Magda Szcześniak

Magda Szcześniak
University of Warsaw | UW · Institute of Polish Culture

Ph.D.

About

54
Publications
2,481
Reads
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17
Citations
Introduction
My research focuses on the politics of representing class structures and economic systems, and the question of how class identities are modelled through cultural representations. Whereas in my first monograph I examined the postsocialist transition in Poland,I am now investigating the complexities of socialist class politics, particularly representations of upward and downward social mobility. I am also interested in the political efficacy of images produced by minorities and subjugated groups.
Additional affiliations
August 2019 - May 2020
Duke University
Position
  • Fulbright Visiting Scholar
October 2015 - present
University of Warsaw
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • Assistant Professor of cultural studies, Program Leader of MA in Visual Culture.
Education
October 2008 - April 2015
University of Warsaw
Field of study
  • Cultural Studies
October 2003 - June 2008
University of Warsaw
Field of study
  • Cultural Studies

Publications

Publications (54)
Article
According to the famous statement by Robert Musil, ‘there is nothing in this world as invisible as monuments, attention runs down them without stopping for a moment.’ However, the moment when they suddenly become visible as the centre of intense social conflicts, it is difficult to believe they had been invisible for so long. This article analyses...
Book
The book is devoted to the role of visual culture in the post-socialist transformations in Poland. Focusing on the performative role images played in the introduction and entrenchment of free-market capitalism and the emergence of the Polish middle class, which replaced the industrial working class in the position of the most important collective c...
Article
Full-text available
The article engages in a discussion with Martin Müller’s article In Search of a Global East through the categories of class and class distinction. While recognising the potential political value of the “Global East” project, the author questions the ideological mechanisms which naturalize the stereotype of “Eastness as forsakenness.” As she points...
Article
Based on close readings of diaries published in two volumes from the series Młode pokolenie wsi ludowej (ed. J. Chałasiński), the article analyzes ways of representing emotions generated by the experience of post-war upward mobility. Using theoretical tools put forward by historians of emotions (Reddy; Stearns) and critical theorists (Ahmed; Willia...
Article
Full-text available
The article is devoted to peasant protests organized in the period of the post-socialist transition in Poland. The mainstream public sphere is reluctant to bring up the memory of these protests, suppressed as it is by the story of the transition as a period of reveling in capitalism and building a civil society. The author views the radical protest...
Article
Full-text available
A conversation about Sianne Ngai's latest book "Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgement and Capitalist Form" (2020), which explores the uneasy mix of attraction and repulsion produced by the gimmick across a range of forms specific to capitalist culture.
Article
A conversation about Sabine Hake's interdisciplinary three-volume study on the proletarian imaginary in German culture from the 1860s to the 1960s.
Article
The article is devoted to peasant protests organized in the period of the post-socialist transition in Poland. The mainstream public sphere is reluctant to bring up the memory of these protests, suppressed as it is by the story of the transition as a period of reveling in capitalism and building a civil society. The author views the radical protest...
Research Proposal
Full-text available
Call for papers for issue 30 of "View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture" / "Widok. Teorie i praktyki kultury wizualnej" devoted to classed visual cultures and the politics of representing class structure, hierarchy, and conflict.
Article
Full-text available
The article analyzes two ‘genre-bending’ films – Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames (1983) and Jill Godmilow’s Far from Poland (1984) – as unique spaces of reflection on the temporality of revolution and revolutionary politics of emotion. Drawing on Jonathan Flatley’s work about creating and refreshing revolutionary moods, the author shows how both fil...
Article
Introduction to issue 26 “Empathic Images”.
Article
Wprowadzenie do numeru 26 „Empatyczne obrazy”.
Article
A transcript of the discussion "Image Lessons. Visual Pedagogies in Troubled Times", which took place at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw on December 18, 2018.
Article
Rozmowa artystek: Anny Baumgart, Poli Dwurnik i Honoraty Martin z badaczką kultury wizualnej, Magdą Szcześniak o kwesitach związanych z wizualnymi autobiografiami, sztuką kobiet, strategiami zapisu własnych hisorii, współpracą i oporem.
Article
Introduction to issue 22 ”How to See the Anthropocene”.
Article
An analysis of the 7th edition of the Polish queer festival "Pomada" devoted to non-normative pasts and queer archives.
Article
Analiza 7 edycji queerowego festiwalu "Pomada" poświęconego nienormatywnym przeszłościom.
Article
Wstęp do numeru 22 "Zobaczyć antropocen".
Book
An edited volume of essays devoted to modern and contemporary Polish visual culture, includes three main theoretical essays (Image - Public - Seeing) and shorter essays on specific phenomena, including: melodrama, counterfeit, billboard, "the naked lady", banner.
Book
A collection of historical essays by scholars working on Polish visual culture - although not identifying themselves as scholars of visual culture - supplemented by critical comments. The goal of the book is to come up with a critical genealogy for the field of visual culture studies in the local context.
Article
Full-text available
An essay accompanying the visual presentation "Protesting Images".
Article
Rekomendowane przez redakcję nowości wydawnicze.
Article
Introduction to issue 17 "Protesting Images".
Article
Tekst stawia pytania o sposoby przedstawiania protestu i protestowania przez obrazy w najnowszych pracach młodych polskich artystów, których prace prezentujemy w "Punkcie widokowym".
