Professor Zbigniew Kloch


Contact: zkloch@al.uw.edu.pl or by cell phone which I don’t pick up on holidays and at night - 607800037

Academic Career – what is in fact a scholarly career? Ferdinand de Saussure wrote two books and the second one was put together from notes of students who listened to his lectures, between 1908 and 1911, there were 6, 11 and 8 such students.  Many people consider that without this book there wouldn’t have been either today’s linguistics, or humanities.  


Having said that:
I defended my PhD dissertation in 1985, my PhD Advisor, Michał Głowiński, came up with the topic in one of the now closed Warsaw coffee shops where we were sitting at the time. Tea, I recall, was nasty and the professor said: „You know, this was never described because it was a forbidden subject, but it is worth discussing.” So I wrote it (the so-called poetry of the Legions and in general the poetry of WWI).  
I obtained my „habilitation” in 1995, at the Institute of Literary Studies (IBL) of the Polish Acadmy of Sciences. The category inscribed on the diploma was: theory & history of literature. Professor Lucylla Pszczołowska persuaded me to do it. I was not eager to prepare the required lectures, working as I was then for the Telewizja Polska („in liquidation”, as specified the seal) as producer of a series “Books that Shook the World” (and other minor films). I dreamt of an Oscar for a documentary. Did not get it but passed the habilitation colloquium in good style. And I remained at IBL, later began to teach at the University.   I wrote about literary communications in Piłsudski’s Legions, about linguistical awareness at theory of sign and concrete poetry.
During the last years, I have been working extensively on descriptions and interpretations of changes in the Polish most recent popular culture, specially after 1989.  I wrote about transformation of media genres, street commercials, conventional descriptions of evils in Polish and foreign media (analyses of coverage of the WTC attacks), media approach to such phenomena, as fact in recent history and the theme of gender in its linguistic aspect and its reflections in the awareness of researchers.  I also wrote about the role of amateur photography in the Internet, metaphor in the language of politicians and in general in today’s political discourse, honorary addresses and strategy of lying in these forms of expression.   . My research matter was mainly provided by the appearances before a parliamentary committee created for the so-called Rywin Affair.  I described the still popular phenomenon of reality show (television shows Big Brother) and connected to them public discourse. I presented conclusions from my analyses in a theoretical treatise about contemporary culture of everyday experience, belonging to the anthropology of everyday life in a broad sense, a field with a certain established tradition in Poland.  I am interested in interdisciplinary research in the area of typology of  recent contemporary culture inspired by semiotic methodology, including Foucault and Habermas.  I published my observations and interpretations of these phenomena in the book Odmiany dyskursu. Semiotyka życia publicznego w Polsce po 1989 roku, issued in Wrocław, in 2006, in the series „Monografie FNP”. For 8 years now I have been teaching at the University of Warsaw cultural semiotics, social communication and congnitive function of metaphor (seminars and lectures). I published on these subjects in „Pamiętnik Literacki”, „Teksty Drugie”, „Nauka”, „Psychology of Language and Communication.”
At OBTA, I was active mainly in MISH and I taught the Academia Artes Liberales. I organized  (aone or with help of interested people) several scholarly sessions with participation of foreign guests (professors - Nina Braginskaja, Siergiej Gindin, Boris Uspienski) and Polish participants (professors: Teresa Dorzyńska, Jerzy Bartmiński, Andrzej Bogusławski, Wojciech Tomasik). Currently at IBI AL I initiated a laboratory of semiotics. I would like to keep it free from orthodox methodology. At IBI AL, I also direct PhD studies, I hope that they will not be a standard higher school where students stand in line to get another diploma, but will be conducted as a centre for the exchange of thoughts in the humanities. The achievement of this goal requires time, money and a lot of work – those interested are invited to collaborate.  

Scholarly internships: I travelled mainly to France, to the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and to the Université de Franche-Comté in Besançon, but also collaborated in Prague with scholars from Ustav pro ceskou literaturu AV CR, Ustav pro jazyk cesky at the Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy.


Awards: a few, rather minor, neither Nobel nor Nike.
Interest beyond scholarship: jazz, blues, everyday life – in general, it seems to me that more and more my interests stray beyond scholarship.


Significant Publications:

  • Poezja pierwszej wojny. Tradycja i konwencje, Wrocław 1986. Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, pp. 217;
  • Spory o język, Warszawa 1995. Wydawnictwo IBL, pp. 224;
  • Odmiany dyskursu. Semiotyka życia publicznego w Polsce po 1989 roku. Monografie FNP. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2006.
  • Język i płeć: różne podejścia badawcze, „Pamiętnik Literacki” 2000, 1;
  • Polish Media About 9/11: The Rhetoric and Metaphor of the Discourse, in: Psychology of Language and Communication”, 2003, vol. 4;
  • Reality show i kultura masowa, „Pamiętnik Literacki” 2004, 3, pp. 145-172;
  • Punkt widzenia i ideologia, in: Punkt widzenia w tekście i dyskursie, pod red. J. Bartmińskiego, S. Niebrzegowskiej-Bartmińskiej, R. Nycza. Lublin 2004, pp.171-186;
  • Metafory w dyskursie publicznym: Michnik, Urban, Miller przed komisją sejmową, „Nauka” 2006 nr 1, pp. 65 – 79;
  • Entries to: Słownik pojęć i tekstów kultury, Warszawa 2002.
  • Reklama, miasto i kulturowa potoczność, „Teksty Drugie” 2006 nr 4;
  • Potoczność i wypowiadanie. Przyczynek do antropologii codzienności, „Studia Litteraria Polono-Slavica” 2008.
  • Marginalia kultury: o obrazach ciąży i ich znaczeniach w kulturze doświadczenia potocznego. „Image. The International Journal of European Film, Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication”, Vol. IV, April 2009.
  • Przedstawienie i prawda w kulturze doświadczenia potocznego. „Teksty Drugie”, nr 5, 2009
  • Iconicity of Discourse in Contemporary Culture. Example: Photographs from the WTC Attack. in : Words and Images. Iconicity of the Text. Ed. T. Dobrzyńska, R. Kuncheva. Sofia 2008.
  • Mowa i ołtarz. O znaczeniach wystąpienia publicznego w dzisiejszej kulturze, na przykładzie przemówienia Papieża Benedykta XVI w Auschwitz-Birkenau. „Pamiętnik Literacki” nr 2 2009. 
  • O języku i narodowej tożsamości. Przypadek dziewiętnastowiecznej Finlandii. „Literatura na Świecie, nr 9-10, 2010.
  • The Samurai and His Pigeons. W: Birthday Beasts’ Book. Cultural Studies In Honor of Jerzy Axer. Warsaw 2011.
  • A Structural-Semiotic Concept of Culture: The Tartu-Moscow School. Some Remarks from a Subjective Perspective. in: The Humanities Today and the Idea of Interdisciplinary Studies. Ed. B. Bokus. Warszawa 2011.
  • Interdisciplinarity as Discoursive Gauge of Modernity. in: The Humanities Today and the Idea of  Interdisciplinary Studies. Ed. B. Bokus. Warszawa 2011.