Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies

2012 Citation Recipient

Brian Porter-Szücs

The Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies (formerly the Orbis Book Prize), established in 1996 and sponsored by the Kulczycki family, former owners of the Orbis Books Ltd. of London, England, is awarded annually for the best book in any discipline, on any aspect of Polish affairs, published in the previous calendar year.

Winner: Brian Porter-Szücs
Title: Faith and Fatherland: Catholicism, Modernity, and Poland (Oxford University Press)

The Kulczycki Prize for the best book in any discipline, on any aspect of Polish affairs goes to Brian Porter-Szűcs for Faith and Fatherland: Catholicism, Modernity, and Poland. Published by Oxford University Press, this fresh and compelling exploration of modern Catholicism in the Polish context effectively historicizes Catholic doctrine, moving past the widely held assumption that the Church took a relatively unchanging approach to social problems. Porter-Szűcs’ work lies at the intersection of religion and ethnonational identity, demonstrating the Church’s pattern of constantly recontextualizing its doctrine to make itself an arbiter of Polish identity. Faith and Fatherland recalibrates how we think about the fundamental relationship between the Catholic Church and the Polish nation, giving eccleciastical leaders more agency in the modernization of religious institutions to ensure that they maintain their social relevance. Porter-Szűcs’ study also brings fresh insight—and some hard hitting analysis—to our understanding of anti-Jewish sentiment among the Polish clergy. Similarly, he draws intriguing connections between Poland’s distinctive Marian cult and the gender dynamic in modern Polish society. Overall, the meticulously researched, highly engaging narrative speaks to what Poland has been and what it is becoming. The book is sure to become a classic within Polish studies.