Skip to main content

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Department of American Studies

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Department of American Studies is one of the first centers of American studies in Poland. Grants from the Mellon Foundation, which allowed for development of scientific activities and gathering of a large book collection, contributed to its establishment. The creator of the Kraków center of American studies is Prof. dr hab. Andrzej Mania, who in 1994 became the head of the Interfaculty Department of American Studies, transformed in 2000 into the Chair in American Studies. Interdisciplinary doctoral studies in American studies, which have been offered for many years, resulted in several dozen Ph.D. dissertations in various fields. In 2019, the Department changed its name into the Department of American Studies.

The scholars of the Department represent a wide range of specialties and scholarly interests, including history, political science, international relations, law, and philosophy.

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Main research areas

  • American political system and constitutional law
  • American legal system
  • American political thought
  • Foreign and security policy of the US
  • American strategy, armed forces, and the ways of conducting war
  • US history
  • history of diplomacy and international relations
  • Cold War history
  • the intelligence in the process of forming and carrying out the US security policy
  • quantitative methods in social studies
  • political communication
  • global governance

Current research projects

American Presidential Primaries. The Assessment of Four Decades

Description: The scholarly goal of the project is to analyze the process of American presidential primaries and to assess whether and how the reforms of the presidential election system introduced in the 1970s caused a transformation of the American political system. The analysis aims to determine the most important elements of the process of presidential primaries, with a special emphasis on the actions undertaken by candidates in order to acquire the presidential nomination of their parties.

The effect of the project: The final effect of the project will be the publication of a scholarly monograph. Its contents will include the description of the institutional aspects of the primaries as well as the explanation of the actions of candidates and their staffs during the election campaign. An attempt will be made to evaluate how the American system of primaries changed the dynamics of the internal politics processes in the United States.

Source of financing: Donation from the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University for young scholars (U-35)
Head of the project: Dr Maciej Turek
Duration of the project: 2013-

The Use of Neural Networks in Political Studies

Description: The project aims to verify the possibilities of one of the methods of formal data analysis – the neural networks. Its main goal is the attempt to evaluate the usefulness of neural networks in political studies. The preliminary hypothesis makes an assumption that neural networks may be a useful method of data analysis but only with certain initial requirements.

The effect of the project: There are several anticipated effects associated with the realization of the project. It shall allow to gain innovative knowledge concerning the usefulness of a certain research tool. The project will be also an important voice in the broader, international methodological debate within the political science. It will result in the development of knowledge and skills as well as gaining experience, which may be used in solving various problems of political studies.

Source of financing: Research grant from the National Science Centre (OPUS 8, UMO-2014/15/B/HS5/01885)
Head of the project: Dr hab. Łukasz Wordliczek
Duration of the project: 2015-2018

Completed research projects

Financing of the Federal Election Campaigns and the Future of Democracy in the United States

Description: The aim of the project was to analyze the state of contemporary American democracy from the angle of political representation, and this in turn was studied from the perspective of financing of election campaigns. A special emphasis was put on the course of election campaigns carried out after the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling of January 2010, in which the judges extended the right to give money to political campaigns to corporations and trade unions.

The effect of the project: The authors showed that: money has a substantial impact on the election process in the US, both major parties use similar strategies in individual election cycles, the Buckley v. Valeo case is a source of controversy about the election financing system, etc. The conclusions were presented in the monograph Cena demokracji. Finansowanie federalnych kampanii wyborczych w Stanach Zjednoczonych Ameryki (Księgarnia Akademicka 2016).

Source of financing: Research grant from the National Science Centre (OPUS 5, UMO-2013/09/B/HS5/01086)
Head of the project: Dr hab. Paweł Laidler, prof. UJ
Members of the project team: dr Maciej Turek
Duration of the project: 2014-2016

Josiah Warren – the First American Anarchist?

Description: The research project was designed to present the philosophy and doctrine of the founder of the American individualist anarchism. Josiah Warren (1798-1874) was one of the best known and most recognizable American thinkers of his time. His socio-economic experiments were widely discussed in Europe and he was praised by John Stuart Mill, but he is almost completely forgotten today. Warren’s philosophy would eventually become the foundation of the whole current of individualist anarchism.

Effect of the project: Results of the project, presented in the monograph Josiah Warren – pierwszy amerykański anarchista? (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego 2012), show a pioneering nature of Warren’s input to the individualist anarchist thought in the US in the 19th century.

Source of financing: Research grant from the National Science Centre (SONATA, UMO-2011/01/D/HS5/01660)
Head of the project: Dr Magdalena Modrzejewska
Members of the project team: Dr Tatyana Bakhmetyeva
Duration of the project: 2011-2016

New Technologies and Their Impact on the Change of the Nature of War. Science Fiction or the Future of the Western Way of Conducting War?

Description: The main thesis of this project assumed that the military uses of the achievement of biotechnological revolution may be regarded as tools of tactical risk management. The project focused on the methods of minimizing the tactical risk associated with the effectiveness of American soldiers and the psychophysical weaknesses of the human body with the help of scientific and technological achievements. The biotechnological revolution, catalyzed for the military use by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), leads to the transformation of the American way of conducting war and the creation of a “new brave soldier”.

