I am an associate professor in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw. My research interests include gender and sexuality studies, religion, alternative spirituality, sexual and reproductive rights, (post)socialism, racism, history of sexuality, sexual violence, sexology and sex education. I believe in public and engaged anthropology. In the past, I was a visiting fellow at Harvard University (2010-2011, Marie Curie fellowship), the New School for Social Research (2006, Kosciuszko Foundation grant), the University of Copenhagen (2005, Danish Governmental scholarship), the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena (2016, 2017-2018) and Edinburgh College of Art (2017, European Visiting Research Fellowship by the Caledonian Research Foundation and the Royal Society of Edinburgh).
Pracuję w Instytucie Etnologii i Antropologii Kulturowej Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. Prowadzę badania nad płcią i seksualnością, edukacją seksualną, mechanizmami dyskryminacji,rasizmem, religijnością, a także problematyką przemocy seksualnej. Interesuje mnie również historia seksualności w PRL. Zajmuję się też poszukiwaniem lokalnych, niezachodnich form emancypacji i sprawczości. Jestem zwolenniczką antropologii zaangażowanej, podejmującej ważne kwestie społeczne, obecnej w przestrzeni publicznej. W przeszłości byłam stypendystką m.in. rządu duńskiego (Uniwersytet Kopenhaski, 2005), Fundacji Kościuszkowskiej (New School for Social Research, 2006), Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena (2016, 2017/2018), Royal Society of Edinburgh (2017, Edinburgh College of Art), Marie Curie Fellowship (Uniwersytet Warszawski i Uniwersytet Harvarda). Od stycznia 2017 roku jestem zastępczynią redaktora naczelnego „Ludu” , najstarszego polskiego pisma etnologicznego (wydawanego od 1895 roku). Zobacz nowy numer.
Zobaczyć łosia. Historia polskiej edukacji seksualnej od pierwszej lekcji do internetu (To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education from the First Lesson to the Internet), Wołowiec, Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2017.
Zobaczyć łosia(2017). O książce: w piśmie „interalia” (Zatrzymana rewolucja), w „Etnografii Polskiej„, „Wysokich Obcasach” (Polska szkoła seksu), „Krytyce Politycznej” (Młodzież nie jest dziś „rozseksualizowana” bardziej niż sto lat temu) i „Książkach. Magazynie do czytania„. Fragmenty w „Magazynie Kontakt” i „Krytyce Politycznej„.
To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education from the First Lesson to the Internet, Wołowiec, Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2017. This history of struggles against ignorance and double standards starts towards the end of the 19th century, when men learned sex from prostitutes, and when the prevalence of shameful diseases was an open secret. Kościańska guides readers through developments in the field of sex education throughout the 20th century. How did it come to be, that at the beginning of this new age storks suddenly ceased to deliver babies and stories about the birds and the bees no longer satisfied curious girls and boys? What does intercourse have to do with spotting moose? How was sex described in a school textbook scrapped by the communists for fear of offending religious sentiment? Finally, could folk songs convey more information than progressive self-help books? Among Kościańska’s protagonists are women and men who had the courage to change how sex was written about. Yet readers will be urged to keep their critical hats on in assessing the contributions of the cult figures of Polish sexology. This work is the first to critically examine Polish sex education in the 20th century. Read a review (Acta Poloniae Historica, vol. 117, 2018. p. 318-22) and in Aspasia (2019, vol. 13, no. 1)
Instruktaż nadmierny. Historia pewnej przygody seksualnej (2018). Wywiada-rzeka z Wiesławem Sokolokiem. Fragment w „Dużym Formacie” (Czy sex przez wiatr jest możliwy?) i „Magazynie Kontakt”
Instrukataż nadmierny (An Excessive Instruction) is a book long conversation with the sex educator and youth therapist Wiesław Sokoluk. In the book, Sokoluk tells the story of sex education handbook he co-authored in 1987. Although sex education has been offered in Polish schools since the late 1960s, initially there was no handbook. It was only in September 1987, when a handbook finally appeared. The handbook turned out to be remarkably progressive. In caused many controversies and was banned from schools after two months. It went further than any available sex and marriage manual for adults, which on the one hand affirmed sexuality, but on the other were rather conservative in their description of gender roles, placing sex in marriage. The handbook was also significantly more progressive than earlier sex education publications addressed to young people. While these publications explained in detail issues such as development, the physiological and psychological problems of adolescence or the physiology of reproduction, they were vague about sexuality and pathologized everything other than procreative marital intercourse. The 1987 handbook was explicit about teen sexuality and affirmed its various manifestations. It did not pathologize masturbation and it discussed issues like sexual techniques and sexual pleasure. It also called homosexual relationships “analogues” to heterosexual ones. Sokoluk based the handbook on his experience in youth counseling and education. Since the late 1970s, he travelled from school to school throughout Poland and answered students’ questions. He also operated the youth telephone hotline and collaborated with youth magazines; in both cases he answered sexuality related questions. Moreover, he ran the youth advisory centre at the Planned Parenthood Association in Warsaw, which consisted of a walk-in clinic and a mail counselling service. As he told me, while writing the handbook he had all his students’, clients’ and correspondents’ questions and letters in mind.
