Junior Research Fellow in Early Modern History
PhD, McGill University
MRes, European University Institute
BA, MA, University College London
Tomasz specialises in the study of cultural interactions between east-central Europe and the wider world, focusing on the issues of centre and periphery, cultural liminality, and perceptions of selfhood and alterity. He has published on these subjects in, among others, The Polish Review, Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung, Journal of the History of Collections, and World Art, with further studies forthcoming.
He is currently preparing a book manuscript, tentatively titled Nativist Simulacra: Poland-Lithuania and the Contradictions of Early Modern Nationhood, 1500–1700. This study explores representations of the emerging Polish-Lithuanian nation, as its otherwise heterogeneous Polish, Ruthenian, Lithuanian and Prussian nobilities found themselves in the midst of searching for a convincing story of their shared origins and place in the world. My book examines how these stories were narrated and disseminated by images and objects of material culture. But while these artefacts acted as native Polish-Lithuanian cultural forms and signifiers of nationhood, they were often appropriated from abroad. Highlighting practices of mobility, adaptation and cultural confusion, this study aims to demonstrate the exogenous provenance of key national denominators, including self-identifications and the artefacts that mediated them. Poland-Lithuania is a useful methodological laboratory in this context precisely because of the way it challenges the theories of nations with distinctive cultures, and suggests instead that the discourse of distinctiveness is itself an outcome of cultural confusion, which substitutes simulacra for reality.
At CEU, Tomasz will also begin work on a new research project, Warsaw Discovers the World: Re-Imagining the City in the Age of Expansion, 1570–1657, set to explore an allegedly marginal city as it experienced the effects of an increasingly interconnected world. Focusing on cross-cultural entanglement, this study will allow for a historical re-assessment of Warsaw’s neglected role in early globalisation. By concentrating on a city at Europe’s eastern periphery, this project aims to expand our framing of early modern globalization beyond western Europe and its numerous colonies and trading posts. This study will thus put to test the binary of colony and metropole, exotic and local, and self and other.
For more information, please see www.tomaszgrusiecki.com