Wiktor Marzec

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Dr Wiktor Marzec


Assistant Professor /Adiunkt

Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology and Social Anthropology

Researcher, member of the Center for Social Change and Mobility Research


historical sociology, historical discourse studies, intellectual history, labor history, public sphere


uw.academia.edu Home page


In the Institute for Social Studies I investigate rebellion and reaction in the post-imperial borderlands between 1905 and 1921. Comparing Poland, Finland and other borderland regions of the Russian Empire I ask about revolutions that succeeded, failed or did not happen at all against the backdrop of nation building and state-crafting in the region.

Russian Poland was among the most militant tsarist borderlands during the 1905-1907 Revolution. Harboring long-lasting strikes and breeding bellicose street fighters, Poland witnessed an unprecedented political upheaval manifest in the emergence of mass parties, labor unions and a new public culture. However, only a decade later, when revolutionary movements again loomed large and shook the whole region, Poland remained relatively calm. Forging a new statehood rivaled the earlier popular drive toward social revolution. Despite the Bolsheviks’ march on Warsaw to spread the socialist revolution westwards, the popular mood stuck with national unity. Polish popular classes stood almost unanimously on the side of the Polish nation state, even after it failed to deliver its promise to be a socialist-leaning one. What then were the processes responsible for the withering-away of social-revolutionary tendencies?

The project is an asymmetrical comparison of the Polish rebellion, nationalist re-mobilization, and eventual integration of the subaltern classes, with other revolutionary sequences ending in distinct outcomes. The analysis of ideological landscapes will explain the occurring divergences. I will analyze sources on political languages as newspapers and pamphlets against the backdrop of sources documenting social unrest. Deftly integrating historical sociology, conceptual history and historical discourse analysis, my work addresses the entanglement of structural factors and intellectual transformations in political process in highly interdependent trans-national context. More on the project


I am a historical sociologist working on transformation of public spheres in East-Central Europe. My expertise is located in-between historical sociology, cultural history, labor history and history of concepts. I am interested in empires, revolutions, nationalism, labor, and state-crafting. Main current research concerns figurations of contentious politics and state building in the borderlands o the late Russian empire.

I hold a PhD in sociology and social anthropology, MA in sociology of culture and media, second MA in philosophy, and wide practice in historiography.

I am a skilled researcher, effective administrator, inspiring speaker and aspiring teacher.


  • June 2017, PhD in Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, Budapest,
    Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology Dissertation “Rising Subjects. Workers and the Political during the 1905 Revolution in Russian Poland.” Defense summa cum laude. Committee: Judit Bodnár (supervisor), Balázs Trencsényi (internal examiner), Brian Porter-Szűcs (external examiner), Theodore R. Weeks (external reader), Marsha Siefert (chair)
  • June 2011, MA in Philosophy (summa cum laude), University of Lodz, Institute of Philosophy
  • June 2009, MA in Sociology, University of Lodz, Institute of Sociology, specialization: Culture, Communication, Media


  • 2019 – present, The Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw, principal investigator / project leader, grant-supported research position in the rank of assistant professor
  • 2018 – Aug. 2018, Centre for Historical Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Sankt Petersburg, post-doc in the rank of assistant professor

Fellowships and research stays:

  • Winter 2021, University of Tampere, Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences, HEX fellowship
  • Fall 2020 – Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany, Research Explorer Fellowship
  • Fall 2019 – Winter 2020, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, Stanford University, visiting scholar
  • Winter 2019, German Historical Institute, Moscow, visiting fellow (DHIM research fellowship)
  • Spring-Summer 2018, Center for Advanced Study, Sofia, in-residence advanced academia fellowship
  • Winter 2018, German Historical Institute, Moscow, visiting fellow, research stay
  • Spring 2017, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, Austria, CEU-IWM fellowship, junior fellow
  • Fall and Winter 2015-2016, Re:work research Center, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, Doctoral Research Support Program, junior fellow
  • Winter and Spring 2015, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, visiting PhD student
  • Fall and Winter 2006 – 2007, University of Tartu, Estonia, student exchange

Additional training

  • June 2018, Research Explorer funding research training initiative, Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany
  • May 2018, Institute for Human Sciences, IWM ERC Mentoring Program, Vienna, Austria
  • 2017, Janka Kupala Bellarusian State University, Grodno, International Summer School in Russian and Belarusian language
  • – Oct. 2016, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique, (organized by re:work research center, Humboldt University, Berlin), International Summer Academy “Labour, Politics and Safety”
  • June-July 2016, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, Summer School of Interdisciplinary Polish and German Studies “Cultures in Times of Transition” and research stayAug. 2015, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Concepta Summer School in intellectual history
  • 2013, University of Warsaw, Poland, Hegel’s Dialectic and the Method of ‹Das Kapital›,
    Warsaw Summer School



