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April 6, 2023 - Between Microhistory And Microsociology: Writing A Biography Of Zygmunt Bauman


The life of Zygmunt Bauman (1925- 2017) encapsulates 90 years of European history. A sociologist, a critical observer of western societies, a public intellectual, and one of the fathers of postmodernity, Bauman experienced major events and sociological processes that shaped Europe in the 20th century: antisemitism, World War II, the building of a communist society in Poland, exile, and emigration.

This talk will focus on what Bauman’s biography reveals about Polish Jewish and European histories of the 20th century. It will also delve into the methodological challenges of writing his life story, “Bauman. A Biography.”

Izabela Wagner is a Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Sociology, at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, and a fellow at The French Institute for Migration Studies in Paris. She is currently a visiting scholar at the University of California, Davis. Wagner holds a PhD from the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris. She was a visiting scholar at Harvard University (Department of the History of Science) and The New School for Social Research in NYC. She was a Braudel Fellow at EUI (Florence). Wagner was also visiting professor among others at Sorbonne (Paris), EHESS (Paris), Sapienza (Rome), Fudan (Shanghai).

In addition to ‘Bauman: a Biography’ (2020), Wagner is the author of ‘Producing Excellence: The Making of Virtuosos’ (2015) and ‘Becoming Transnational: Professional Careers of Polish Scholarly Elites’ (2011). Her books were translated into Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, French, and Polish. She also wrote scholarly articles about the sociology of academic careers, professional mobility, refugees and forced migration.

Speaker: Izabela Wagner, Professor of Sociology, Collegium Civitas, Warsaw


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