I will write more about this project in the near future, but I thought that introducing some of the issues which I hope to explore with KUL's communities as well as the parameters of my project would be valuable to anyone who might drop by. (Przepraszam, ze jeszcze nie pisze po polsku, a teraz chce zaczynac ten blog a to jest spieszniej dla mnie pisac po angielsku. To nie znaczy, oczywiscie, ze chce listy i informacje tylko po angielsku. Po okresie nauczanie w Ohio University tego kwartalu wiecej zamierzam pisac po polsku).
First of all, the title of my proposal for funding for this project is "The Narrow Gate?
Religion, Alienation and Solidarity at the Catholic University of Lublin in People’s Poland." As the title indicates, the goal of this study is to consider the roles of faith, alienation (from the "new reality" of the PRL) and solidarity in sustaining and expanding KUL in the postwar era and to write a social history of KUL in the PRL.
At this time the KUL Project proposes to be a study of the faculty and staff of KUL and the work of the Towarzystwo Przyjaciol KUL in major regional centers in Poland throughout the history of the PRL, from 1944-1989 as well as an examination of five distinct cohorts of students: lay students in the faculties of Philosophy and Humanities in the graduating classes of 1948, 1960, 1972, 1974 and 1980. I chose these particular cohorts (particularly the last four) to focus on "ordinary life" and ordinary alienation in the PRL. Students who had applied to KUL prior to the upheavals of 1956, 1968, 1970 and 1979 were likely as not as driven by those extraordinary events as they were by the "normal" reasons that one would chose to study at such a unique academic environment as KUL. I also hope to study much more than the lives of these students at KUL but also to discuss with them how one began a career in People's Poland with a degree from KUL, who helped you and why? Who discriminated against you? By pursuing these questions I hope to develop a more detailed description of lay religious life in Poland, since an assumption in this study is that "the Church" does not mean the clergy alone, but also (mostly, if only because of numbers) includes the laity.
As for the parameters of this project - this is a long-term study. I will begin preliminary research at Akt Nowych and IPN in Warsaw this December, hopefully return to Poland this summer and fall to continue my research for 1-2 months, and then begin the real work of the project in academic year 2009-10 when I and my family relocate to Warsaw to take my sabbatical from June 2009 until August 2010. My hope is, however, via this blog and other kinds of electronic media to identify far in advance persons to be interviewed as well as to get a better sense of the issues surrounding KUL's communities under the PRL.
Any thoughts, observations or criticisms anyone might have of my propsal will be gratefully accepted.