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Project objective

dr Karolina Ćwiek-Rogalska
For years: 2022–2027
Project number: 101041946
ERC Starting Grant

Ghosts are often presented as the spirits of the dead haunting the living. But what if we understood them as material remains, bringing to light overlooked past and enabling us to grasp the experience of the otherness? We propose such an approach in research on displacement, on territories previously inhabited by one culture but after a forced migration resettled by another one.

The displacement comprises expulsion and resettlement. While the former is well-researched, much of the latter remains understudied: especially the settlers’ experiences with things previous inhabitants had left behind. Things act as “ghosts” of previous culture and force settlers to interact with the “spectral” presence of the expellees. Hence, we will operationalize the category of “post-displacement” as a form of afterlife, based on archival records and fieldwork, in 3 regions in Slavic Central Europe where the traces of previous German cultures remained visible, regardless of the efforts to remove them. With hauntology as the proposed research framework and introduction of the category of recycling, we will establish a novel approach in research on the post-displacement regions. Hauntology, a spectral theory of being, shows how the present is pervaded by the past and enables us to engage with unresolved questions, becoming a tool to investigate unexplained phenomena. Recycling is a mechanism of reintroducing the things that were left by expellees into the life of the settlers. Our approach will bring fresh insights into everyday life in the post-displacement regions by providing a more nuanced and coherent understanding of forced migration processes and their continuous reinterpretations in different political and ideological regimes. In understanding what post-displacement things are and the attitude of people towards them, the project presents a showcase study of what we can learn about the emergence of new cultures from the experiences of Central Europe.


dr Karolina Ćwiek-Rogalska
Principal Investigator in ERC StG
dr Angelika Zanki
Manager/research facilitator in ERC StG
mgr. Karina Hoření
Researcher in ERC StG
Michal Korhel, M. A.
Researcher in ERC StG


New blog post (in Polish)! Szklane pogranicze. Fotoesej

To what extent are the works of art created before the radical change in 1945 still valid categories of description for the landscape of contemporary Polish-Czech borderlands? Karolina Ćwiek-Rogalska explores the possibilities of mutual commentary provided by the photos taken during her recent fieldwork and fragments of one of the plays by Gerhard Hauptmann, an obscure German author who used to live in Lower Silesia.

You can find post here.

Presentation during dMSA Webinar on Post-Socialism, Migration and Memory in Britain and Beyond

On 19th May 2023, the second webinar in the dMSA series of webinars: Post-Socialism, Migration and Memory in Britain and Beyond took place online. The series is a culmination point of the research project “Post-Socialist Britain?: Memory, Representation and Political Identity amongst German, Polish and Ukrainian Immigrants in the UK”, funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council. The aim of the series is to explore what happens to memories of state-socialism and of post-communist transition when its carriers move across borders, and how they grapple with the legacies of regimes in host societies with different kinds of legacies. The team behind the project decided to extend their proposal to invite speakers who deal with migration in other context, hence Karolina Ćwiek-Rogalska was able to present her initial ideas on what kind of bond emerged between new Polish inhabitants of Central Pomerania and places such as formerly German cemeteries and other burial places.

The webinar focused on material culture and monuments of post-socialism, and featured three speakers who presented their research on different aspects of this topic. Anna Glew (Manchester University) spoke about Engels’ statue in Manchester and the reactions of the local Ukrainian community towards it. Oleksandra Nenko (Turku Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Turku) presented her sociosemantic analysis of contemporary material urban culture of Ukrainian cities, using the lens of decolonization. Finally, Karolina Ćwiek-Rogalska examined the case of Polish settlers who cared for tombs of ancestors of expelled Germans in Central Pomerania after World War II.

Ćwiek-Rogalska presented chosen cases from her fieldwork in Central Pomerania, focusing on how the German burial places were depicted by her interviewees and what made the new inhabitants care about the former inhabitants’ graveyards. She also questioned what ideological regimes did the settlers carry with them during the post-1945 migration processes that made them project such feelings onto the foreign burial places, and to what extent their earlier experiences influenced this process. She also wondered how these memorial practices bypassed or challenged the official memory where the memories of war atrocities were projected onto “the Germans” in general.

The presentation was followed by a lively discussion among the speakers and the audience, who raised questions and comments on various issues related to the three topics presented. The webinar was very informative and engaging, as it offered diverse perspectives and insights on how material culture can be used as a source and a medium of memory. We invite you to see the recording.