Effect of the project: Results of the study were published in the monograph Nowy wspaniały żołnierz. Rewolucja biotechnologiczna i wojna w XXI wieku (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, Kraków, 2014) and the article „Helping the Post-Modern Ajax. Is Managing Combat Trauma Through Pharmacology a Faustian Bargain?”, Armed Forces and Society, 39:3, July 2013, 395–414.

Source of financing: Research grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education N N116 389539.
Head of the project: Dr hab. Łukasz Kamieński
Duration of the project: 2010-2014

Mechanisms of Continuation and Change in the Foreign Policy of the US after World War II

Description: The project was an attempt to discuss the crucial issues of the theory of democracy. There was a specific focus on an analysis of the influence of presidential elections in the US after World War II on the foreign policy of this country. From the methodological angle, the research concerned determining the possibilities and limitations associated with the use of different research methods in political studies.

Effect of the project: The result of the project was the monograph Mechanizmy kontynuacji i zmiany w polityce zagranicznej USA po II wojnie światowej (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagielońskiego, 2013), which pointed to the limited impact of the election mechanism after World War II on the shape of foreign policy.

Source of financing: Research grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education N N116 324239.
Head of the project: Dr hab. Łukasz Wordliczek
Duration of the project: 2010-2013

Negotiating Cultural Differences in the Digital Communication Era

Description: The project was focused on the changes in the sphere of global communication, which had a significant impact on the possibilities, perspectives, and the nature of intercultural encounters. Transformations in the sphere of communication technology result in changes of the mechanisms of intercultural communication. The nature and the results of these changes were the focal point of this project.

Effect of the project: The research examined the impact of factors associated with the new communication environment on the state, mechanisms, and perspectives of carrying out an effective intercultural dialogue.

Source of financing: Research grant from the National Science Centre (HARMONIA, No. UMO-2012/04/M/HS6/00517).
Head of the project: Dr hab. Garry Robson, Professor of the Jagiellonian University.
Members of the project team: Dr hab. Małgorzata Zachara, dr Jolanta Szymkowska-Bartyzel, dr Agnieszka Stasiewicz-Bieńkowska, David Gunkel, Ann Gunkel.
Duration of the project: 2012-2014.

Poland in the Transatlantic Relations – Tools, Perspectives, and Significance of Poland in Shaping the Transatlantic Debate

Description: The primary goal of the project involved the examination of the changing scope of Poland’s participation in Transatlantic relations. Coinciding with recent global transformations, the political and economic priorities of both Europe and the US have changed as well. This in turn has resulted in the redistribution of opportunities and challenges in Transatlantic relations. The project also aims to establish new ways of determining the role and perspectives of Central and Eastern Europe in the Transatlantic debate.

Effect of the project: Identification of thematic areas of future Transatlantic cooperation and methods of improvement of the effectiveness of its mechanisms.

Source of financing: Research grant from the National Science Centre (SYMFONIA, No. UMO-2011/03/D/HS5/01116).
Head of the project: Dr hab. Małgorzata Zachara.
Members of the project team: Dr hab. Garry Robson, Professor of the Jagiellonian University, dr Patrick Vaughan, Professor of the Jagiellonian University, dr Jolanta Szymkowska-Bartyzel.
Duration of the project: 2011-2016.

Change in International Relations – Management of Supranational Environments

Description: The project is focused on the nature and consequences of recent transformations in the international environment. The research will examine the various processes of integration taking place at the social, political, technological levels.

Effect of the project: The results of the study were published in Mechanizmy wpływu w środowisku międzynarodowym. Zastosowanie Centre of Gravity (CoG) dla analizy procesów decyzyjnych w sprawach globalnych (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, Kraków 2015).

Source of financing: Donation from the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University for young scholars (U-35)
Head of the project: Dr hab. Małgorzata Zachara.
Duration of the project: 2014-2015.

Global Governance

Description: The aim of the project was to explain the nature of global governance as a research approach and an environment of conducting international relations as well as to discuss the main points of the debate on this concept. This approach was used to describe the dynamics of the powers shaping the international reality and in the analysis of case studies, showing mechanisms of cooperation of diverse actors.

Effect of the project: The results of the project were presented in the monograph Global Governance. Ład międzynarodowy po zakończeniu stulecia Ameryki (Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, Kraków 2012).

Source of financing: Donation from the Faculty of International and Political Studies of the Jagiellonian University for young scholars (U-35)
Head of the project: Dr hab. Małgorzata Zachara.
Duration of the project: 2011-2013.

Academic activities

Publications: Academic journal Ad Americam. Journal of American Studies

Organized conferences and workshops:

  • Back to the Game? Poland in Transatlantic Relations after 1989, international workshop with the participation of twenty researchers from Polish, American, and German centres, active in the field of Transatlantic studies (March 20, 2015).
  • Negotiating Cultural Differences in a Digital Communication Era, international symposium with the participation of Zygmunt Bauman and Ciro Marcondes Filho (October 2-3, 2013); post-conference publication.
  • Presidential Elections in the United States: Challenges and Expectations (October 26-27, 2012); post-conference publication.
  • The United States and the World: from Imitation to Challenge, international conference (May 29-30, 2009); post-conference publication.
  • American Myth in the Polish Culture: Construction, Reconstruction, Deconstruction; international conference (April 18-19, 2008).
  • US Foreign Policy: Theory, Mechanisms and Practice; international conference (May 25-27, 2007); post-conference publication.