Funding secured

  • 2018 – ca. Oct 2022, “The Revolution That Did Not Happen. Rebellion and Reaction in the Post-Imperial Borderlands 1905-1921: Poland and Finland in Asymmetrical Comparison”, research grant of Polish National Science Centre, Opus 14, 2017/27/B/HS6/00098, the Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw, project value 250000 EUR. Principal investigator leading an international research team (four scholars from Poland, Finland and Russia).
  • 2012 – Sep. 2016, “Revolution 1905-1907 and emerging of the political. Political mobilization in early modern Poland in the light of post-structural political thought and discourse theory”, research grant of Polish national Science Center for young scholars, Preludium 3, 2012/05/N/HS3/01158, University of Lodz, project value ca. 25000 EUR. Principal investigator.

Other Research project experience

  • 2018 – Sep. 2019, ImpDiv, Post-imperial diversities – majority-minority relations in the transition from empires to nation-states, ERA.Net RUS Plus funded project, University of Gottingen, University of Eastern Finland and Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, project value 460000 EUR.
    Associate researcher responsible for one of the case studies.
  • 2016 – September 2019, “The history of social and political concepts in Poland, 18 th -20 th century”, research grant from Polish National Program for the Humanities, Institute of History, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, project value ca 70000 EUR. Associate researcher, cooperation on the theoretical background for a major publishing project, preparation of a few entries to the lexicon project.
  • 2013 – Feb. 2016, “Four discourses of modernity – modernism of periphery on the example of Lodz (19 th -20 th centuries)”, research grant of Polish national Science Center, Opus 2, 2011/03/B/HS6/01874, University of Lodz, Poland, project value ca. 80000 EUR Associate researcher; main theoretical framework, mining and analysis of textual sources, resulting co-authored volume in English.
  • 2010 – June 2012, “Migrations of Modernism”, research project on migrant biography, historical contingency and 20th century social thought and art; publication of outcomes and additional translations, co-editor of the edited volume
  • 2006 – Oct. 2008, “Reconfigurations of Modernism”, research project and publication of translations and commentaries



Reviewed in: Slavic Review, Europe-Asia Studies, CHOICEconnect, Acta Poloniae Historica

Translated as: Z bawełny i dymu. Łódź – miasto przemysłowe i dyskursy asynchronicznej nowoczesności 1897–1994, WUŁ, Łódź 2021

Reviewed in Slavic ReviewActa Polonae Hisorica, Przegląd HistorycznyKwartalnik Historyczny, Praktyka Teoretyczna, Studia z Dziejów Rosji i Europy Środkowo – Wschodniej, Gazeta Wyborcza, Polityka, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Kultura Liberalna, Nowy Obywatel, HistMag, Kronika Miasta Łodzi, nomination for Poznań Humanities Award 2018.

Peer-reviewed journal articles:


Contributions in edited volumes


  • ‘Beyond group antagonism in asymmetrical counter-concepts. Conceptual pair order and chaos and ideological struggles in late 19th – early 20th century Poland”. In: “Hellenes” and “Barbarians”: Asymmetrical Concepts in European Discourse, Kirill Postoutenko, Berghahn Books, to be published in 2020;
  • Class, Nation, Revolution. Revolutionary Biographies in Late Russian Poland,in: Revolutionary Biographies in the 19th and 20th Century: Imperial – Inter/national – Decolonial, Nikolaus Katzer, Sandra Dahlke and Denis Sdvizhkov (eds.), Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, to be published in 2020.

Edited volumes

  • Migrations of Modernism. Modernity and Exile(edited volume in Polish), with Tomasz Majewski and Agnieszka Rejniak-Majewska, NCK-Topografie, Warszawa-Łódź 2014, academic edition;
  • The 1905 Revolution. A guidebook(edited volume in Polish), with Kamil Piskała, Warszawa 2013, academic edition;
  • Hellenes” and “Barbarians”: Asymmetrical Concepts in European Discourse, Kirill Postoutenko (Berghahn Books, forthcoming), technical edition.

