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Rising Subjects: Forging the Political During the 1905 Revolution in Russian Poland

The CEU Campus
Thursday, June 22, 2017, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Defense Committee:

Chair: Marsha Siefert, Department of History, CEU
Supervisor: Judit Bodnar, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, CEU Second supervisor: Balazs Trencsenyi, Department of History, CEU
External examiner: Brian Porter-Szucs, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
External reader: Theodore R. Weeks, Southern Illinois University

The 1905 revolution in the Russian-controlled Kingdom of Poland was one of the few bottom-up political transformations and general democratizations in Polish history, probably paralleled only by the “first” Solidarity movement in the early 1980s. As the political upsurge ultimately brought about defeat of the popular classes that were rising for political recognition and economic alleviation, it is not in direct political or social outcomes where one should look for its major significance. Considering the general issue of polity being established, I argue that it was a watershed of political modernity in Poland. This project corroborates such a hypothesis through an analysis of various discourses comprising a change within the public sphere, militant subjectivities, and political languages. Deftly integrating historical sociology, conceptual history and historical discourse analysis, the dissertation sheds a light on the historically changing realm of the political. The general objective is to explore how spaces and representations of the political have changed through continuous processes of redefinition and re-enactment. In particular, my focus is the presence of certain social groupings in this communicative space, namely the “working class”. I am interested in the transformation of places that workers (both male and female) and work itself may have taken in the political realm and the respective remolding of workers’ selves as political agents. This mirror question concerns the enactment of political participation by “rising subjects” themselves through various, often conflicting, political commitments, from far-left socialism to virulent nationalism. In order to address these questions, in subsequent chapters I investigate workers acting in the public sphere, the evolving entanglement of biography and politics, the changing regime of political speech, and the transformation of political visibility of workers.