Few historians have asked about 'development' as an idea unfolding within one specific historical space and representing three big socioeconomic regimes: capitalism, developing/post-colonial economy and socialism. Witnessing transformation of Poland from a supply hinterland of Western Europe (and a space of economic exploitation under Nazi rule), into a modernizing socialist nation-state, Polish economists studied these socio-economic systems comparatively and in a world perspective. But what is even more interesting, they also understood all three of them as overlapping and following each other in their own country's recent past and present. What lessons did Polish social scientists try to convey from this experience to the post-colonial world and how may their contributions change our understanding of history of international development?
Malgorzata Mazurek specializes in modern history of Poland and East Central Europe. Her interests include twentieth-century social sciences, international development, social history of communism and Polish-Jewish relations. Her lecture is based on a new book project that deals with the intellectual history of East Central European involvement in the making of the non-Western world between the late 19th century and 1960s. Dr. Mazurek is part of Socialism Goes Global, an international research project housed at the University of Exeter and funded by the British Arts and Humanities Council, http://socialismgoesglobal.exeter.ac.uk/. Dr. Mazurek's previous book, Society in Waiting Lines: On Experiences of Shortages in Postwar Poland (Warsaw: Trio 2010), has been shortlisted among the ten best books in contemporary Polish history in a 2011 nationwide contest. She is also the author of several articles on comparative and transnational history of labor and consumption in twentieth-century Poland.
This lecture is part of the REES Fall Series: Eastern Europe in the World.