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POB IV: The Humanities: Crossing Borders, Extending Capabilities

Priority Research Area IV, “The Humanities: Crossing Borders, Extending Capabilities”, brings together several related research programmes aimed at strengthening and expanding the potential of the humanities research conducted at the University of Warsaw. They will be carried out with close international and inter-disciplinary cooperation in social sciences, and life or technical sciences.

The flagship activity of POB IV will be the creation of the Centre for Culture, Language and Mind Research – a new research entity with inter-faculty status at the University of Warsaw. The Centre will carry out ambitious and pioneering research projects, with clear inter-departmental and interdisciplinary profiles, connecting various research communities at our University. The Centre’s work will be supported by the Scientific Council, which will invite outstanding researchers from various scientific disciplines.

The remaining measures of POB IV are also aimed at further strengthening and internationalising selected areas of the humanities at the University of Warsaw and addressing those topics and issues that will reinforce the position of our research community in the world. In turn, a team of research managers will strengthen the potential of the humanities community to obtain prestigious grants and efficiently manage large research projects and applications.

The implementation of objectives resulting from the “Excellence Initiative – Research University” within POB IV will include a number of competitions which are addressed to the academic community. Among others, there will be open competitions for co-financing the organisation of international scientific conferences at the University of Warsaw, purchasing the rights to open access for scientific publications (gold open access), the employment of visiting professors and researchers for postdoctoral internships, or co-financing individual research trips, the organisation of summer schools, or initiating and launching new, innovative fields of study.

Activities

Centre for Culture, Language and Mind Research

The aim of the Centre will be to stimulate interdisciplinary research conducted at the University of Warsaw through the participation of the humanities, by creating conditions for the creation and implementation of research projects and supporting such projects (organisational, technical, IT, methodological, or related to the dissemination of results). Moreover, the Centre will support the transfer of knowledge and skills among research teams who are working in different fields and departments of the University of Warsaw, in order to facilitate the use of the University’s research infrastructure and support laboratories that provide services to research teams/projects. As a result of these activities, cooperation with foreign units abroad will be intensified, and interdisciplinary research carried out at UW and involving the humanities will be promoted at a national and international level. — detailed description

Coordinator for the establishment of the Centre: the Vice-Rector for Research in the term 2016-2020, dr hab. Maciej Duszczyk

Digital humanities

One of the most dynamically developing interdisciplinary research areas is digital humanities. The overarching objective of this activity is to increase the scientific potential of the University of Warsaw, among other things by creating technological support for humanities research. The main targets include building a university infrastructure, strengthening and enabling humanities research with the use of digital tools, integrating and networking university research teams and projects in the broadly-understood digital humanities, and creating a specialised research team which is able to participate in ambitious national and international projects.

The action will include the creation of an institutional repository of research data for the humanities and social sciences, and a university platform for the exchange of information on the digital projects that are being conducted and the research tools that are available. Two lab groups will also be established: one will manage the issue of Web archiving (a full-text corpus of archived pages from Polish domains from 1996-2001 will be made available) and the other will be concerned with the digital reconstruction of historic sites in virtual space. — detailed description

Coordinator: Dominik Purchała

Archaeo-Oriental studies

Archaeo-Oriental studies combine archaeological, cognitive and textological methods and theories with field research and the application of new technologies. Interdisciplinary research will contribute to a deeper knowledge of the ways humans express thoughts and culture, and of what mankind is, among various cultural, social and environmental entanglements. Understanding the past of a given culture affects one’s perception about its current situation; therefore, archaeo-orientalist research can help understand the thinking and behaviour of non-European cultures with which (and among which) intercultural understanding is considered difficult or even impossible.

Initial research will be conducted in selected areas relevant to the study of human history where scientists from the University of Warsaw are already present (e.g., Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Armenia), with the possibility of broadening their range as cooperation develops. — detailed description

Coordinator: dr hab. Kamil Kuraszkiewicz

Ancient Societies in Action

Ancient Societies in Action brings together researchers from various backgrounds in the University, especially historians, orientalists, classical philologists, archaeologists, and specialists in Roman law. It seeks to integrate the academic community, utilise their potential more fully, and make the University of Warsaw one of the most important centres of Ancient Studies in Europe. These activities are supported and coordinated by the Centre for Research on Ancient Civilisations. — detailed description

Coordinator: dr hab. Robert Wiśniewski

Non-anthropocentric Cultural Subjectivity

The objective of this activity is to create a research platform which focuses on issues of post-humanism, in its broadest sense. Above all, it will concern the relations between the world of people and non-human subjects (beings). Works in the framework of this project will be designed to overcome the anthropocentric vision of subjectivity, and to work out foundations for a new model which accounts for the world of living beings, and also the development of information technologies – especially in the context of work on autonomous machines and artificial intelligence. The areas of research to be carried out first will be related to linguistic and semiotic communication systems in the non-human world and their correlation with the structures of languages produced by homo sapiens, as well as representations of the non-human world in the cultural creations of mankind, on cognitive and affective levels. In the long term, there are plans to analyse legal and bioethical regulations in the area of animal protection, and issues related to biodiversity, ecology and combating the negative effects of climate change. — detailed description

Coordinator: dr hab. Paweł Piszczatowski

Global history – the non-European contexts of the modern world

The objective of this activity is to create a research team to stimulate dialogue between the scientific community at the University of Warsaw and leading research centres of “global history” – which has been the fastest growing field of historiography in the last 20 years – and also to integrate the research that has already been carried out in this area in the various departments at UW. We attach great importance to the education of young staff, including the organisation of an international summer school and a two-year master’s degree course in the English language (“Global History and Anthropology”). The project budget includes funds for employing several postdocs to augment areas which are under-represented at the University of Warsaw (e.g., the history of East Asia) through open competitions, as well as for inviting leading foreign experts in global history to give lectures for several months. The goal of the project is to involve the community of the University of Warsaw in research in the broad field of “global history”, while gaining a new, wider context for the study of the history of Poland, or Central and Eastern Europe. — detailed description

Coordinator: prof. dr hab. Dariusz Kołodziejczyk

Linguistic and cultural diversity, biodiversity, and the environment

The task of this activity is to improve understanding about the relationship between concentrations of biodiversity, and the linguistic and cultural diversity found in those same areas. A research platform will be created to launch a wide-ranging, multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary project aimed at providing further insight into the links and possible interrelationships between the world’s biological, linguistic, and cultural diversity. — detailed description

Coordinator: dr hab. Justyna Olko

Multilingualism

Many people develop multilingually because of mobility and migration, or gain knowledge of different languages through education. However, there is still a lack of methodologically advanced empirical research to explain the linguistic and cognitive mechanisms of multilingual children and adults. Multilingualism research carried out at the University of Warsaw has gained worldwide recognition but remains scattered among departments. Therefore, we will create an interdepartmental and international Multilingualism Research Hub, combining the knowledge and know-how of linguists and psychologists. We will also create a common research space to facilitate and increase the use of available infrastructure at the University. — detailed description

Coordinator: dr hab. Agnieszka Otwinowska-Kasztelanic

The Coordinating Committee

Presentations