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History of the Institute

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History of the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora

Establishment

The Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora was established by decision of the Senate of the Jagiellonian University in November 2004. The Institute is a multidisciplinary unit, employing historians, sociologists, experts in political science and literary scholars, and was created as a result of the merger of several previously existing units.

Institute of Polish Diaspora and Ethnic Studies

The oldest of them was the Institute of Polish Diaspora and Ethnic Studies, established as early as 1972 to conduct research on the issues of ethnicity, international migration, multiculturalism, regionalisms and nationalisms in the world, particularly in relation to the Polish communities abroad.

Institute of Polish Diaspora and Ethnic Studies was one of the most important Polish centers of research and teaching Polish as a foreign language, as well as the issues related to international migration of Poles, the questions of ethnicity and migration, and Polish literature abroad. In 2004, the Institute of Polish Diaspora and Ethnic Studies was dissolved, and the centers operating within it became a part of, inter alia, the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora (the Chair in Sociology of Nation and Ethnic Relations and the Chair in International Migration).

Institute of Regional Studies

Three other departments, which until 2004 had been a part of the Institute of Regional Studies, also entered into the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora: The American Studies Center, the Latin American Studies Centre, and the Chair in Canada,. The Institute of Regional Studies was conceived as a unit bringing together researchers into issues related ti different parts of the world: North America and Europe, Latin America and Russia, the Middle and Far East. Changes in the structure of the Institute of Regional Studies stemmed from the growing popularity and intensity of research to these fields of study. Scholars involved in the research on Europe, both Americas, Russia and Eastern Europe decided to create separate institutes, while the Chairs in International Culture and of Middle and Far East remained within the structures of the Institute of Regional Studies. 

The origins of American studies at the Jagiellonian University

Department of American Studies is the largest unit within the Institute of American Studies. The center acted as an independent research unit of the Jagiellonian University from 1991 to 2004 under the name of the Inter-Faculty American Studies Department (MZSA). Its goal was to bring the Polish students closer to various issues concerning the United States.

Currently Department of American Studies continues the tradition, started during the operation of the MZSA, of collaboration with scholars from various faculties of the university, who in their research specialize in the issues related to the United States and can share their knowledge with the students.

The founder and director of MZSA Professor Andrzej Mania was the head of the Chair in American Studies until 2019 (in 2019 the Chair in American Studies changed its name into Department of American Studies), serving also as the Head of the Chair of the History of Diplomacy and International Policies at the Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations.

In 1995 the MZSA launched a PhD studies program and in March 2000 the first defense of a doctoral thesis (doctoral exam) took place. Currently, a separate and very extensive doctoral studies program is run at the Institute several dozen graduates of various fields of study of are enrolled on the program.

Faculty of International and Political Studies

The Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora is now a part of the Faculty of International and Political Studies. The Faculty was established by a vote of the Senate of the Jagiellonian University on 20th December 2000 and became the twelfth faculty of our university. Professor Andrzej Mania, PhD was appointed Dean of the Faculty, while Professor Władysław Miodunka, PhD and Barbara Stoczewska, PhD became Vice-Deans. After the reorganization that took place in the last months of 2004, the Faculty, in its basic structure, consists of five institutes: the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora, the Institute for European Studies, the Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations, the Institute of Russian and Eastern European Studies, the Institute of Regional Studies, as well as the Chair of Ukrainian Studies and the European College in Zakopane. Since 2006, the Center for Chinese Language and Culture "Confucius Institute" in Krakow has also been a part of the Faculty (for more information see the website of the Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations).

The basic objectives of the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora

The primary objective of this institute is to conduct research in the field of American, Polish Diaspora, Ethnic, and Latin American studies. The Institute also runs educational activities by offering undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA) studies in several different specialties.