Master’s and Postgraduate Students of the HSE Faculty of History Took Part in an Internship at the University of Warsaw

Undergraduate and postgraduate students from HSE humanities’ faculties annually participate in a one-month internship in Warsaw in December. These internships are part of a larger programme of research cooperation and academic mobility between the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (IGITI) and the University of Warsaw Faculty of Artes Liberales, which has existed and been developing in various forms since 2007. Alexander Makhov, Research Assistant at IGITI, told us about the internship.

HSE students have excellent conditions for their studies and research in Warsaw, thanks to the active participation of Professor Jerzy Axer, Dean of the Faculty ofArtes Liberales. The students get a bursary from the University of Warsaw, which covers most of their costs, and have the opportunity to spend a month working in Polish libraries and archives, meeting Polish researchers, and learning more about Warsaw and its cultural life.

The key aim of the 2014 internship was to support young researchers in writing papers related to Polish history. Our research interests turned out to be extremely varied: from the history of the University of Warsaw, to American-Polish diplomatic relations and monuments in the contemporary urban environment.

The internship participants spoke about their research and the time they spent in Poland.

— What was your work in Warsaw about?

Marina Kibalnaya, 2nd-year postgraduate student:

— During the internship I was studying the history of the University of Warsaw. For me, it is particularly interesting as a university situated on a conflict area between different cultural spaces.

Marina Fadeeva, 1st-year master’s student:

— I was studying the life of students of the Imperial University of Warsaw. Despite the objective difficulties, such as my lack of Polish language knowledge, I managed to find many interesting details about the everyday life of the students.

Anna Kovaleva, 1st-year master’s student:

— For me, this internship was a good opportunity to study the vast, mostly English-language, literature on the USA’s foreign policy in 1980s and on international relations during the ‘Second Cold War’ in 1981-1985. These topics are directly related to my current research.

Alexander Makhov, 2nd-year postgraduate student:

— In Warsaw, I continued my research as part of the Polish-Russian project ‘Warsaw/Moscow: Alterations in Progress’. This project is about monuments in the public space of the two capitals and how they are transformed during social changes.

— Has the internship helped your dissertation?

Marina Kibalnaya:

— Most certainly. As part of my dissertation, I am studying the history of the University of Kiev, which was also located in a conflict interaction area. I was also able to study some literature on the history of the University of Kiev which I found in the library of the University of Warsaw.

— Have the contacts with researchers from Warsaw added to your work?

Marina Kibalnaya:

— During the internship Marina Fadeeva and I managed to meet Professor Andrzej Schwarz, one of the authors of the new multi-volume history of the University of Warsaw, which was prepared for the occasion of the university’s anniversary. The meeting with Prof. Schwarz was very valuable for me: I learned a lot about the most recent Polish historiography and got some useful information on memoirs related to my study.

Anna Kovaleva:

— Thanks to the help of Professor Hieronim Grala, I got the opportunity to consult with Dr. Viktor Ross on the topic of my research, who gave me some important advice.

Alexander Makhov:

— Communicating with young Polish researchers opened up a lot of ideas and approaches for understanding how the past and the present interact.

A remarkable event during the internship was participation in the debates ‘Academia in Public Discourse Poland-Russia: Expanding the Breathing Space’ in December 2014. During the three days the conference participants were able to present and discuss papers prepared as part of participatory research projects and supported by Artes Liberales Foundation in 2014.

Warsaw turned out to be a welcoming and friendly city, and the university is open for cooperation with Russian colleagues. We’d like to whole-heartedly thank the Faculty of Artes Liberales and professors Jerzy Axer, Robert Sucharsky and Hieronim Grala, who not only made our internship possible, but also helped us feel at home in Warsaw!

Alexander Makhov, Research Assistant and IGITI