Article
A chapter from the book Kultura wizualna w Polsce. Spojrzenia [Visual Culture in Poland. Looks], ed. Iwona Kurz, Paulina Kwiatkowska, Magda Szcześniak, Łukasz Zaremba (Fundacja Bęc Zmiana, Instytut Kultury Polskiej UW: Warsaw, 2017). The essay is devoted to protest imagery in Polish culture - from avant-garde painting to contemporary, vernacular vi...
Article
Wstęp do numeru 17 "Protest obrazów".
Article
Full-text available
Esej wizualny analizujący kulturę wizualną polskiej transformacji ustrojowej przy użyciu pojęcia "realizmu kapitalistycznego".
Chapter
Full-text available
The article examines a peculiar lack in Polish critical art of the 1990's - the lack of the topic of class - and asks about the reasons behind this erasure in a field so invested in the topic of marginal identities and equality.
Article
Full-text available
The article analyzes the visual mechanisms of building the new Polish middle class during the system transition. During the transition, images and visual codes allowed the budding middle class to communicate their class status, as well as recognize other members (or aspiring members) of this new social group. Simultaneously, images were used to dis...
Article
Wstęp do numeru 11 "Realizm kapitalistyczny. Transformacje polskiej kultury wizualnej lat 80. i 90.".
Article
Wstęp do numeru 11 "Realizm kapitalistyczny. Transformacje polskiej kultury wizualnej lat 80. i 90.".
Article
The article analyzes the visual mechanisms of building the new Polish middle class during the system transition. During the transition, images and visual codes allowed the budding middle class to communicate their class status, as well as recognize other members (or aspiring members) of this new social group. Simultaneously images were used to dist...
Article
Conversation with Nicholas Mirzoeff revolving around the themes from his latest book "How to See the World" (2015).
Article
Introduction to issue 11 "Capitalist Realism. Transformations of Polish Visual Culture in the 1980's and 1990's".
Article
Introduction to issue 11 "Capitalist Realism. Transformations of Polish Visual Culture in the 1980's and 1990's."
Article
Conversation with Nicholas Mirzoeff revolving around the themes from his latest book "How to See the World" (2015).
Article
The article analyzes the visual mechanisms of building the new Polish middle class during the system transition. During the transition, images and visual codes allowed the budding middle class to communicate their class status, as well as recognize other members (or aspiring members) of this new social group. Simultaneously images were used to dist...
Article
Artykuł analizuje wizualne mechanizmy budowania nowej klasy średniej w okresie polskiej transformacji ustrojowej. W transformacyjnej kulturze wizualnej obrazy pełnią rolę kodów, za pomocą których aspirujący do klasy średniej komunikowali swoje istnienie i status, a także rozpoznawali siebie nawzajem. Równocześnie jednak obrazy wykorzystywano do wyd...
Article
Artykuł analizuje wizualne mechanizmy budowania nowej klasy średniej w okresie polskiej transformacji ustrojowej. W transformacyjnej kulturze wizualnej obrazy pełnią rolę kodów, za pomocą których aspirujący do klasy średniej komunikowali swoje istnienie i status, a także rozpoznawali siebie nawzajem. Równocześnie jednak obrazy wykorzystywano do wyd...
Article
Full-text available
The article considers camouflage and masking as tactics of queering the dominant regime of visibility. Departing from queer critiques of visibility voiced by such theoreticians as Peggy Phelan, Lee Edelman, Rosemary Hennessy, and Hito Steyerl, the author poses the question of what would it mean to queer visibility in a way which wouldn't force quee...
Article
A conversation revolving around Francis Alÿs's exhibition Reel-Unreel, presented at the CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, from October 11, 2014, to January 11, 2015, curated by Ewa Gorządek.
Article
Wprowadzenie do numeru 5 "Queer obrazy".
Article
Introduction to issue 5 "Queer Images."
Article
Full-text available
On February 16 2011 the Warsaw supplement to "Gazeta Wyborcza" contained a text by Agnieszka Kowalska describing the unrealized mural by Karol Radziszewski. The composition was to have been located in the Warsaw Uprising Museum and its execution was entrusted to the young artist in 2009. Radziszewski prepared a project showing the insurgents perfor...
Article
A conversation with W.J.T. Mitchell devoted to the theme of iconoclasm in his work.
Article
Zapis dyskusji seminaryjnej wokół projektu fotograficzno-teoretycznego dr Tomasza Szerszenia "Ty. Ja. Rzeczy" z udziałem badaczy i artystów zainteresowanych kulturą wizualną, designem, fotografią, literaturą, kulturą popularną. Dyskusja skupia się na rozumienie archiwum jako przedmiotu badań i jako praktyki badawczej i artystycznej, omawiane są kwe...
Article
Artykuł śledzi przemiany społecznego funkcjonowania rzeczy w Polsce w okresie tzw. transformacji ustrojowej. Skupiając się na kategorii podróbki, autorka pokazuje proces wykształcania typowych dla kapitalizmu zachodniego waloryzacji towarów w rzeczywistości postkomunistycznej. Przywołanie klasycznych rozpoznań Marksa na temat fetyszyzmu towarowego...
Article
Recenzja książki Jonathana Crary'ego "24/7. Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep" (Verso Books, London 2013).
Article
Full-text available
The dominating strands of historiographical writing on non-normative sexual behaviors and relations are based on a need to identify historical ancestors of contemporary minority groups. This assumption is most often essentialist and defines identity as a stable, immutable, an almost biological entity. Drawing attention to the critique of historical...
Article
Full-text available
https://ivc.lib.rochester.edu/we-are-the-hollow-men-mad-men-and-the-flatness-of-representation/
Article
Full-text available
With the outcry of homophobia prevailing on European football stadiums as her point of departure, the author considers identity politics accessible to gay players and fans of non-normative sexuality. A radical form of resistance against stadium homophobia was an initiative (apparently fictitious) of Polish gay football fans, which they called Rainb...

