From Cotton and Smoke

Łódź – Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity, 1897–1994

Agata Zysiak, Kamil Śmiechowski, Kamil Piskała, Wiktor Marzec, Kaja Kaźmierska, and Jacek Burski

Jagiellonian University Press

From Cotton and Smoke

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Pub Date: February 2019

ISBN: 9788323344889

318 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $60.00£47.00

From Cotton and Smoke

Łódź – Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity, 1897–1994

Agata Zysiak, Kamil Śmiechowski, Kamil Piskała, Wiktor Marzec, Kaja Kaźmierska, and Jacek Burski

Jagiellonian University Press

This book considers Łódź as the capital of the Polish nineteenth century, and the history of this former textile hub, which now finds itself in central Poland, as one of struggle with modern change in Eastern Europe. The authors boldly challenge the romantic and noble-based Polish cultural imaginary, offering instead a revolutionary path to understanding confrontation with modernity in the region.

The book examines local press debates during four pivotal periods, each of which stimulated self-reflection on the idea of the modern city:

Rapid industrial growth in the tsarist borderlands;

State crafting after WWI;

Socialist restructuring after 1945;

Transition and deindustrialization after 1989.

Together these insights constitute a multifaceted portrait of twentieth-century urban experience beyond the metropolis, in different historical contexts.

This innovative, interdisciplinary work deftly integrates urban and cultural history, historical sociology and discourse research. It will be of great value to Polish and Jewish studies specialists, as well as those in the field of Eastern European and Slavic studies. The book also addresses core intellectual debates within urban studies, modernity studies, and historical discourse analysis worldwide.
This book aptly addresses current academic debates on the historical sociology of Eastern Europe. The case of Łódź serves the purpose of enriching the typologies and enhancing existing knowledge of the idiosyncratic modernization process that has been variously situated on the center-peripheries axis of the global capitalist system. This is an innovative work. It addresses an important topic in a new, interdisciplinary manner. The main theme will be of considerable interest to the global reader concerned with urban modernity. Agnieszka Kolasa Nowak, professor of sociology, Maria Skłodowska Curie University, Lublin
This book moves the capital of the nineteenth century. Paralleling the switch of focus from Baudelairian Paris to industrial Manchester, it places the capital of the Polish nineteenth century in the textile industrial hub—Łódź. This is still a revolutionary gesture within Polish studies. The authors have aptly located their particular case study within a broader framework of modernity studies. Deftly integrating broad historical queries of the daily press and theoretical reasoning, they have succeeded in relating the imaginaries and normative orders present among journalists to the expert discourses and agendas of institutional actors. Tomasz Majewski, professor of cultural studies, Jagiellonian University, Cracow

About the Author

JACEK BURSKI, sociologist, is a research assistant at the Department of Sociology of Culture at the University of Łódź; he is preparing a PhD thesis about the social world of football fans in Poland.

KAJA KAŹMIERSKA is a sociologist. An associate professor, she is the director of the Institute of Sociology and head of the Department of the Sociology of Culture at the University of Łódź. Her research interests include: biographical analysis, collective/national identity and memory, migration, borderland identity formation, European identity formation, the sociological analysis of civil society organization activities, and studies on Jewish identity.

WIKTOR MARZEC holds a PhD in sociology and social anthropology from the Central European University in Budapest, an MA in sociology, and an MA in philosophy from the University of Łódź. His research interests concern historical sociology, labor history, and conceptual history.

KAMIL PISKAŁA is a historian and holds a PhD in contemporary Polish history. He graduated from the University of Łódź in 2017. His research interests are focused on the history of labor movements and socialist ideology in the twentieth century, people’s history, and political ideas.

KAMIL ŚMIECHOWSKI is a historian. He holds a PhD in the history of Poland, and graduated from the University of Łódź in 2013. He works as an associate professor at the Institute of History and is the secretary of the Interdisciplinary Urban Studies Center, the University of Łódź. His research interests are focused on urban theory, analyses of press discourse, processes of modernization in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Poland, and the history of Łódź. Currently, he is working on a post-doc research project about the discourse of the urban in the Kingdom of Poland at the turn of the twentieth century.

AGATA ZYSIAK is a historical sociologist. She is an assistant professor at the University of Łódź, working on postwar Poland, modernization, and industrial cities. She is a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton 2017-2018. She also works at the University of Warsaw comparing urban decline in Detroit and Łódź.