Do Jews in Poland identify as Polish? That’s the question Marysia Galbraith, professor of anthropology, wants to answer. And to do that, she will travel to Poland in the fall for research and study as a ?Fulbright scholar.
“One big question I have is where there might have been spaces or opportunities for Jews in Poland to be recognized and see themselves also as Poles,” she said. “I tend to wonder this because the common stereotype is that Poles are Catholic and for hundreds of years there were vibrant Jewish populations who have identified themselves as Polish.”
This is the third time Galbraith has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship, as well as the third time she will ?focus on Poland.
“I have been working in Poland for over 20 years now and have recently finished this long project I have been doing on Polish identity and European ?integration,” she said.
Not unfamiliar to the long process and multiple interviews to become a Fulbright scholar, Galbraith said it was so exciting to have gotten this opportunity again and expects it to be a very rewarding and knowledgeable experience overall.
“First, I had to fill out an application due back in August, and it was a long wait until April. My application had to talk about the project, outline what I do and what I accomplished as a scholar,” she said. “There was an interview in January over Skype with the Polish, then American committees. And finally you find out if your idea has been approved or accepted.”
On June 1, Galbraith’s book “Being and Becoming European in Poland: European Integration and Self-Identity,” was published Her current project draws on what she has learned and studied over ?the past years.
“My project is focused on Jewish heritage in Poland and the history of Jews in Poland,” she said. “This project goes along with the ideas I have developed over the years, but now more of a shift of focus towards Polish Jewish relation and Jewish life.”
Besides the study, Galbraith said she is also going to take the time to trace back and learn her personal family history?in Poland.
Dr. Michael Murphy, professor of anthropology, said he believes Dr. Galbraith really stands out among the ?Fulbright scholars.
“The fact that she has received three Fulbrights, which is not that common, shows that they have a lot of confidence in her and all her abilities,” he said.
Murphy said he believes that the Fulbright committee has a lot of confidence in Galbraith and that being selected a third time is no coincidence.
“She did something truly?remarkable in anthropology, and that is over the course of twenty years she returned periodically to study teens and gradually she could document the change in nature of their views,” he said. “And as a consequence of all her hard work, she was given the opportunity again to delve more into a topic that really interests her and builds our knowledge in this ?field of anthropology.”