Prof. Dr. Agnieszka Kościańska

Curriculum Vitae

Agnieszka Kościańska received her PhD in 2007 and habilitation in 2015 in ethnology/cultural anthropology from the University of Warsaw, Poland. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw and a senior researcher in a HERA grant (Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures). In the past, she was a visiting scholar at Edinburgh College of Art (2017, European Visiting Research Fellowship by the Caledonian Research Foundation and the Royal Society of Edinburgh), Harvard University (2010-2011, Marie Curie fellowship), the New School for Social Research (2006, Kosciuszko Foundation grant) and the University of Copenhagen (2005, Danish Governmental scholarship).


Research project at the Kolleg

Tracing the Evolution of Sexuality and Gender Panic in Central Europe: The Case of Poland

In this research project, I intend to examine the historical roots of the contemporary ideas and meanings concerning sexuality and gender against the backdrop of the current moral panic that they have ignited. I aim to present a counter history of sexuality after the Second World War. This alternative narrative will challenge orientalizing assumptions that the gender and sexuality panic results from Eastern "backwardness," as compared to the "developed" West. I situate this history within a global context and focus on expert discourses that inform the construction of sexuality, especially those articulated by medical (sexological), legal, religious and activist (feminist and LGBTQ) communities. I examine how sexuality and gender have been defined and re-defined within these discourses and due to global flow of knowledge, and their contemporary social, cultural and political impact.

Research questions include:

(1) What was specific about the historical construction of sexuality in Poland? In what way did state socialism influence it? In what ways did antisocialist milieus (e.g. the Catholic Church) deal with sexuality? In what way sexuality has been reframed within post-socialist transformation? What has changed since the fall of socialism?
(2) What insights into the global history of sexuality can an understanding of Polish and Central Europe discourses offer? What were/are the flows of knowledge between Central Europe, the (former) Soviet Union and the West?
(3) What are the roots of current sexuality and gender panic?

Main areas of research

  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Religion
  • History of science
  • History of sexuality
  • Poland
  • Central Europe


Positions and memberships

  • Member, European Association of Social Anthropologists
  • Member, Polskie Towarzystwo Ludoznawcze (Polish Ethnological Association)
  • Member, Polish Studies Association