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Since the 1970s, many of Europe's one-time industrial landscapes have been redefined as locations of leisure through art and visual culture. The best of these projects typically imagine the uneven, contradictory, and often troubled transitions to post-industrialization. However, regeneration efforts can also make invisible the work, labour and production of the past. Similarly, they often cover up the ecological spoils and social devastation of the present. Picturing Post-Industrialism is planned as an edited collection that will investigate artistic initiatives that make the industrial past visible, negotiable, reimaginable in the wake of closures, unemployment, diminished social services and shattered identities across Europe.
Project
Feeling Moved analyses representations of upward and downward social mobility in Poland from 1944 to 1981 from the perspective of emotions generated by the radical change of class structure introduced first by the demographic effects of the second world war, the Holocaust, and resettlements, and later by the policies and social processes under state socialism. The promise of mass upward mobility of the subjugated peasant and working classes and the “de-classation” of Polish landowners was the most important declaration of the new socialist state, a promise of improving working class living conditions, granting value to working class lives, and creating a society based on equality and cooperation. While a significant part of the Polish population did experience a shift in social status, the promise of a mass upward social mobility, understood as a universal and durable radical improvement of the life conditions and dissolution of class hierarchies, was not fulfilled. In the project, I seek to capture how Poles experienced the post-war radical change of the social system as well as its long-term consequences, and how it sought to represent this process in different media and genres. I thus aim to present upward and downward social mobility not as a simple transformation of the structure of ownership, but as a complex, ambiguous and lengthy process, whose effects operate till this day.