shock and (Re)Making Polish Memory in the Twenty-first Century,” in Memory and Postwar Memorials: Confronting the Violence of the Past, ed. Florence Vatan and Marc Silberman (New York: Palgrave, 2013), 95-115.
    • “Negotiating Pluralism in Québec: Identity, Religion and Secularism in the Debate over ‘Reasonable Accommodation’” in Religion at the Edge: Toward a New Sociology of Religion, ed. Courtney Bender, Wendy Cadge, Peggy Levitt and David Smilde (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 215-237.
    • “What is Pluralism in a ‘Monocultural’ Society? Considerations from Post-Communist Poland,” in After Pluralism: Re-imagining Models of Interreligious Engagement, ed. Courtney Bender and Pamela Klassen (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 277-295.
    • “National Culture, National Identity, and the Culture(s) of the Nation,” in Sociology of Culture: A Handbook, ed. Laura Grindstaff, John R. Hall, and Ming-cheng Lo (New York: Routledge, 2010) 514-529.
    • “Nationalism and Religion: A Critical Reexamination,” in A New Companion to the Sociology of Religion, ed. Bryan S. Turner (Oxford: Blackwell, 2010), 606-625.


  • Education
    • Ph.D. University of Chicago, 2002
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Resurrecting the Jew: Philosemitism, Pluralism and Secularism in Contemporary Poland