Recruitment for the position of assistant doctoral student

The Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and The Anthropos Doctoral School of the Institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences invite you to participate in the recruitment for the position of assistant doctoral student under the ERC Starting Grant “Recycling the German Ghosts. Resettlement Cultures in Poland, Czechia and Slovakia after 1945” (SPECTRAL RECYCLING, no. 101041946, Principal Investigator: Karolina Ćwiek-Rogalska, PhD)

Job title: Research assistant PhD student (1 person)

Scope of work:

– participation in meetings and seminars of the research team (on-line, except for the annual meeting in person);

– conducting qualitative field research in selected regions of Poland (Western or Central Pomerania) and the Czech Republic (North Bohemia in Liberec and its vicinity), independently and together with the research team;

– individual archival queries in indicated archives (depending on the research region);

– preparation of a doctoral dissertation within 4 years and implementation of the Anthropos DS educational program;

– joint analysis of collected research data;

– dissemination of research results (participation in scientific conferences, preparation of partial publications – articles, participation in events promoting the research, preparation of research notes).


– master’s degree in the field of humanities or social sciences, history, anthropology, ethnology, cultural studies/culture and religion studies or related;

– experience in conducting field and archival research;

– knowledge of Polish and Czech (allowing field research) and English (allowing free communication and writing texts);

– strong motivation for scientific work and preparation of a doctoral dissertation;

– willingness to engage in team work.

Employment conditions under the grant:

Starting date: 1 October 2023

Form of employment:

●      full-time employment contract (research assistant-PhD student position)

●      duration of employment: 44 months (for the duration of the project; in case of extension of the project, the contract may be extended until the end of the project)

The amount of remuneration for 44 months: PLN 9,012.50/month gross. These amounts will be reduced by relevant contributions.

During the remaining period of education at the Doctoral School, the PhD student will receive a scholarship in the amount specified in the law.

For more information about the project, see:

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Principal Investigator:

Required documents:

A) recruitment form I and form II, available on the Anthropos IPAN Doctoral School website –, in two files in PDF format, containing:

1) motivation letter addressed to the Director of the Institute of Slavic Studies PAS,

2) completed application for admission to the School with an indication of ISS PAS as the institute where the candidate will carry out the research project, addressed to the head of the School,

3) a project of a doctoral dissertation thematically related to the “Spectral Recycling” project; for more information about the project, see:

4) an academic curriculum vitae with a list of publications and academic accomplishments, according to the template provided by the School,

5) data on education at doctoral studies or at another doctoral school, if applicable,

6) contact information of a researcher who could provide opinion about the candidate, along with consent to the processing of the employee’s personal data

7) a copy of the master’s degree diploma or a certificate from the place of education about obtaining a master’s degree (in the case of foreigners – an equivalent document), or a certificate of admission to the defence that will take place before October 1, 2023, or a certificate of implementation of the “Diamond Grant”,

8) a copy of a certificate confirming knowledge of a foreign language at least at B2 level (or equivalent); in the absence of a certificate, part of the interview may be conducted in a foreign language for the purposes of verification.

B) In separate files:

  • Completed questionnaire (please see the attached file),
  • ID sized photograph of the candidate,
  • Copy of a master’s thesis or its equivalent (in PDF format) or a sample scientific text of which the Candidate is the sole author and which is a certificate of the Candidate’s research competence (in the form of a file, preferably in PDF format),
  • For applicants outside of the EU countries: certified diploma or certified translation, or a recognition statement provided by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA).

Additional information:

Documents* should be sent electronically by August 31, 2023, 3.30 PM to:

  • (subject: DOKTORANT/KA – ERC) or deliver a copy to the seat of the ISS PAS, Bartoszewicza 1b /17, Warsaw.
  • Copies of documents should be sent electronically within the indicated deadline to: (subject:  DOKTORANT/KA – ERC) or deliver a copy to the seat of the Anthropos School in the Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Rynek Starego Miasta 29/31 (room 43), Warsaw.

Application materials received after the deadline will not be considered in the application process. The submission of documents should be understood as their receipt by the entities indicated in the announcement.

Candidates chosen for an interview will be informed of this decision via email by September 1, 2023. Interviews will take place between September 4-8, 2023 (or may take place via Zoom or other electronic meeting services). Recruitment results will be announced by September 15, 2023.

