LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) will host a prominent specialist in the history of modern Eastern Europe for the 2016 Backus/Cienciala Memorial Lecture.
Keely Stauter-Halsted, University of Illinois at Chicago, will present “Sex in the Bourgeois Family: Prostitution and the Middle-Class Home in Partitioned Poland” at 7 p.m. today, Oct. 3, in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union. She will also present the CREES Brownbag lecture “Return Migration and the Creation of a Transatlantic Polish Culture” at noon Tuesday, Oct. 4, in 318 Bailey Hall.
Professor of history and Hejna Family Chair in Polish Studies, Stauter-Halsted researches modern Eastern Europe, Poland, Jewish history, gender history and the Holocaust. In many of her publications, she has examined non-elite social classes and excluded population groups in Polish society. Her work has also explored Polish-Jewish relations and the history and culture of Jewish communities in Poland. Her book "The Devil’s Chain" is “the first book to examine the world of commercial sex throughout the partitioned Polish territories, uncovering a previously hidden conversation about sexuality, gender propriety and social class,” according to Cornell University Press.
The CREES Backus/Cienciala Lecture is dedicated to the memory of former professors Oswald Backus III and Anna Cienciala, and it is made possible by the Backus/Cienciala Memorial Fund. Backus was one of the early driving forces behind the development of KU as a nationally known center for the study of Russia and Eastern Europe. In the 1960s, these efforts led to the formation of the Slavic and Soviet Area Studies program, now known as Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies. Backus also taught history, law, and Slavic and Soviet area studies during his 22 years at KU. He also is credited for helping make KU’s Slavic library collection one of the finest in the nation.
Cienciala was an outstanding scholar and highly respected expert in the fields of diplomacy in Eastern Europe and wartime relations in the 20th century. Specializing in Polish, European, Soviet and American diplomacy 1919-1945, she published extensively and is recognized in particular for her book "Katyn: A Crime without Punishment." She was awarded the Polish Cross of Merit by the president of Poland and received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America.
This fund is supported through a gift from Cienciala’s estate.