UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Dr Katarzyna Zechenter

Dr Katarzyna Zechenter

Associate Professor



Joined UCL
1st May 2000

Research summary

My research interests focus on two related areas: studies of memory and post-memory, and the connections between space and memory. I am interested in those regions of pre-World War II Poland that used to have a large Jewish population (such as Krakow or the Borderlands), and in how the loss of Jewish community in those regions has influenced the presentation of Polish Jews in contemporary Polish literature and culture. I ask how these experiences, imprinted on the Polish collective memory, influence the interest in Polish Jewry through works of older generations of writers, whose work is based on their memory of trauma (e.g., Konwicki, Szczypiorski), and of younger fiction-writers (e.g., Szewc, Ostachowicz) familiar with the Jewish presence mostly through cultural memory.

I am currently extending my interest in this topic into an investigation of the role of memory and suffering in the creation of new models of national identity in post-communist Poland.

Teaching summary

SEEE2012 Stories of Change, Formal Experiments and New Waves (BA)

SEEE2013 War, Trauma and Memory in East European Cinema (BA)

SEEE7001 Contemporary Polish Cinema (BA)

SEEP2105 Polish Literature and Culture (BA)

SEEP4011 Polish Literature and Culture 3 (BA)

SEESGE86 Literatures of Rupture: Modernism in Russia and Eastern Europe (MA)

SEESGE18 All Quiet on the Eastern Front: Culture, Politics and Everyday Life in Central & Eastern Europe from Stalin to Present (MA)

I have consistently received high ratings for my teaching and I believe that this is due to my giving my teaching a philosophical dimension; this undoubtedly stimulates interest in the topic and gives students the desire to learn more while at the same time it helps refine the students' independent creative thinking while providing them with a solid knowledge of cultural frameworks and theoretical approaches.


University of Michigan
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1996
University of Michigan
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1992
Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Krakow
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1990


I graduated from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow with an MA in Polish Literature. After further studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, I graduated with second MA (1992) and PhD (1996) degrees and later taught as Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

In 2000 I joined UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, where I teach courses on Polish literature, Cinema in Eastern Europe and Polish Cinema as well as a course on Polish Jewry (Beyond Stereotypes: Jews in Polish Culture).

I have published articles on contemporary Polish and Polish-Jewish fiction with the emphasis on memory and post-memory, and a monograph The Fiction of Tadeusz Konwicki: Coming to Terms with Post-War Polish History and Politics.

I have also published a volume of poetry (In the Shadow of the Tree, Krakow 2012) and am preparing a second volume. My poems have appeared in journals in Poland, France and the USA and some have been translated into English and Spanish.