Book Launch:

Cross Purposes: Catholicism and the Political Imagination in Poland by Magdalena Waligórska (Cambridge University Press, 2023)

6 pm / CARMAH, Anton-Wilhelm-Amo Str. 40/41, 10117 Berlin

We cordially invite you to the book launch with the author, Dr. Magdalena Waligórska and the commentators: Dr. Karolina Wigura (Freie Universität Berlin) and Prof. Felix Ackermann (FernUniversität Hagen), followed by a small reception in the library room.

About Cross Purposes:

No other symbol is as omnipresent in Poland as the cross. This multi-layered and contradictory icon features prominently in public spaces and state institutions. It is anchored in the country’s visual history, inspires protest culture, and dominates urban and rural landscapes. The cross recalls Poland’s historic struggles for independence and anti-Communist dissent, but it also encapsulates the country’s current position in Europe as a self-avowed bulwark of Christianity and a champion of conservative values. It is both a national symbol – defining the boundaries of Polishness in opposition to a changing constellation of the country’s Others – and a key object of contestation in the creative arts and political culture. Despite its long history, the cross has never been systematically studied as a political symbol in its capacity to mobilize for action and solidify power structures. Cross Purposes is the first cultural history of the cross in modern Poland, deconstructing this key symbol and exploring how it has been deployed in different political battles.