Tomasz Hen-Konarski

Visiting Lecturer
Nador u. 11
Room 114

I was born in Łódź (former Congress Poland) in the late 1980s, but grew up in Warsaw, where I got my Magister degree in history. In 2017 I defended my PhD thesis, supervised by Lucy Riall and Pieter Judson at the EUI in Florence. My dissertation dealt with the political messages transmitted by the literary representations of Cossacks and gauchos in the 1830s and 1840s.

More broadly, I am a cultural/intellectual historian of European politics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. My professional interests include the politicization of Austrian women’s periodicals (Italian- and Polish-language ones) as well as the ideologies of Galicia’s Greek Catholic “high church.” Geographically, my main focus is on the Ukrainian lands, but I am also interested in Argentina, Italy, Poland and Russia.

I am currently working on transforming my dissertation into a book manuscript. I show there that the Cossack/gaucho figures are examples of the dream about the free life beyond the limitations imposed by the modern state and society, which was widespread all over the nineteenth-century world. What differentiates the Cossack/gaucho myths from  other figures of ‘non-modernity’ is that they convey the ideal of ‘dandelion knighthood’ (a term inspired by one of Nikolai Gogol’s unpublished versions of Taras Bulba). It combines several elements, which are not easily reconciled: 1) the democratisation of chivalric heroism; 2) the rejection of state and family; 3) the claim to be truly native and rooted  in the nature of fatherland; 4) and the promise of liberating masculine ‘instincts.’

My work appeared in Polish and English in European History QuarterlyAustrian History Yearbook and Kwartalnik Historyczny.