Editor-in-charge of the issue [Redaktor Prowadząca]: Jolanta Sujecka
Co-publisher of the issue [Współwydawca]: The Slavic Foundation [Fundacja Slawistyczna]
Project (“Colloquia Humanistica – creating English versions of publications”) – financed under contract no. 681/P-DUN/2016 from funds of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland, allocated to science dissemination activities. [Zadanie („Colloquia Humanistica – stworzenie anglojęzycznych wersji wydawanych publikacji”) – finansowane w ramach umowy 681/P-DUN/2016 ze środków Ministra Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego przeznaczonych na działalność upowszechniającą naukę.]
The fifth yearly volume of the Colloquia Humanistica comprises a thematic section on Nation, Natsiya, Ethnie. The subject it discusses has thus far received little attention as a research problem in the Slavia Orthodoxa, the Slavia Romana, the Balkans but also in Central and Eastern Europe. We re-examine the equivocality of the term natsiya, point to its rootedness in the ancient world and reveal its hitherto unexplored semantical aspects, drawing on the historical meanings of the term in the Hungarian Monarchy and the Commonwealth of Both Nations. At the same time, we discuss its much less known twentieth-century career, focusing on its peculiar etymology, its changing contexts in the globalising world and considering its entanglement with widely understood issues of identity both in the Slavia Orthodoxa and outside of it: within Yiddish and Judeo-Spanish Jewishness as well as beyond Europe. On the one hand, our intention was to demonstrate the analyzed terms as deeply embedded in earliest of history. On the other – to show how linguistic but also ethnic and societal factors cause their meanings to shimmer. As with our previous thematic sections, we made no attempt to exhaust the topic at hand. What we were trying to offer was an indication of its richness and equivocality, a feature often underestimated within so-called young identities, such as Ukrainian and Buryat ones. This was what prompted us both to centre the current thematic section around history and to include in our discussion the meanings of these terms in some of the cultures whose international presence dates back to as late as the twentieth century. It is also for these reasons that we find a particularly interesting context for our discussion to be offered by the early-twentieth-century debates about modern Jewish identity among both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, a debate which was tragically interrupted by the Shoah.