The course will address the mechanisms of interaction between religion and politics in the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its territories that in the late eighteenth century were included into the Romanov, Habsburg, and Hohenzollern Empires. We shall problematicize the history of these multiethnic and multiconfessional contact zones in which cultures met and clash with each other within spaces of asymmetrical power relations. These territories could otherwise be called a communication region that is characterized by dense internal interaction and multiple cultural practices and experiences. We shall also trace how in the nineteenth century these lands turned to be the battleground of various imperial and national projects and which role the legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth played in it.
The course will apply the transnational approach to the history of Polish, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Lithuanian territories as an alternative to dominant national narratives. It will focus on the grounds for religious and political interactions as well as on the history of the Union processes that led to the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Particular attention will be devoted to the history of the Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and Uniate churches, as well as of the Muslim and Jewish communities. Moreover, we shall deal with religious and political mythologies, like Sarmatism or antemurale christianitatis, and look at the modes of everyday life in ethnically and religiously mixed communities.
The course also offers a primary source-based approach combined with the critical assessment of historiographical interpretations. It does not necessarily require the knowledge of other languages than English.