Journal editorial activities

  • Civil Society under Pressure. Historical Legacies and Current Reponses in Central Eastern
    Europe, special issue of Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, in press (with Daniela Neubacher);
  • Editorial board member / editor Praktyka Teoretyczna / Theoretical Practice
  • 2011-2018, Indexing, database and Impact Factor coordinator, concluded with complexpeer-review and ethical standard implementation and applications to Scopus andClarivate Analytics index lists (pending)

Edited journal issues:


Invited talks

  • NEPOSTRANS ERC project workshop, Institute for Political Science, Budapest, 2-4 Dec. 2021, Figurations of ethnicity and working class politics in the ethnic borderlands of the late Russian Empire;
  • University of Tampere, 17 Mar. 2021, The 1905 Revolution and the Origins of Modern Politics – a Polish-Finnish reappraisal (book-launch of Rising Subjects);
  • Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX), 15. Mar. 2021, Land Reform and Ethnic Diversity in the Interwar Polish Parliament;
  • Konferencja Ludowa Historia Polski, Warszawa, 27. Feb. 2021 (online), Robotnicza sfera publiczna na pograniczach Imperium Rosyjskiego – Królestwo Polskie na tle porównawczym w długim wieku dziewiętnastym;
  • Ruhr Universität Bochum, ISB, 11 Jan. 2021, Ungleichzeitige Moderne als Kategorie der Praxis. Urbane Modernitätsdiskurse im post-imperialen Raum am Beispiel Łódź;
  • Uniwersytet Warszawski, Czwartki z Socjologią Historyczną, 22 Oct. 2020, Globalny rok 1905 i polska sfera publiczna
  • Ruhr University Bochum, Chair for Eastern European History, 18 Nov. 2020, Die Revolution von 1905 und die Politische Figurationen des Imperiums. Polen im asymmetrischen Vergleich;
  • UC Berkley, ISEEES, 12 Dec. 2019, From Revolution to Nation. Popular Unrest in Russian Poland;
  • UC Berkley, Discussion group on East European and Russian History, 12 Dec. 2019, Historicizing the Asynchronous Modernity in the Global East;
  • Stanford University, CREEES lecture, 15 Oct. 2019, From Revolution to Nation. Popular Unrest
    in Russian Poland;
  • University of Manchester, REES/CIDRAL lecture, 9 Oct. 2019, book presentation From Cotton
    and Smoke: Łódź – the Industrial City and Discourses of Ansynchronous Modernity;
  • University of Tampere, Department of History, 10 June 2019, book presentation From Cotton and Smoke.  Łódź – Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity;
  • Higher School of Economics, Boundaries of History lecture series, 18 Apr. 2019, book presentation From Cotton and Smoke: Łódź – Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity;
  • Deutsches Historisches Institut Moskau, Seminar zur Sowjetische Geschichte, 26 Feb. 2019,
    book presentation From Cotton and Smoke. Łódź – Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity;
  • Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw, 6 March 2019, People’s history of Poland, vol. 5: the 1905 Revolution (in Polish);
  • CK Zamek Poznań, 22 Nov. 2018, The praise of Liberty / Rebellion and reaction;
  • IBL PAN, Warsaw, 21 Nov. 2018, Socialist Biography and Actually Existing Socialism (in Polish)
  • Charles University, Prague, 26 May 2018, Antisemitism – Event and Structure within the 20th-century Polish Public Sphere;
  • PPG Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, 26 Sep. 2017, The Genesis of Polish Nationalism and its Aftermaths (in Polish);

