Research

The Institute of Slavic Studies conducts interdisciplinary research on languages, literatures, history and issues of ethnicity in the geographical area populated by Slavic peoples. The linguists, literary and cultural studies scholars, cultural anthropologists and historians working at the Institute have developed a complementary Slavic studies approach which combines the topics and research methods of their disciplines. The Institute pursues research in six major fields.

1. Slavic cultural heritage, diachronic studies

Research in this field is pursued with a view to gaining an in-depth insight into the cultural and spiritual heritage of Slavic peoples. Diachronic studies as well as documentation and editorial projects result in lexicons, dictionaries, atlases, bibliographies, critical editions of sources and materials, individual and collective monographs – all of which are of fundamental importance to the humanities. The list of unique lexicographic projects features the ongoing Proto-Slavic Dictionary (Słownik prasłowiański). The Institute’s publications also include multi-volume critical editions of sources for the study of Slavic histories and literatures. Interdisciplinary diachronic Slavic studies tackle the questions of Slavic linguistic history, onomastics, historical dialectology, lexicon and the language of particular writers. Russian and Ukrainian literary and cultural studies undertaken at the Institute, in turn, focus on literature, the arts, theatre and cultural anthropology.

2. National and regional identities of Slavs (myths, ideas, collective memory)

Research in this field focuses on issues of nationality, including especially collective memory, ideas, myths and mythologems, symbolism and linguistic aspects. Theoretical research concerns the identity of Slavic nations (including Poles) in the context of European integration and globalisation. Another topic of nationality studies is diachronic research on Poland’s relations with Europe and on ethnicities in the area populated by Slavic peoples. An important sub-field are memory studies, featuring unique research on Belarusian historical memory. Other projects provide anthropological interpretations of modern culture as well numerous analyses of cultural identity in the Balkans.

3. Multiculturalism; linguistic and cultural contacts and borderlands; linguistic, ethnic and religious minorities

Research in this field concentrates on national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. Attention is also paid to issues concerning cultural borderlands, including language contacts. Empirical research in dialectology and socio-linguistics is based predominantly on primary sources and thus requires long-term fieldwork. The geographical areas in focus are the Polish-German as well as the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian and Polish-Ukrainian borderlands, with a particular focus on the Polish minority in the former Soviet Union.

4. The linguistic worldview

Basing on material from Slavic languages, projects in this research field comprise comparative studies on the linguistic worldview (językowy obraz świata, JOS) on a national, all-Slavic, and – more broadly – European scale. Their object is, on the one hand, human perception of the world through the perspective defined by the individual’s linguistic and cultural group and, on the other hand, the human as a subject of culture of this group. Other important issues include both group/collective (especially national) identity and the identity of individuals partaking in more than one linguistic-cultural group. Affiliated with the Institute is the EUROJOS Seminar (The cultural and linguistic worldview of Slavs and their neighbours in a comparative perspective), coordinating research by fifty-six scholars from places including Russia, Japan, Australia and a number of European countries.

5. Synchronic Slavic linguistics: contrastive studies, semantics, cognitive studies, corpus linguistics

This field comprises contrastive and cognitive linguistic research. The work is carried out within the framework of international, interdisciplinary projects which bring together linguists and IT specialists and result in multi-language dictionaries and corpora of Slavic languages. In this way, the Institute makes a contribution to the development of Slavic corpus linguistics as well as Slavic and Slavic–non-Slavic contrastive research.

6. Slavic studies worldwide; Slavic studies information resources

The projects in this field are undertaken with a view to enabling scholarly reflection on the changing tasks of Slavic studies and the development of the discipline, both in historical and contemporary perspectives. Other goals include coordinating works on an international bibliography of Slavic linguistics, research into cutting-edge methods of document retrieval for Slavic linguistics, and the creation of a database storing the scholarly legacies of the Institute’s staff members. The work also includes continuous development of the online Slavic studies bibliography iSybislaw and the Slavic studies repository iReteslaw. The projects undertaken in this field of research make a contribution to the worldwide popularisation of the achievements of Slavic studies.