Bodies and Borders: Gendered Nationalism in Contemporary Poland

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Virginia Tech

The 11th of November 2018, marked the 100th year anniversary of Poland regaining independence in 1918, following nearly 123 years of partition. To commemorate this centennial anniversary, museums and cultural institutions around the country hosted exhibitions presenting national identity and narratives. In this thesis, I compare two such exhibitions in Warsaw, one hosted by the Warsaw National Museum and the other housed in the Warsaw Modern Art Museum. I argue that the employment of feminine figures as allegorical representations of the nation within the Krzycząc: Polska! Niepodległa 1918 (Shouting: Poland! Independence 1918), exhibition of the Warsaw National Museum, serves as an illustrative example of how women have historically, and continue to be, made physical and symbolic bearers of an exclusivist version of Polish national identity. The Niepodległe (Independent Women) exhibition housed in the Warsaw Modern Art Museum, on the other hand, presents an alternative, and more inclusive, means of national identity formation through acknowledging the heterogenous roles and identities taken up by the actual women of the nation.

nationalism, Poland, Gender, museum, Law and Justice Party, PiS, patriarchy