Płeć, przyjemność i przemoc (Wydawnictwa UW, 2014). O książce w „Dużym Formacie” (Biedni chłopcy wykolejeni przez lekkomyślne dziewczęta), piśmie „inter alia” i „Krytyce Politycznej” (Mistrzowie seksu).
Gender, Pleasure, and Violence: The Construction of Expert Knowledge of Sexuality in Poland is an analysis of the development of expert knowledge of sexuality in Poland in the period from the late 1960s to present. I assume that expert knowledge naturalizes and normalizes certain behaviours and identities, while others are denied the status of normality and naturalness. Therefore, the book is also a story about the history of sexuality in Poland under communism and the changes that have taken place within it as a result of the postsocialist transition. I argue that expert knowledge of sexuality is a product of the interactions between different groups of patients and physicians, as well as other milieus such as women’s movement From these interactions emerges a picture of good sex and bad sex, and of the specific gender roles associated with them.
In 2016-2019 , I was a senior researcher in a HERA grant (Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures, CRUSEV). My CRUSEV research resulted in a performance: You, dear Doctor, are my only rescue! / Jest Pan, Panie Doktorze, jedynym ratunkiem! (Edinburgh, August 2017); performed also in Exeter in March 2018, Warsaw in September 2018, in Brno in April 2019, and so on.
Różowy język, numer pisma „inter alia” pod moją współredakacją (w nim aratuł o homofobii i seksizmie w kryminologicznym dyskursie gwałtu)
Poland is often depicted as the archetypal Catholic country, and Polish Catholicism is frequently presented as conservative and homogeneous. This chapter seeks to destabilize this image, focusing on debates and practices related to birth control that show that Catholics throughout the country have adopted a variety of approaches to contraception. It opens with a close examination of debates over marriage and contraceptives in the 1960s in The Bond, a progressive Catholic monthly, while also excavating the legacy of Bishop Wojtyła (the future Pope John Paul II) in the articulation of an anti-contraception stance nationally and, most influentially, in the Vatican. It also discusses the social consequences of Humanae Vitae, excavating statistical data on religiosity alongside the near-universal usage of birth control methods today.
Artykuł jest próbą analizy języka eksperckiego używanego w czasie procesu mężczyzn oskarżanych o zbiorowe zgwałcenie trzydziestotrzyletniego mężczyzny we wczesnych latach 90. XX wieku. Autorka dowodzi, że źródeł homofobicznego i seksistowskiego języka, jakim posługiwał się adwokat sprawców, należy szukać w dwóch dyskursach eksperckich ukształtowanych w latach 70. XX wieku: w dyskursie heteroseksualnego gwałtu, w obrębie którego ofiara jest zawsze postrzegana jako winna, i w kryminologicznym dyskursie o homoseksualności, w ramach którego homoseksualiści są ukazani jako jednoznacznie „zboczeni” i niemogący opanować swoich żądz seksualnych.
“Deserving stigmatization because of his inclinations:” Homophobia and sexism in the criminological discourse of rape. This article analyzes an expert discourse used during a court trial of men accused of gang raping a 30-year-old man in the early 1990s. The author argues that we could look for sources of homophobic and sexist language used by perpetrators’ lawyer in two expert discourses that were shaped during the 1970s: in the discourse of heterosexual rape, within which the female victim is perceived as responsible for rape, and in the criminological discourse of homosexuality, within which the homosexual is presented as explicitly “perverted” and unable to control his sexual desire.
This article is based on discourse analysis of Polish sexological publications in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as on ethnographic fieldwork among contemporary sex experts. In these publications, sustaining so-called traditional gender roles was perceived as a necessary condition for a good sex life, and women’s emancipation was presented as an obstacle to this process. At the same time, sex was presented as an important element of personal, marital and social happiness and detailed guidelines on how to achieve this were provided. The article focuses on the mechanism of construction of sexual-scientific knowledge. It shows the very specific historical development of sexology in Poland: in the 1970s and 1980s sexology developed as an interdisciplinary field and sexuality was perceived as embedded in the socio-cultural context. This approach established foundations for contemporary sexological discourses. My analysis of sexological publications is placed in the context of the changing cultural-political situation in socialist Poland. On the one hand, the Communist Party promoted women’s full employment, on the other, it supported the traditional marriage and gender roles causing women’s double burden. In the postsocialist period, this tension has been reinforced by neoliberal gender and sexual ideology. The article highlights the interactions between sexologists, their patients and other groups such as feminists, and emphasizes patients’ agency in the processes of knowledge construction.
This article looks at various models of women’s agency in Poland in the context of religion. Based on fieldwork among members of two feminized religious milieus—a new religious movement the Brahma Kumaris and an informal Catholic fundamentalist group—this article discusses the role of silence in ritual and everyday life as a form of agency. From the perspective of feminist discourse, particularly Western liberal feminism, silence is often interpreted as a lack of power. Drawing on informants’ experiences, under Polish gender regimes, particularly as they relate to the organization of public and private spheres, silence is shown to be a fundamental component of agency. The analysis of silence displays the complexity of religious issues in Poland and serves as a critique of assumptions about religious homogeneity and the pervasiveness of religious authority in Poland.
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