MMag.a Magdalena Baran-Szołtys

Spitalgasse 2/Hof 1.11
1090 Wien 



Magdalena Baran-Szołtys, PhD, literary scholar with a background in German and Slavic Studies; research associate at the research platform Mobile Cultures and Societies [] (University of Vienna); currently Literar-Mechana research fellow 2018/19.

She received her PhD with the comparative thesis “Galicia as an Archive. Travels to (Post-)Galicia in German and Polish literature after 1989” from the University of Vienna (Doctoral Program: Austrian Galicia and its Multicultural Heritage [], FWF) in 2018. 

Research Interests:
Comparative Approaches to Polish and German Literature and Studies, Polish and German Literature of the 20th and 21st Century, Travel Literature, Memory Studies (Postmemory, Nostalgia, Archives), Literature and Politics, Social and Cultural History of Central and Eastern Europe

Current Research Project:
Stories Of/In Transformation. Literary Narratives of Transformation and Inequality in Post-Socialist Poland

The aim of the postdoctoral project is to tell the complex history of post-socialist transformation based on the study of literary narratives about transformation and inequality. I use literary narratives to tell the untold history of how literature reflects and models judgments of economic, political, social, and cultural changes in post-socialist Poland. This project will overview the existing economic and political inequality studies to break new ground by providing a study on inequality that analyzes literary texts, including their reception in the context of political and economic transformation. The work focuses on how literary narratives on inequality have continuously been changing and evolving since 1989, simultaneously to the socio-cultural, economic, and political transformations in the post-socialist countries of East-Central Europe.
The project advocates for the significance of literature in the contemporary world by arguing for the relevance of literary narratives as a valuable medium in understanding and shaping the world in its economic, political, and social dimension. The key value is the investigation of literature to uncover the processes in the formation of (new) social structures in post-socialist transformation. Literature is seen as a mirror of social change: it highlights specific themes and ways of their representation. By examining literature, we may reconstruct social change and make it plausible.
My analysis brings new aspects in the study of transformation processes of East-Central Europe because it will not simply focus on the literature of transformation or political discourses about inequality, but it will show their interrelations performed through literature and its reception. I introduce this approach by including the reception of literature in public discourse as a research question of this project. Awards for a literary work, its importance in public discourse, broad public reception, and controversies in literary criticism will reveal the interactions between the above spheres. I will focus on texts from the mid-1980s to the most current publications. The narratives are examined in three diverse categories of inequalities and their appearance in literature: social, gender, and ethnic inequality.

Selected Relevant Publications:
“Gonzo, Ironic Nostalgia, Magical Realism, or, How to Re-Narrate Traumatic Transnational Borderland Stories. Examples from the Twenty-First Century Polish(-German) Literature”, in: Prace Filologiczne LXXII (2018), (forthcoming).
“Visions of the Past: Revised in the Present, Recreated for the Future. Nostalgia for and Travels to Galicia in Polish Literature after 1989”, in: Baran-Szołtys, Magdalena/Dvoretska, Olena/Gude, Nino/Janik-Freis, Elisabeth (eds.): “Galizien in Bewegung. Wahrnehmungen – Begegnungen – Verflechtungen“]. Göttingen: Vienna University Press bei V&R unipress 2018, pp. 75-91.
“The Central European Archaeology of Knowledge: Exploring Polish and Ukrainian Literature (1989–2014): Introductory Essay”, in: Central Europe 15/1-2 (2017) [], (with Monika Glosowitz, Aleksandra Konarzewska), pp. 1-13.
(Re-)visionen von Galizien: Transgenerationale Reisenarrative zwischen Wiederentdeckung, Rekonstruktion und Imagination, in: Studia Litteraria Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 10/1 (2015) [], pp. 1-14.
“Forms of Nostalgia for the Lost World of PRL in Recent Polish Literature”, in: Ostblicke 6 (2015) [], pp. 75-90.