Conference Presentations

  • ASEEES Convention, New Orleans (online), 1-3 Dec. 2021, Who can be a national minority? A brief eventful history of the concept of minority in Russian Poland and the Polish independent State 1905-1921
  • Memory and Social Movements, ISB Bochum 18-20 Juni 2021 (online), Scripting an Aborted Revolution. 1905 Between “Dress Rehearsal” and Difficult Lesson in the Memory and Practice of Polish Socialist Movements;
  • Socialist Political Thought in East Central Europe, 1889–1968: Concepts, Debates, Questions, CEU Budapest/Vienna (online), 14–16 May 2021, Socialism and Parliamentarism. Polish Socialisms, 1905–1921;
  • ESSH Conference, Leiden (online), 24-27 March 2021, From Revolution to Nation. Labor Unrest in Russian Poland, 1907–1915;
  • Polish Studies Association Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago (online), Mar. 4-5 2021, Protest and Parliament. Social Unrest and the Legislative Sejm 1919-1922;
  • ASEEES Convention, Washington (online), 5-8, 14-15 Nov. 2020, Book-Launch Rising Subjects;
  • Fünfter Kongress Polenforschung, Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle (Saale), 5-8 March 2020, Ungleichzeitige Moderne als Kategorie der Praxis. Urbane Modernitätsdiskurse im post- imperialen Raum am Beispiel Łódź;
  • AHA Convention, PAHA stream, New York, 2-6 Jan., From Revolution to Nation. Popular Unrest in Russian Poland;
  • AHA Convention, PAHA stream, New York, 2-6 Jan., roundtable participation, Is there a History of Poland Beyond the Holocaust;
  • ASEEES Convention, 22-26 November 2019, From Revolution to Nation. Popular Unrest in Russian Poland 1907-1918 (with regional scholar support grant);
  • ASEEES Convention, 22-26 November 2019, book roundtable on From Cotton and Smoke. Łódź –Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity;
  • European Labour History Network, IISH Amsterdam, 18-21 Sep. 2019, Contentious Politics behind the Eastern Front Line. The 1917 Strike of Tram Workers in Lodz, Russian Poland under the German Military Occupation;
  • Polish Sociological Congress, Wrocław, 11-14 Nov. 2019, What bears witness to the failed revolution? Economic elites facing mass politics in late Russian borderlands. Political fields of Poland, Finland and Latvia 1907-1921;
  • Piston, Pen & Press. Industrial Labour & Literary Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century,
    Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, Tampere, 7th June, From the World of Work to Politics and Back. Militant Working Class autobiography in Late Russian Poland;
  • Versailles and Rights. A centenerary Reappraisal, University of Helsinki, 3-4 June 2019, “One of the Oldest States in Europe Has Never Suppressed Any Nation”. Polish Parliamentary Debate on the Minority Treaty and the Foundations of Interwar Polish Politics;
  • Eranet-RUS ImpDiv, Kick-off Workshop, MPG Göttingen, 21-22 Jan. 2019, Debating and Managing Ethnic Diversity in Independent Poland. Draft Constitutions and the Parliamentary Debate of the Legislative Sejm 1919-1922;
  • Transnational Approaches to the History of Socialism before World War One, Leipzig, 6-7 Dec. 2018, Socialisms in the Tsarist Borderlands. Poland and Finland in a Contrastive Comparison, 1830-1907;
  • Practicing Political Representation, University of Helsinki, 14–15 Nov. 2018, Citizenship and Representation During the Polish November Uprising, 1830–1831” (with Piotr Kuligowski);
  • CBEES Annual Conference 2018, Contested Europes: Legacies, Legitimacies, and (Dis)Integration – Baltic, Eastern and Central European perspectives; Sodertorn University, Stockholm, 29-30 Nov. 2018, Civil Society and the Public Sphere. 1918-1968-2018 Long Term Legacies in Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria;
  • Konflikte und Konfliktlösungsmodelle in Industriestädten (1850-1939) im östlichen Europa, Herder-Institut, 4.–5. Oct 2018; Repertoires of Contention in Industrial Conflicts in Lodz 1861- 1921;
  • Interdisciplinarity: Conceptual Explorations, 21st International Conference on the History of Concepts, University of Málaga, 25–28 Sep. 2018, Historical Sociology of Revolution and Welfare and Historical Semantics of Parliamentary Debates;
  • Workers beyond Socialist Glorification and Post-Socialist Disavowal: New Perspectives on Eastern European Labor History, University of Vienna, 24-27 May 2018, Working Out Socialism. Labor and Politics in Socialist Autobiography in 20th Century Poland;
  • 4th Prague Populism Conference, Prague, 21 – 22 May 2018, Liberal Civil Society and Its Enemies within: Political Fields of Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. A Historical Comparison;
  • Urban Public Space in the Long 19th Century, IH PAN Warsaw, 30 Nov.-1 Dec. 2017, Urban Public Space and Radical Politics in the Turn of Centuries (in Polish);
  • European Labour History Network, Nanterre, Sorbonne, 2-4 Nov. 2017, Paris, The Work- Centered Life and the Militant Self an Infra-class Comparison of the Working Class Political Memoirs of the Late Russian Poland;
  • German Historical Institute, Moscow, 21-23 Sep. 2017, Class, Nation, Revolution – Work- Centered Life and the Militant Self on Tsarist Borderlands. Working Class Political Memoirs of the Late Russian Poland;
