THUS 2022 projects

The main component of the summer program is an active participation in the selected hummanisites and social sciences research project offered by the staff members of the Nicolaus Copernicus University, please see the topics and their descriptions below. Interested students are welcome to contact possible advisors for more details concerning the foreseen projects and discuss the dates that the project could be undertaken.



(Priority) Clergy of the Uniate Church in the face of creating their image in the public perception (18th century)


The Union of Brest in 1596 initiated the existence of a new church organization in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth - the Uniate Church, an Eastern Christian trend that recognized the pope's authority. Since then during the 17th century The Uniate Church developed organizationally, but also created its own religious, intellectual and cultural achievements. However, the greatest flourishing of the Uniate Church took place in the 18th century, when reforms aimed to regulate the influence of the Latin Church, the system of management of diocese was strengthened, and more care was given to improving the quality of parish ministry. Uniate hierarchy formulated new requirements for the education, morality and opinion of the local community about the candidates for priests. In view of the existence of a top-down tendency to correct the priestly state, it seems reasonable to ask: was it important for the Uniate clergy themselves how the local community perceives them? The research problem should be resolved in several steps. The legal and economic situation of unite clergy in Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 18th century will be discussed during the meeting with participants. Students will conduct a query in libraries in Toruń on the creation of image, understanding of honour and manifestation of belonging to the social state by people in the 18th century. Then they will start working with manuscripts from the court books of The Uniate Church, in which they will look for signs of care of Uniate priests for their own image in local community. The result of their work will be short presentation.

Supervisor: dr Wioletta Zielecka-Mikołajczyk (zielecka[at]umk.pl)
Time: July or August 2022

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The West and East in wills from XVII-XVIII century (on the example of the Ruthenian Lands of the Polish Crown)


The wills as a source information about people and ideas of the modern period have taken up permanent place in historiography. So far, they have been considered in the context of research on the law, mentality and broadly understood "world of things" of testators. The least known sources of this type include wills from the Ruthenian lands of the Crown. The region was the meeting place for two different Polish and Ruthenian cultures. We can see this a cultural mix for example in city’s life, legal culture and especially in religious practice. That is why we can try to find in the wills evidence of the interpenetration of cultures. Maybe we will be able to notice some changes in this matter between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries?
The research problem should be resolved in several steps. The wills as a historical source will be discussed during the meeting with participants. Students will conduct a query in libraries in Toruń on issues: differences between Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, funeral practise in Western and Eastern Churches, differences between Eastern and Western clothes, jewellery, things related to home and eating. Next, they will start work with texts of wills from XVII-XVIII centuries and look for evidence of interaction between The East and The West. The result student’s work will be short presentation.

Supervisor: dr Wioletta Zielecka-Mikołajczyk (zielecka[at]umk.pl)
Time: July or August 2022

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Classics of literature in foreign language coursebooks - forms of presence


According to Goethe: “Who wants to understand the poem must go to the land of poetry” - in contemporary foreign language learning, the motivations of communication in travel and business contacts are dominant, in special cases only, mainly of people planning linguistic, comparative, or translational studies, the motivation becomes possibility of direct contact with a literary work. People learning a foreign language are introduced to the culture of the particular country mainly by reflecting the details of the inhabitants' life in dialogues, presenting customs and traditions, publishing press materials, and frequently also fragments of literary works. The project goal is to identify the strategies of preparing the content of the classics of literature in coursebooks and to find better ways to reach learners and stimulate their interest in getting familiar with literary works in the original language. During the project works, we are going to select the most interesting forms of the presence of literary texts in language coursebooks (they can also be significant forms of absence), we are going to consider the criteria for their selection, as well as their linguistic and editorial shape. We will try to answer the following questions: are these materials appealing to students - are texts from the classics of literature the right materials or would popular works recognizable around the entire world be a better choice? Does the simplified version of the text of the literary work encourage to reach for the original text or does it flatten and unify the message of the literary work? What additional elements (e.g. an explanation of the historical context, information about the author, a glossary) seem redundant, and what should be included as standard? The result of a project combining consideration on the functioning of literary works, didactics of foreign languages and the editorial preparation of a literary text could be the publication of a multi-authored article in an international journal, the work on which could be continued after the internship, if needed.

Supervisor: dr Magdalena Kowalska (mkowalska[at]umk.pl)
Time: July 4 - 31, 2022

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The EU Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) – selected aspects of Member States Engagement


The European Union's security architecture is currently co-created on several levels, by various decision-making centres. The countries themselves play a crucial role, so the first level is governmental. The second level is the cooperation of these countries on the supranational institutional level within the EU. The third is trans-Atlantic cooperation within the framework of a specialized international organization, NATO. Interestingly, analysis of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the current stage of development brings together all these three levels. The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), of which PESCO is a part, is not a military alliance, but rather a ‘post-national’ global security actor. Yet in security terms, it is hard to see how the EU as a post-national security actor differs fundamentally from other multilateral institutions designed to provide security and defence for a group of states through the promise of reciprocal military support (and some element of joint planning), whether for offensive or defensive purposes. CSDP members are looking for the same fundamental benefits from cooperation as members of other types of cooperative bodies, namely more security (conceived as greater capacity for action and greater credibility of promises, threats and deterrents) at a lower cost. However, cooperation related to the CSDP (Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, 2014) had not been carried out to the full extent. This situation has been changing significantly beginning in December 2017, when the EU Council decided to initiate permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) in the field of security and defence.

