Dr Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski
Senior Lecturer in Polish History
020 7679 8819
020 7679 8777
Personal / Intellectual Biography
Fatefully for a historian of Poland, I was born in March 1968. Having realised while reading History at Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1986-89, that nirvana could be found in the study of the age of Mozart and Canova, my initial research was on the Anglophilia of the last King of Poland. This led to several years spent in Poland, first as a Polish Government scholar and later as a visiting lecturer at Łódź University. In the meantime Hertford College, Oxford, was so kind as to bestow the Mary Staruń scholarship in Polish Studies upon me, so I left Cambridge for the other place, where I found the best of supervisors in R. J. W. Evans. A DPhil in Modern History was awarded in 1994 for a thesis 'Stanisław August Poniatowski, his Circle and English Political Culture'. A revised version was published by Oxford University Press in 1998 as Poland's Last King and English Culture: Stanisław August Poniatowski 1732-1798, named as an academic book of the year by Choice in 1999. An expanded Polish edition appeared under the auspices of the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2000. I then held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Oxford in 1994-97, which in 1995-97 was combined with a Research Fellowship at Wolfson College. In 1997 I was appointed Lecturer in Modern European History at Queen's University Belfast, where I co-founded the interdisciplinary Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies. I moved to London to become Lecturer in Polish History at SSEES in January 2005, and Senior Lecturer in September 2006, but spend as much time as possible in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. For me the greatest pleasure to be had from history is to make an unsuspected discovery in an archive.
Poznań's Renaissance City Hall
My research interests have widened to the Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment in Poland-Lithuania, c. 1730-c. 1830, with a particular focus on contemporaries' attitudes to the 'age of Enlightenment', intellectual and cultural contacts with western Europe, such as the Polish reception of Montesquieu and Rousseau. A co-edited collection on Peripheries of the Enlightenment appeared as a volume of SVEC (Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century) in 2008. My own contribution focuses on the sermons of two once famous Lithuanian preachers, in the borderlands 'between enlightened Catholicism and Anti-Enlightenment'. I expanded on this theme in 'Catholicism and Enlightenment in Poland-Lithuania', a chapter of the Brill Companion to the Catholic Enlightenment in Europe (2010).
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is noted for its distinctive parliamentary institutions and republican political tradition. I have developed my interest in the role of monarchist thought and discourse in this challenging context since I hosted the 1999 Wiles Colloquium on The Polish-Lithuanian Monarchy in European Context, c. 1500-1795. The revised proceedings were published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2001. I argued for the importance of monarchist and Providentialist discourse in the Four Years' Parliament or Polish Revolution of 1788-92 in an article for the English Historical Review in 2005, and I take every opportunity to urge that 'throne and altar' be given due weight in discussions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth - for example in a lecture on the Constitution of 3 May 1791 to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw (on 2 May 2008).
My latest monograph, The Polish Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1788-92: A Political History, was published by Oxford University Press in December 2011. Its principal aim is to establish why certain decisions were made by a parliamentary assembly in a republican political culture, while others, which at the time seemed equally plausible, were not. It explains how the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth went to the verge of schism with the Holy See, before the negotiation of a compromise which facilitated the Church's blessing for the Constitution of 3 May 1791. The book features extended comparisons between the Polish-Lithuanian reforms and the reforms undertaken by Joseph II in the Habsburg Monarchy and the National Assembly in Revolutionary France. For a review see http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1296. A much longer edition of this opus monstrum was published in Polish translation by Arcana of Cracow in March 2012, thanks to the generosity of the Museum of Polish History. See http://www.ksiegarnia.arcana.pl/Richard-butterwick-polska-rewolucja-a-kosciol-katolicki-1788-1792,896.html.
I am now working on a more general history of the last decades of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, featuring a variety of provincial perspectives. At some point in future I'd like to return to researching the extraordinary life, works and career of the British diplomat and libertine poet Sir Charles Hanbury Williams (1708-59), who in 1755 introduced the young Stanisław A. Poniatowski to the Grand Duchess Catherine.
Vilnius Baroque: the former church of the Priests of the Mission
Teaching and supervision
I teach a Group 2 course on The Fall and Rise of the Polish Nation, 1648-1921, an MA course on Fashion, Folly and the Fatherland in Polish Culture, 1764-1834, and (jointly with Professor Simon Dixon), a Group 3 special subject on Monarchs and the Enlightenment in Russia and Central Europe. I am prepared to supervise research students on diverse topics in Polish-Lithuanian and Polish history through the end of the nineteenth century, but would particularly welcome those with an interest in the political, religious, cultural and intellectual history of Poland-Lithuania in the eighteenth century.
Other academic activities
On moving to London I became co-convenor of the interdisciplinary and intercollegiate Forum on Early Modern Central Europe, which formerly met at the Warburg Institute, but which has been hosted since 2007 at SSEES. Between 2007 and 2010 I edited the journal Central Europe, finishing with a special issue on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. I am also on the editorial boards of Slavonic and East European Review, Kwartalnik Historyczny, published by the History Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History, and the advisory board of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies. I have acted as external examiner in Polish Studies at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Oxford. I shall be coordinator of History programmes at SSEES in the academic years 2012-13 and 2013-14.
This page last modified
Wednesday 26 September 2012.