Research profile






Research profile

The research domain of the Institute of European Culture (located in Gniezno) may be defined by the term  of cultural European studies. This denotes interdisciplinary research into cultural diffusion across the European continent in the historical approach, i.e. from antiquity to the most recent times, which resulted in the formation and the further development of European culture in its present shape, which characterises the continent as a whole. In other words, the studies of culture’s past and its changeability are to lead to an analysis of the contemporary  conditio Europaea, or to the understanding of the present-day diversity, and simultaneously the cultural uniformity of the continent and the European mindset. 

Apart from the studies in the history of European culture, the research conducted here explores mass communication and the social media of all kinds, since there is a need to complement the research field concerned with the phenomena of contemporary European culture with investigation into modern methods of knowledge and information transfer; issues which are key to the understanding of the world nowadays. 

These studies are supported by a third, political and legal branch. This follows from the fact the two aforementioned domains involve a range of issues in that respect, issues which go far beyond the themes associated with EU integration. 

The research carried out at the IEC are interdisciplinary in nature (e.g. with regard to studies concerning the social, economical and political diversity typifying the development of cultures of individual European regions), or trans-disciplinary (insofar as two specific branches of humanities and precise sciences coincide). 


Consequently, there emerge four basic and mutually supportive branches of investigation in cultural European studies:

History of  European culture

Mass communication and social media

Political, legal and social aspects of European integration

Theories of interdisciplinary studies


Thus, among the more detailed research themes one finds issues related to literature, plastic arts, film, philosophy, religion, law – both of the ages past as well as contemporary times. The phenomena are studied from the so called “long persistence” perspective, as well as from the perspective of their mutability and impermanence. These enquiries entail, among other things, the antique and Judaeo-Christian roots of European culture; Judaism as a cultural phenomenon in the history of Europe; the role of “non-antique” peoples (e.g. Slavs, Germans, Arabs) in the shaping of various facets of European culture; the traces of past ages in contemporary culture; racism in the history of Europe; the universalist concept and the problem of national identities – on the example of historical events and the current challenges of the European Union; the impact of technological advances on European civilisation – in the 19th century and nowadays, with regard to such phenomena as globalisation, uniformisation, cyborgization, terrorism. The studies in the history of European culture also include relations between Europe with other civilisational circles. One should consider such issues as: universalist ideas and their aftermath (e.g. Eurocentrism); political, cultural and religious actions aiming to impose European models in other cultural circles (e.g. colonialism, imperialism); as well as contemporary actions striving to regain one’s own cultural identity (primarily post-colonialism); emancipation against universalist patterns (e.g. feminism), religious issues (e.g. ecumenism); the influence of other civilisations on the nature of European culture (e.g. orientalism);

            As part of the work on a scientific description of the identities of individual European regions, we also conduct research concerning the place of Polish culture among other national cultures, but also in a broader approach – in European culture construed as a universe. Hence the emphasis on a field of research we call “Gniezno studies”. They are to focus on demonstrating the place of the town of Gniezno in European culture in the Middle Ages (with a particular consideration given to the idea and the events associated with the so called Congress of Gniezno and their later connotations) as well as in the later periods.

The staff at the Institute also investigate the functioning of electronic media in Europe and the standards of the mass media in European systems. This is of particular significance due to the development of a new type of society, where knowledge about the world is obtained chiefly by means of such mass media as the Internet, television, radio or press. Therefore the studies have to take into account such issues as the content and the medium, information and knowledge, knowledge and worldview, the impact of the media and technological changes on the transformation of identity.

Another research field is the development of the concept of raison d’état in Europe, the problem of sovereignty within EU framework and issues related to national identity. Thus, refugees, emigrants, asylum seekers as well as national, ethnic and religious minorities, are a significant subject of research, especially in the context of culture-building processes.


The research objective of the Institute of European Culture is the exploration of that which constitutes the signum specificum of “Europeanism” and “being European” with regard to the fundamental diversification of these notions – both in the past as well as nowadays.


The members of the research team at the IEC collaborate with numerous scientific and cultural centres and organisations across Europe, including:  Central European University in Budapest, The Polish Institute and Gen. Sikorski Museum in London, the Polish Museum in Raperswil, the Literary Institute in Paris, Baltic University in Uppsala, Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (Germany), Römsch-Germanische Kommission in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), University of Regensburg (Germany), La Sapienza University in Rome, Zaragoza University (Spain), University of Ferrara (Italy), Pavlo Tychyna Uman State Pedagogical University (Ukraine), the Irkutsk State University (Russia).


Structure of the Institute of European Culture