Piotr Puchalski


Advisor: Kathryn Ciancia

Piotr Puchalski


I am interested in the global context of Poland’s interwar history (1918-1939). In my dissertation project, I explore the ways in which Polish statesmen and citizens defined their relationship to maritime colonialism in the Wilsonian era of empires, nation-states, mandates, and colonies. Among other topics, I examine the politically-motivated treatment of Poland’s diaspora communities, creation of pioneer settlements in Africa and South America, and attempts to obtain colonial concessions from other states and from the League of Nations.

I am fascinated by the tensions between interwar Poland’s colonial interactions and its anti-imperial orientation stemming from the era of partitions. I believe that understanding these tensions is indispensable to evaluating the country’s complicated position at home and abroad and, consequently, the road to World War II. Moreover, this aspect of Poland’s history points to the ways in which states might navigate international institutions and the ways in which citizens might navigate states.

My other historical passions include the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Habsburg Monarchy, World War II, and the philosophical development of the Left and Right sides of the political spectrum.


M.A., (University of Wisconsin-Madison ’16)
B.A., (New York University ’14)


  • European History

M.A. Title

  • “The Polish Mission to Liberia, 1934-1938: Constructing Poland’s Colonial Identity”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Beyond Empire: Interwar Poland and Maritime Colonialism, 1918-1939”

Selected Publications

  • “Polityka narodowościowa i kolonialna Związku Sowieckiego w ujęciu amerykańskiej historiografii” [Nationality and Colonial Policies of the Soviet Union as Discussed in American Historiography], Przegląd Wschodnioeuropejski 12, no. 1 (2019), accepted and forthcoming.
  • “Polityka kolonialna międzywojennej Polski w świetle źródeł krajowych i zagranicznych: nowe spojrzenie (1918–1945)” [Interwar Poland’s Colonial Policies in Light of Domestic and Foreign Sources: A New Perspective (1918–1945)], Res Gestae. Czasopismo historyczne 7 (2018), pp. 68-121. doi:10.24917/24504475.7.4
  • Review of Daniel Kupfert Heller, Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism, in The Polish Review 64, no. 3 (2018), pp. 88-91.
  • Review of Volodymyr Muzychenko, Jewish Ludmir: The History and Tragedy of the Jewish Community of Volodymyr-Volynsky, in The Polish Review 63, no. 2 (2018): 87-90.
  • Review of Robert E. Alvis, White Eagle, Black Madonna: One Thousand Years of the Polish Catholic Tradition, in The Polish Review 63, no. 2 (2018): 82–84.
  • “The Polish Mission to Liberia, 1934-1938: Constructing Poland’s Colonial Identity,” The Historical Journal 60, no. 4 (December 2017): 1071–96.  doi:10.1017/S0018246X16000534


  • Silas Palmer Research Fellowship at the Hoover Institution (2018)
  • Xenia Gąsiorowska Dissertator Award in Polish Studies (2018-2019)
  • IRIS Graduate Fieldwork Award (2017)
  • CREECA Graduate Fieldwork Award (2017)
  • Mellon Foundation Area and International Studies Fellowship (2015)

Professional Affiliation

  • The Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)
  • Józef Piłsudski Institute of America

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 120 – Europe and the Modern World (Fall 2016)
  • History 419 – History of Soviet Russia (Spring 2017)