History of the JU Institute of Regional Studies

The Jagiellonian University Institute of Regional Studies was founded in 2001, together with the Faculty of International and Political Studies. It was established thanks to the initiative of the JU staff members representing various University units and different academic disciplines, such as linguistics, sociology, history, literary studies, philosophy, and anthropology. Their common goal was to create interdisciplinary curricula and research programmes based on cultural studies.

In the early period of its existence, during the years 2001-2004, the Institute of Regional Studies was an academic unit grouping seven lagrely autonomous chairs and departments, running separate speciality: regional studies within the programme: cultural studies. These units were: the Chair in Russian Studies, Chair in American Studies, Chair in European Studies, Chair in the Middle and Far East, Chair in Latin American Studies, Chair in Ukrainian Studies, and Department of Multiculturalism.  

The first head of the Institute of Regional Studies was Prof. dr hab. Lucjan Suchanek. He was succeeded by Prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Paleczny, who occupied this position until 2012, when Dr hab. Monika Banaś took the post.

Since 1 October 2004 the chairs of the Institute started to gain greater autonomy, and, due to the  development of units specializing in the issues related to different parts of the world, they evolved into new institutes within the Faculty of International and Political Studies.  

After more than 10 years from its foundation, the Institute comprises units whose tradition stems from the Department of Multiculturalism, which was transformed into the Chair in International Cultural Studies. At the moment, the Institute of Regional Studies consists of the following units: the Chair in International Cultural Studies headed by Prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Paleczny, Chair in Anthropology of Contemporary Culture, under Prof. dr hab. Ryszard Kantor, Department of Theory and History of Cultural Research under Dr hab. Piotr Biliński, who succeded the late Prof. dr hab. Andrzej Pankowicz, and the Department of Ethnocultural Policy, created by Prof. Wawrzyniec Konarski.  

The research activities of the Institute staff concentrate on the issues related to the broadly understood multiculturalism, ethnic minorities, and intercultural contacts in the modern world.