“The world is going black.” And Poland?

Prof. Dr. Dorota Sajewska (theatre and cultural scientist)

Moderation: Dr. Micha Braun (University of Leipzig, Institute for Theatre Studies)


With reference to the Cameroonian theorist of postcolonialism Achille Mbembe and his study “Critique of Black Reason”, the lecture refers to the “racism without races” manifested in contemporary Polish society. The following questions will be asked on the basis of artistic works dealing with the exploration of “blackness” in radically white Polish society: How is the black body represented in Polish art? What affects are produced by the sporadic appearance of the black body in public space, in theatre or film? What is the place of the discourse on “blackness” in Polish cultural memory? Can it be analyzed in comparative terms with other discourses on memory, such as Holocaust memories or the rhetoric of national uprisings?

Dorota Sajewska, theatre and cultural studies scholar, teaches polonistics and Interart (Eastern Europe) at the University of Zurich. She is a member of the Center for the Arts and Cultural Theory (ZKK). In 2017 Dorota Sajewska was selected for her habilitation thesis “Nekroperformans. Kulturowa rekonstrukcja teatru Wielkiej Wojny” (“Nekroperformance. Cultural Reconstruction of the Theatre of the First World War”) was awarded the Tadeusz-Kotarbinski Prize for outstanding scientific work in the humanities in Poland.