Politics, Architecture, and the Historiography of Denial in Poland

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Traditional architecture history has tacitly supported attitudes associated with the recent rise of populist xenophobia in Poland. In the sixteenth and the beginning of seventeenth centuries, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was one of the most religiously and culturally diverse regions of Europe. In addition to the theological, political, and economic discourses that fueled the Reformation and left textual traces, architecture recorded how designers in Poland promoted culturally inclusive attitudes and rejected religious intolerance. With teleological zeal, however, historians of Polish architecture have dismissed the cultural value of these artistic phenomena and made it possible for the tourist industry to promote such buildings as examples affirming the Catholic domination of Polish culture. Consolidating the Counter-Reformation’s success in suppressing religious and cultural diversity in the Commonwealth, such blind spots in architectural knowledge have helped erase our understanding of the remaining traces of progressive attitudes and consequently contributed to those processes that have turned historically tolerant regions of Poland into bastions of chauvinism.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2018


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