Information clause on personal data processing in the recruitment process, Institute of Slavic Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences

  1. The Controller of your personal data is the Institute of Slavic Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, with its registered office in Warsaw, ul. Bartoszewicza 1B/17; e-mail:, telephone: 22 826 76 88. The Institute is entered in the Register of Scientific Institutes (RIN), under the number RIN-I-30/98, NIP: 525-00-12-159, REGON: 000326210.
  2. The Controller has appointed a Personal Data Officer, Mr Krzysztof Radtke, who can be contacted by e-mail at
  3. Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the recruitment process for a post with the Controller and for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the Controller as described below.
  4. The Controller will process the following categories of your personal data: identification data, contact details, address details, education data, data on the course of previous employment, data on hobbies and interests.
  5. Other data is processed on the basis of your voluntary consent, which you have expressed by sending us your recruitment application, and its submission does not affect the possibility of participation in the recruitment process.
  6. Your personal data is processed for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the Controller – on the basis of Article 6 paragraph 1 point (f) of the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (hereinafter referred to as GDPR) – consisting in searching for and hiring employees and conducting recruitment procedures aimed at employing an employee whose qualifications best meet the Controller’s needs.
  7. Your personal data is processed to the extent necessary to conclude and perform the employment contract, pursuant to GDPR Article 6 paragraph 1 point (c).
  8. The Controller does not plan to transfer your personal data to recipients outside the EEA, i.e. to third countries.
  9. Your personal data will be processed until the recruitment process is completed.
  10. You have the right to access your personal data and to have it rectified, the right to request from the Controller its erasure or restriction of processing, the right of portability, and the right to object to processing. You have the right to lodge a complaint with the supervisory body – in Poland: President of the Personal Data Protection Office – if you consider that the processing of your personal data violates applicable legal regulations.
  11. Considering that your personal data is processed for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the Controller, you have the right to object to the processing of your personal data on grounds relating to your particular situation.

* A candidate’s personal data are processed by the Institute of History at the Polish Academy of Sciences (Rynek Starego Miasta 29/31, 00-272 Warsaw) for the purposes of this application. Data is shared voluntarily, but these data are necessary for the application process. Data will be processed during the necessary period for carrying out a selection process, including archiving. Data can be shared with authorized entities, and administrative and organizational services, on the basis of applicable laws. The person to whom the data belong, maintains the right to access their own personal data, as well as the right to correct that data, delete them or limit their processing. In addition, your personal data can be transferred at your request or you can file a complaint about its processing with the Office of Personal Data Protection. For all matters concerning the processing of personal data, please contact the Inspector of Data Protection of the IH PAN: Detailed information is available on our website:

Second meeting in person of Spectral Recycling Team members – Liberec

The Spectral Recycling Team had a fruitful second in-person meeting in Liberec, Czech Republic, from April 30th to May 3rd, 2023. The meeting was an opportunity to share the results of their recent fieldwork in different regions, as well as to discover the rich and complex history of Liberec and its surroundings. It was especially interesting since one of the team members, Karina Hoření, is carrying out Czech part of her fieldwork exactly in Liberec.

In the past, Liberec (also known in German as Reichenberg), was one of the most important industrial centers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later of Czechoslovakia. Since it was located in the so-called Borderlands, inhabited mostly by the German-speaking communities, it was an important city to local Germans as well. Moreover, it was home to several influential families of industrialists, such as the Liebiegs and the Ginzkeys, who left their mark on the city’s architecture, economy and culture. The team visited some of the sites related to these families, such as the old Waldvilla, once owned by Heinrich von Liebieg and later used as a hospital for tuberculosis patients; the former carpet factory of Ignaz Ginzkey, who revolutionized the carpet industry by using wool waste and steam power; and the cemetery where members of the Porsche family are buried.

The team also learned more about the spectral character of this region, which has been shaped by multiple waves of migration, expulsion and resettlement. They followed the traces of the German-speaking population that was largely expelled after World War II and whose presence is still visible in the cityscape. They also encountered some examples of recycling practices left by the new inhabitants. They witnessed how some buildings, objects and symbols have been reused, repurposed or reinterpreted over time, creating new meanings and memories.

The meeting was a valuable experience for the team members, who gained new insights and perspectives on their research topics. They also strengthened their bonds as a team. They are looking forward to their next meeting and to continuing their work on uncovering the spectral aspects of post-displacement regions of Central Europe.

You can see pictures from our meeting here.