Research Perspectives

Candidates are advised to carefully study the research perspectives offered by the Program and to take them into account while formulating their letter of intent and the PhD dissertation project that are part of their Application.

Please note that all research done within the Program will be highly interdisciplinary in nature and that the research perspectives listed below are meant to accommodate the original and unique proposals expected from the candidates.


1. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES FROM ANTIQUITY TO MODERNITY

How does our understanding of natural environment change over the course of history? What are the modalities of the transmission of knowledge and information between generations? The doctoral projects may consider such historical changes across different temporal and spatial scopes: e.g. European conceptualizations of animals and plants between Maimonides and Malthus, Da Vinci and Buffon; or, the reshaping of science, scholarship and institutions of learning from Antiquity to our contemporaneity. PhD students will also have the option of joining an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars who combine philology and digital humanities in order to publish critical editions of texts that played a significant role in late medieval and early modern science.

Research Teams:

  • The Evolution of the Concept of Nature from the 15th to the 18th c. (Kieniewicz, Rabiej)
  • Generational Transmission of Knowledge and Information from Antiquity to the 21st c. (Axer, Sokół)
  • Critical Editions of Sources in History of Science (Choptiany, Skolimowska)


2. REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES

The Mediterranean involves different cultural communities and ecosystems, which all have their spatial and temporal extensions throughout Europe. We invite PhD proposals pertaining to the frontiers between Eastern and Western traditions stemming from the Latin and Byzantine past and exploring research questions that are regional in scope: what are the influences of theology and life sciences on German, Polish and Russian literatures? How does the Classical cultural heritage condition the interplay between ethnic and national identities in Eastern and Central Europe? How did natural knowledge shape the culture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 15th-18th c.? How do religious affiliations circumscribe Balkan identities? What were the relations between gender, authority and corporeality in early modern Mediterranean Europe and how did they shape our actual understanding of human sociocultural dynamics? What does Romantic and modern travel literature tell us about the geographical and human space of the Mediterranean?  How do the cultural and environmental conditions influence everyday life along the Mediterranean shores from Antiquity to our times?

Research Teams:

  • The Mediterranean at the Crossroads of the Latin and the Byzantine Traditions (Stępień, Sadkowska, Wielecki)
  • Nature and Culture in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Nowicka-Jeżowa)
  • Mediterranean Identity: Nations, Ethnicities, Religions, and Ecosystems (Axer, Abramowicz, Sujecka, Miernowski, Lewandowska, Wielecki)
  • Everyday Life in the Mediterranean (Sucharski, Kordos)
  • Travel in the Mediterranean (Kalinowska, Janion, Kordos)


3. ARTISTIC PERSPECTIVES

Students will explore the interplay between art and nature. Of particular interest is the interaction between, on the one hand, artistic creation, the reception, circulation and collecting of art and, on the other, biological evolution and the etiology of diseases. Among possible questions to be considered are: how do ecological pressures influence cultural models of attractiveness that are represented in literature and art? What is the ecological conditioning of some of gender specific linguistic mistakes? How might mathematical theories of complexity help us in understanding compositional forms and artistic innovations? What are the institutional, social, economic, religious, and political aspects of collecting holy relics, natural curiosities, human relicts, antiques, and artefacts? To what extent are natural parks, zoological gardens, circuses, and animal fights expressions of scientific pursuit, desire for entertainment, or political dominance (from Antiquity to the present)? Can an artistic performance become a valid research method in life sciences? How does literature negotiate disability and “normalcy”?

Research Teams:

  • Ecological and Evolutionary Bases of Art, Literature and Film (Pawłowski)
  • Complexity Studies View on Human Creativity in Arts and Sciences (Trippenbach)
  • Collecting of Artistic and Natural Artifacts (Poprzęcka)
  • Performative Culture and Natural Environment (Pijanowska, Axer, Rutkowski, Marciniak, Kulas)
  • Artists in the Biology Lab (Golik)
  • Literary and Cultural Representations of Disability (Wojtas)


4. TECHNOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES

We invite projects pertaining to the philosophical and anthropological study of technology. What is the role of technology in the process of socialization and how does automatization impact human agency and ethical responsibility? What are the consequences of the digital revolution on reshaping human temporality, i.e. the time of work and leisure, the possibilities of manipulating time and stepping out of the temporal dimension of existence? How does the economy of attention influence ethical and political choices? What may be the humanism suitable for our times, when human specificity is challenged by the cyborgs of Artificial Intelligence and the chimeras of bioengineering? Among possible paths of inquiry are also ethnographic and historical studies of alternative social histories that are shaped by the technological interaction of local communities with their environment.

Research Teams:

  • Technology and Socialization (Wróbel, Mazierska, Miłkowski, Ziarek, Lambert)
  • Ethics and Cyberworld (Trippenbach)
  • Vernacular Technologies and Socio-Technical Systems from the Perspective of Medical Anthropology (Rakowski)
  • Humanism, Antihumanism, Posthumanism (Miernowski, Skonieczny)


5. SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES

Life Sciences and Physical Sciences may be instrumental in understanding complex social phenomena such as health, group behavior, communication between individuals and communities, both human and non-human. Among possible avenues of research are questions such as: how do convictions deeply rooted in a given culture impact neurodegenerative, psychiatric or metabolic diseases, and how may such influence be quantified? How can we preserve biodiversity by revitalizing endangered and marginalized languages? What are the cultural and social repercussions of past migrations and their relevance for the present and future migrations elicited by climate change? What are the socio-psychological and semiotic mechanisms of climate change denial and the anti-vaccination movement? What are the social preconditions needed to convert human-animal relations from exploitation to mutually beneficial relationships? How does cohabitation between groups of chimpanzees and human communities challenge the traditional distinctions between what is natural and what is cultural?

Research Teams:

  • Health and Cultural Environment (Konarzewski)
  • Local Languages, Traditional Cultures and Environmental Knowledge (Olko)
  • Cultural and Social Consequences of Climate Change (Welc)
  • The Anti-Sciences Discourse in the Era of Post-Truths (Golik)
  • Human-Animal Interactions (Pijanowska)
  • Ground-Nesting in Northern Democratic Republic of Congo Chimpanzees: Environmental, Behavioral, and Human Cultural Influences (Hicks)


6. RELIGIOUS, ETHICAL AND LEGAL PERSPECTIVES

We invite projects pertaining to diverse forms of religious approaches to nature as well as research in the area of environmental ethics and animal rights. Here are examples of some of the possible axes of investigation: the relationships between religion and evolution, human and non-human practices of death and mourning, contemporary and historical forms of zoolatry such as animism and totemism, the search for a harmonious coexistence with the natural environment inscribed into monastic rules, new developments in ecotheology and particularly the theological views on the Anthropocene, legal considerations on non-human agency, psychometric studies of the ethical consequences of curricula in the life sciences, or sociological studies of state policies toward non-humans.

Research Teams:

  • Ethical and Legal Aspects of Treatment of Non-Humans by Humans (Elżanowski)
  • Ecology and Religion (Domańska)
  • Monasticism and the Integration of Nature and Culture (Rabiej, Zalewska, Wojciechowska)