  • Central European University, Budapest, 29 June-2 July, Narratives of Order and Chaos in 20th Century Eastern European Industrial city. Four Cross-sections of Urban Discourse in Łódź, Poland
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 31 May-1 June 2017, Emotional Community of Nationalist Workers. Performing and Remembering Private Nationalism in late Russian Poland;
  • History of Concepts Group Annual Conference, University of Aarhus, 14-16 Sep. 2016, Crisis, resilience and change – semantic hysteresis, deep layers of time and structure of contingency;
  • University of Oxford, 12-13 Sep. 2016; The class in-between. Militant working class biography, identity and sub-culture in late Russian Poland;
  • Frankfurt (Oder), 13-14 July 2016; Rebellion, Reaction, Cooptation. Structural dynamic of the 1905-1918 and 1980-1989 conjunctures in Poland;
  • Herder Institute, Marburg, Lithuanian Historical Institute, Vilnius, 22-23 June 2016, Debating
    the urban, the rural and the foreign. Image of Łódź and the urban question in late Russian Poland;
  • University of Helsinki 14–15 June 2016, Core leftist isms and their enemies in modern Poland – a cross temporal comparison of 1905, 1945 and 1989 conjunctures;
  • University of Cambridge, 8-9 June 2016, Popular protest, biography and opening the future –restructuring life-course in revolutionary social movement. The 1905 Revolution in Russian Poland
  • Central European University, 21-23 Apr. 2016; Structural latency of the public sphere and historical semantics of the political;
  • Manchester Metropolitan University, 21-23 Mar. 2016; Social Movements Annual Conference, Popular protest, biography and opening the future – restructuring the proletarian life-course in the 1905 Revolution in Russian Poland;
  • History of Concepts Annual Conference, West University of Timisoara 14-18 Sep. 2015, Multiple asymmetrical counter-concepts. Conceptual pair of order and chaos and ideological pluriversum in late 19th –early 20th century Poland;
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, EuroHistory Workshop, 5 May 2015, Intellectual Mobility in Modern Poland. Resubjectification in Russian Poland around the 1905 Revolution
  • New York University, 24-26 Apr. 2015; Vernacular Marxism. Proletarian readings in Russian Poland around the 1905 Revolution;
  • University of Illinois, Chicago, 13-14 Apr. 2015, Orientalizing capitalism. city of Łódź as adiscursive object in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Polish modernization debates;
  • SOAS, London, 06-10 Nov. 2014, Marxism as a subjectifying device. Remarks form the empirical inquiry into the mobilizing power of Marxism;
  • History of Concepts Annual Conference, Bielefeld University, 28- 30 Aug. 2014; Communicating concepts as ushering into the public. Conceptual change, mass communication and polemicization during the 1905 Revolution in Russian Poland;
  • SOAS, London, 07-11 Nov. 2013, “Polish and Jewish workers should struggle together, under one common banner”. Antisemitism and counter anti-semitic discursive strategies in political language during the 1905- 07 Revolution in the Kingdom of Poland;
  • Central European University, Budapest, 20-23 June 2013; “Journalists discovered Łódź like Columbus”. Orientalizing capitalism in the late 19th and early 20th century Polish modernization debates (co-author: Agata Zysiak);
  • University of Brighton, 10-12 Apr. 2013, Thinking the political historically / historical thinking of the political. Concrete abstract and political modernity;
  • SOAS, London, 8-11 Nov. 2012, The peripheral political and lateral Marxism – the case of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz;
  • University of Kent, Canterbury, 13-14 Oct. 2012; For critical, discourse oriented, historical sociology of social movements;
  • BASEES workshop, University of Glasgow, 28 Sep. 2012, A dense force field. Intersection of identities in Kingdom of Poland and the modern political;
  • ESA, University of Lodz,, 14-15 Sep. 2012, Feeling and affect in early proletarian public sphere –the revolution 1905 in Poland in biographical perspective;
  • University of Westminster, London, 18-19 June 2012; The rise of democratic subjectivity – early proletarian public sphere in modern Poland;

Book launches / podium discussions on the book Rebellion and Reaction (in Polish)

  • ECS, Gdańsk, 13 Sep. 2017, People’s History of Poland – Rebellion and Reaction (book launch in Polish);
  • Poznań, Cafe Zemsta, 8 Jan. 2016, Urban Revolt, Modern Public Sphere and Anticolonial Struggles;
  • Warsaw, MDM Bookshop, 11 Jan., The 1905 Revolution and the Pathogenesis of the Polish
    Public Sphere;
  • Katowice, Silesian University, 13 Jan., Plebeian Political Experience in Poland – Polish Kingdom and Silesia;
  • Łódź, Museum of Art, 15 Dec. Rebelion and Reaction in a Modern City;
  • Warsaw, Krytyka Polityczna, 6 Dec. Rebelia i Reakcja, first book launch;


  • Association for Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies
  • Polish Studies Association
  • European Labour History Network
  • History of Concepts Group
  • Political Concepts standing group of European Consortium for Political Research
  • Polish Sociological Association (Working Group in Historical Sociology, board member)