Bożena Shallcross

Professor in the Department of Slavic Literatures and Languages
Bożena Shallcross, Polish Literature Ph.D., Institute for Literary Research, Polish Academy of Science & Letters, Warsaw, 1983. M.A. Polish Literature and Language, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, June 1976, individualized interdisciplinary track. B.A. Art History, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, 1978. Affiliated Department and Centers: The Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies Chicago Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality Program in Poetry and Poetics. Comparative Literatures Department, resource faculty.

Research Interest:
Cultural studies, modernism, thing discourse, Holocaust studies, literature and the visual arts, identity and modes of habitation

Foster 508
Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
(773) 702-7734


In my research I engage a variety of concepts related to the fundamental division between the seeing subject and the objectual sphere in literature, visual arts, and an experiential, physical world.  From the late stage of Polish symbolist poetry and its ekphrastic reassessments of Western European visual arts, my research evolved into an exploration of the late modernist destabilization of the poetic subject and art-object divide from the perspective of (post)sublime encounters with artistic production of things and metaphysical nothingness. I also established another line of inquiry in which the subject-object split is defined in the wide range of Romantic artists’ homes, ateliers and other spaces, including these cohabited in transit, in which the sense of identity is conflated with habitation, dialectics of inside-outside, collections or paraphernalia of décor are ordered by the representational mode of reflexivity between a creative inhabitant and his/her domestic space as established by Honoré de Balzac. As of late, I also engaged the object-subject split in a radically different historical setting of the Holocaust in order to establish the precarious ontology of trivial, everyday things in extreme conditions of the genocide.

I have advised a number of PhD s and MAs on topics ranging from major Polish modernist authors and inter-art transmission to a traumatic experience.

In my work with undergraduate students, who do independent research or write their BA projects, I focus either on theoretical questions or close reading of literary texts to build a foundation for their own conceptualization. I have also mentored several foreign scholars whose post-doctoral work (second book projects) engaged artistic responses to the Holocaust, art-historical developments within Polish modernism, concepts of labor and action.

Selected Publications:

The Holocaust Object in Polish and Polish–Jewish Culture (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011), refereed, 180. Honorable Mention, The ASEEES Kulczycki Prize 2011. Selected for The Front Table: The Web Magazine, The Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, May 2011.

Rzeczy i Zagłada (Cracow: Universitas, 2010), 220. Electronic edition, 2014, self-translation.

Through the Poet’s Eye: The Travels of Zagajewski, Herbert, and Brodsky (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2002), refereed, 215.

Through the Poet’s Eye: The Travels of Zagajewski, Herbert, and Brodsky (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2008), 2nd edition (paperback), 215.

Cień i forma. O wyobraźni plastycznej Leopolda Staffa (Szczecin: Glob, 1987), refereed, 164.


The Holocaust Object

Cinema and the Holocaust

Kieślowski’s French Cinema

Kieślowski, The Decalogue

Narratives of Assimilation

Theories of Vision

Gombrowicz: The Writer as Philosopher

Word and Image: Reassessing Interdisciplinarity

Modern Polish Novel