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Seminarium im. Mariana Małowista “Colonial Connections, Postcolonial Insecurities”

Zapraszamy na seminarium im. Mariana Małowista z cyklu Global History & Anthropology.

Wykład zatytułowany “Colonial Connections, Postcolonial Insecurities: Polish Officers in British West Africa after 1941” wygłosi prof. Piotr Puchalski.

Spotkanie odbędzie się 14 grudnia 2023 r. o godz. 17.00 w sali 125  Wydziału Historii Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego oraz online (link do spotkania).



Starting in 1941, the British army recruited Polish officers in Scotland for service in the Royal West African Frontier Force, whereas two years later, the British authorities hosted Polish refugees from the Soviet Union in camps set up across their colonies in East Africa. Together, this was the greatest Polish influx into Africa in history, which resuscitated Poland’s prewar plans of engagement with the continent but also encouraged more critical Polish stances on colonialism and Poles’ own position in colonial hierarchies. In turn, the British attitudes toward the Polish presence in Africa fluctuated, with particularly Polish refugees viewed as detrimental to British propaganda (as demonstrated by Jochen Lingelbach). Nonetheless, unlike the later refugees, the Polish officers training and fighting with indigenous soldiers in the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gambia also fulfilled non-military roles as cultural propagandists and social liaisons to the Africans. In my presentation, I will therefore explore the ways in which discourse about race and German atrocities was used for political purposes by British, Polish, and, to a lesser extent, African soldiers and officials.


PIOTR PUCHALSKI – PhD, Associate Professor of Modern History at the University of the National Education Commission, Kraków (Poland), where he offers courses in the history of Poland, colonial empires, international relations, and contemporary tourism. He has previously published in the Historical Journal and the Journal of Modern European History. His first book is Poland in a Colonial World Order: Adjustments and Aspirations, 1918–1939 (Routledge, 2022), and he has also contributed to the edited volume The World Beyond the West: Perspectives from Eastern Europe (Berghahn Books, 2022). His next project deals with Poland’s post-1939 colonial entanglements.