University of Wisconsin–Madison

“What We Talk about when We Talk about Janusz Korczak (Henryk Goldszmit)”

When: April 6, 2017 4:00 pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive

Speaker:Halina Filipowicz, Professor of Slavic, University of Wisconsin-Madison

About the lecture: What we talk about when we talk about Janusz Korczak (1878?-1942), a renowned Polish Jewish pediatrician, educator, and writer, is a familiar set of terms: kindness, aversion to injustice, advocacy of children’s rights, and, above all, the courage of willing self-sacrifice for the children in his orphanage in the Warsaw ghetto. Why, then, has the Polish Jewish writer Henryk Grynberg argued that the notion of Korczak’s self-sacrifice constitutes “an insult” (“zniewaga”) to Korczak? How does a new, corrected edition (and a new reading) of Korczak’s last, unfinished book, known in English under the misleading titles Memoirs and Diary, expand our understanding of his biography?

About the speaker: Halina Filipowicz is a professor in the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic and an affiliate in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at UW-Madison. Her areas of scholarly interest include literary and intellectual history, critical theory, and feminist discourse. Her most recent book is Taking Liberties: Gender, Transgressive Patriotism, and Polish Drama, 1786-1989 (2014).