Populism and the Politics of Memory in Contemporary Poland

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020

1:30pm - 3:30pm

Lecture by:
Eva Plach

This lecture will explore the political climate in Poland since the 2015 electoral victory of the populist Law and Justice Party, particularly as it relates to Polish-Jewish relations and to the historical memory of World War Two and the Holocaust. We’ll consider the various ways that Poland’s far-right nationalists use and abuse history to shape public memory and collective national identity and, ultimately, to determine what it means to be Polish in post-Communist Poland.

About The Lecturer

Eva Plach

Eva Plach has been teaching in the History Department at Wilfrid Laurier University for almost twenty years. Most of her courses focus on eastern Europe and on the history of violence and mass killing in that region during the twentieth century, but from time to time she also teaches in the relatively new field of Human-Animal Studies. In addition she runs a bi-annual travel course to Poland on the topic of the Holocaust. Eva’s research interests are focused on Poland between the wars. She has published on the history of cultural and political conflict in interwar Poland, on Zionist nationalism in Poland during the 1920s and 1930s,  and on various aspects of the history of the Polish animal welfare movement. Currently Eva is working on a project about the United  Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and its partnership with the American peace churches to deliver animal aid to war-torn Europe, and Poland specifically, from 1945 to 1947.

Eva is originally from the northern mining town of Sudbury. Her parents emigrated to Canada from Poland after the war, and she grew up hearing stories about Hitler and Stalin, about the brutality of war and the resilience of people. These stories started her on the journey that has brought her to where she is today. Eva has a PhD from the University of Toronto. She lives in Kitchener with her husband, son and dog.