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Kathryn CianciaKathryn Ciancia
Assistant Professor

Email: ciancia@wisc.edu
Phone: (608) 263-2366
Office: 4133 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 4019 Mosse Humanities

Office Hours: TBA

Education: PhD: Stanford University; MA: University College London; B.A. University of Oxford

Bio Sketch:

I am an historian of modern Eastern Europe, with a research focus on Poland between the two world wars. In my current book project I explore the ways in which Polish national identity was shaped by perceptions of—and encounters with—Poland’s multiethnic eastern borderlands. Drawing on historical geography and environmental history, I show how a range of Polish actors, including border guards, boy and girl scouts, ethnographers, and military settlers, linked the physical spaces of everyday life with imagined hierarchies of civilization between Ukrainians, Jews, Poles, and others. Based on archival research in Poland, Ukraine, the U.S., and the U.K., my work looks beyond official minority policies and toward how the nation was imagined through local experiences of marshlands, village huts, and town streets.

Furthering my work on the links between physical spaces, projected identities, and hierarchies of civilization, I am beginning work on a new transnational history of the relationships between the Polish interwar state, Polish citizens abroad, and members of the Polish diaspora.

My teaching interests include modern Europe and Eastern Europe, Poland, mass violence, nationalism, and ethnic relations. In my classes I like to experiment with innovative assignments, including those that ask students to create and develop fictional historical characters.

Selected Publications:

  • “Creating Lives: Fictional Characters in the History Classroom,” Perspectives on History (October 2013) (with Edith Sheffer)


  • Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2011
  • Vice Provost for Graduate Education Diversity Dissertation Research Award, 2008-09
  • History Department Five-Year Fellowship, Stanford University, 2005-10

History Courses Taught:

Lecture Courses:

Undergraduate Seminars:

  • History 200 - Historical Studies - Topics: "Mass Violence in Europe, 1900-1950" Syllabus 2013 (pdf);
  • History 201 - The Historian’s Craft - Civilians and War on WWII’s Eastern Front Syllabus 2015 (pdf)

Graduate Courses:

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