Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 May 2015
This paper examines the postwar reconstruction of the Polish academic system. It analyzes a debate that took place in the newly established university in the proletarian city of Łódź. The vision of the shape of the university was a bone of contention between the professors. This resulted in two contentious models of a university: “liberal” and “socialized.” Soon, universities were transformed into crucial institutions of the emerging communist state, where national history, ideology, and the future elite were produced and shaped. The social university was transformed into a socialistic university. Analysis of this process of transformation enables me to scrutinize the difficult clashes between the leftist intellectuals and the rising system of power that was not entirely hostile to them. The case of Poland also shows that sovietization did not mean solely a ruthless convergence of Central and Eastern Europe with a universal model most completely implemented in the USSR. Power hitting the ground was redeployed along various local interests, institutional conjunctures, and personal intransigencies. On a more universal level, I present this case in the context of the challenge of modernization and its many respective accommodations.