Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies

2007 Citation Recipient

Geneviève Zubrzycki

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.

Co-Winner: Geneviève Zubrzycki
Title: The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland (University of Chicago Press)

In The Crosses of Auschwitz, Geneviève Zubrzycki presents a sophisticated analysis of a critically important and complex theme in Polish history: the relationship between Roman Catholicism and Polish national identity. Using a rich variety of sources and research methods – from archival research to in-depth interviews, from content analysis to participant observation – Zubrzycki examines the controversy over crosses placed on the outskirts of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in the broader context of debates about the meaning of “Polishness” in a contemporary, post-communist Poland. Her book is an important contribution not only to Polish studies, but also to a more universal discussion about the relationship between religion and nationalism and to cultural sociology in general. Her analysis of the process of secularization of religious symbols and their re-sacralization as national symbols adds novel elements to theoretical themes developed by Émile Durkheim and his followers.

Co-Winner: Marci Shore