Dr. Magdalena Baran-Szołtys

Magdalena Baran-Szołtys, PhD, scholar of literature and culture with a background in German and Slavic Studies working as a postdoctoral researcher within the Research Center for the History of Transformations (RECET); co-executor at the National Science Centre Poland SONATA 14 research project “(Multi)national Eastern Galicia in the Interwar Polish Discourse (and its Selected Counter-Discourses)” at the University of Warsaw (2019–2022) and research associate at the research platform Mobile Cultures and Societies (University of Vienna).

She will be Hertha-Firnberg-fellow at the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna (2021-2024, FWF).

Magdalena received her PhD with the comparative thesis “Galicia as an Archive. Travels to (Post-)Galicia in German and Polish literature after 1989” from the University of Vienna (Doctoral Program: Austrian Galicia and its Multicultural Heritage, funded by FWF and the University of Vienna) in 2018.

 She was lecturer in German Language and Literature at the University of Sydney and fellow at the Institute of Polish Studies at the Jagiellonian University and at the University of Wrocław, as well as at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. Further she received the Graduation Fellowship of the University of Vienna in 2018 and was a Literar-Mechana research fellow 2018/19.


Current Research Project: “Stories Of/In Transformation. Literary Narratives of Transformation and Inequality in Post-Socialist Poland”

The aim of the postdoctoral project is to tell the complex history of post-socialist transformation based on the study of literary narratives about inequality. Literary narratives are used to show how literature reflects and models judgments of economic, political, social, and cultural changes in post-socialism. It displays how literary narratives on inequality have continuously been changing and evolving since 1989, simultaneously to the socio-cultural, economic, and political transformations in the post-socialist countries of East-Central Europe. Further the analysis unveils new aspects in the study of transformation processes of East-Central Europe because it does not simply focus on the literature of transformation or political discourses about inequality, but it demonstrates their interrelations performed through literature and its reception. This approach is introduced by including the reception of literature in public discourse as a research question. Awards for a literary work, its importance in public discourse, broad public reception, and controversies in literary criticism reveal the interactions between the above spheres. The focus lays on texts from the mid-1980s to the most current publications. The narratives are examined in three diverse categories of inequalities and their appearance in literature: social, gender, and ethnic inequality. The work overviews the existing economic and political inequality studies to break new ground by providing a study on inequality that analyzes literary texts, including their reception in the context of political and economic transformation.

The project advocates for the significance of literature in the contemporary world by arguing for the relevance of literary narratives as a valuable medium in understanding and shaping the world in its economic, political, and social dimension. The key value is the investigation of literature to uncover the processes in the formation of (new) social structures in post-socialist transformation. Literature is seen as a mirror of social change: it highlights specific themes and ways of their representation.


Research Interests:

  • Comparative Approaches to Polish and German Literature and Studies
  • Polish and German Literature of the 20th and 21st Century
  • Travel Literature
  • Memory Studies (Postmemory, Nostalgia, Archives)
  • Literature and Politics
  • Social and Cultural History of Central and Eastern Europe
  • Inequality and Transformation Narratives


Selected publications:


  • “Galizien als Archiv. Reisen im postgalizischen Raum in der Gegenwartsliteratur.” Göttingen: Vienna University Press at V&R unipress 2020. [https://www.vandenhoeck-ruprecht-verlage.com/themen-entdecken/literatur-sprach-und-kulturwissenschaften/sprach-und-literaturwissenschaften/sprachwissenschaft-allgemein/55329/galizien-als-archiv]

Edited Volumes:

  • “Continuities and Discontinuities of the Habsburg Legacy in East-Central European Discourses since 1918.” Göttingen: Vienna University Press at V&R unipress 2019 (with Jagoda Wierzejska).
  •  “The Central European Archaeology of Knowledge: Exploring Polish and Ukrainian Literature (1989–2014).” Special Issue: Central Europe 15/1-2 (2017) (with Monika Glosowitz, Aleksandra Konarzewska).

Articles and Book Chapters:

  • “Traveling to Post-Galicia and Uncovering the Habsburgian Past”, in: Baran-Szołtys, Magdalena/Wierzejska, Jagoda (eds.): Continuities and Discontinuities of the Habsburg Legacy in East-Central European Discourses since 1918. Göttingen: Vienna University Press at V&R unipress 2020, pp. 155-173.
  • “Gonzo, Ironic Nostalgia, Magical Realism, or, How to Re-Narrate Traumatic Transnational Borderland Stories. Examples from the Twenty-First Century Polish(-German) Literature”, in: Philological Studies. Literary Research [PFLIT] 9(12)/1 (2019), pp. 63-80.
  •  “Visions of the Past: Revised in the Present, Recreated for the Future. Nostalgia for and Travels to Galicia in Polish Literature after 1989”, in: Baran-Szołtys, Magdalena/Dvoretska, Olena/Gude, Nino/Janik-Freis, Elisabeth (eds.): Galizien in Bewegung. Wahrnehmungen – Begegnungen – Verflechtungen. Göttingen: Vienna University Press at V&R unipress 2018, pp. 75-91.
  • “Galicja jako ponadnarodowa przestrzeń podróży. Kierunki rozwoju motywu w literaturze niemieckojęzycznej”, in: Wierzejska, Jagoda/Sosnowska, Danuta/Molisak, Alina (eds.): Turystyka i polityka. Ideologie współczesnych opowieści o przestrzeniach. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego 2017, pp. 139-168.
  • “(Re-)visionen von Galizien: Transgenerationale Reisenarrative zwischen Wiederentdeckung, Rekonstruktion und Imagination”, in: Studia Litteraria Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 10/1 (2015), pp. 1-14.
  •  “Forms of Nostalgia for the Lost World of PRL in Recent Polish Literature”, in: Ostblicke 6 (2015), pp. 75-90.
  • “Kalkwerk: Thomas Bernhards Roman, Krystian Lupas Inszenierung – ein Vergleich”, in: Behensky, Susanne (eds.): m*OST 2010. Oesterreichische StudierendenTagung für SlawistInnen. Austriacka Studencka Konferencja Slawistyczna. München, Berlin: Otto Sagner 2012, pp. 158-164.



Affiliation:      Research Cluster for the the History of Transformations (RECET), University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 2-4/Hof 1.1 (Campus), 1090 Vienna, Austria

E-Mail:           magdalena.baran@univie.ac.at 

Website:       https://univie.academia.edu/MagdalenaBaranSzołtys

ORCID:          https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6712-8138