Supervisor: dr Michał Piechowicz (piechowicz[at]umk.pl)
Time: July or August 2022

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Russia’s International Strategy: Towards Revision of World Order


This project explores Russia’s international strategy aimed at revising the world order. The 2008 Georgia war, 2014 annexation of Crimea, and 2022 invasion into Ukraine are recognized to be a milestone in its new international conduct. President Putin elaborated on key assumptions of the revisionist policy first in the 2007 Munich Security Conference and then in the 2014 Valdai Club speech “New Rules in a New World Order”.
Russia’s activities on the international stage and the domestic driving forces are key for the program. Research focuses on Russia’s view on the world order, its place in international politics; Moscow’s interests, and the implementation of the strategy of revising the world order.
Key areas include:
  1. Russia’s view on world politics/world order
  2. Russia’s means of influence in the so-called close neighborhood and engagement with the West and with international organizations
  3. The institutions and processes of foreign policymaking in Russia
  4. Prospects of Russia’s future
Supervisor: dr Agnieszka Bryc (a.bryc[at]umk.pl)
Time: July or August 2022

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Amicitia, memoria, iustum negotium – the importance of long – distance trade and Medieval power networks (East Central and Northern Europe – 9th – 11th century)


The aim of the project is to describe the mechanisms leading to the creation of medieval power networks in the context of dynastic relationships, economic-political activity and in the view of memorative practice. The project is a continuation of research interests undertaken in the dissertation. An important question to describe the economical consequences of conversion, memoria, political friendship and alliances between the Empire and Barbarian lands. The aim problem in proposed study is political-economic aspects of the inclusion of new territories to Ottonian power sphere. We can observe it in written sources and in some archaeological data –like silver hoards. The Ottonian state was one of economical imbalances in the socio-economical changes (state creation processes) on the indicated area. From this point of view –the commercial exchange or economy -was as one of the kind of rules activity. We observe it especially in Denmark or in the First Piast’s state. These processes may be connected with the development of the monastic system of the Ottonian state and the simultaneous growth of the demand some categories of goods. The presented study shows the economic sphere of socio-ideological impact of the Empire on the Barbarian lands-in the light of settlement transformation and centralization of power (both in the case of First Piast’s state as well in the case of Denmark or Sweden). We can identify here also some analogies (relation between Empire, First Piast’s state and Pomerania).

Supervisor: dr Piotr Pranke (piotrpranke[at]umk.pl)
Time: July 1 - 31, 2022

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Slavery and slave traders in Central and Northern Europe in the High Middle Ages


In the subject literature there is a present group of social models – and the vision of the world “after Rome” - related to the ‘classical’ division of the society. We can find a lot of typical information about social status, organisation of society – or the general information about the importance and organisation of trade - without description of complicated trade systems, the understanding of ‘merchant’s magic’ and information about the function of social networks in the Middle Ages.
Only sometimes we can find information about magical valorisation of the space, religious practice and the influence of the magical thinking to the spheres of this part of Medieval life. For this reason the popular image of the slavery in the Middle Ages is still related to the ancient history – and a kind of social imagination about a’large scale of the slave trade’. Often refers also to the vision of the “Roman traders”. While the term “slave” may seem relatively simple to define as “a person who lacks the personality, subjectivity and freedom,” even that definition should be clarified in the context of source analysis - to be understood and explained. The term freedom was defined in the locally prevailing laws - and in the captitularia - and was distinguished from other categories of un-free persons - such as prisoners, serfs or children.
A slave can usually be sold as property without attachment to specific pieces of land or any other kind of obligation. A slave, then, can be moved and sold by the owner as an inanimate object rather than a person. In general – everything can be interpreted as a true – but only under special conditions The primary question is which category of a slave in the Early Middle Ages could be sold, why the terminology – referred to the real status of slave was so important? What was the “daily” trade practice? How the religious practice, church law and magical sphere of trade rituals determined the sphere of slave trade – and social status of traders?
Sources mentioned slaves as mancipia, servi (or sometimes as slaves or ancilla, ancillae), famuli and captivi. Their subordination, function, and social status were defined and described by the use of Latin term “family” (familia Sclavorum, familia serviis, mancipioli, familia utrusque sexus etc). Only this general information shows that the problem of slavery is more complicated.
The use of mentioned terms can describe the social effects of military action, the use of force and violence – or the information about personal freedom - or information about social – and public duties of this group. It is worth stressing, that this can pose a difficulty as, in some cases, terms used in one period – such as the Latin word servus, used for both ‘slaves’ and ‘serfs’– had different meanings in the different periods of the Middle Ages. For example - Isidor of Sevilla (“Slavery [servitus] is called such from the act of saving [servando]. Among the ancients, those who were saved in battle from death were called slaves [servi]. This is alone the most extreme of all evils, which for a freeman is the gravest of all punishments; for where freedom has perished, there all has perished with it”) - understood a definition of slavery in the other way as in the group of documents related to the commemoration practice and donates in the Carolingian and Ottonian period. The mentioned terms were seen in this period not only through the prism of the legacy of Roman law and Germanic customary laws – but also through the prism of church legislation in the Merovingian period.

Supervisor: dr Piotr Pranke (piotrpranke[at]umk.pl)
Time: July 1 - 31, 2022

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Culinary borderland. Heritage of history


The project concerns the construction of identity through food and drink in a historical perspective, the creation of national cuisines, and competition and exchange in this field. It is about cross-border, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural areas, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, but shots in other areas are also possible. Cuisine, culinary literature, and food culture are essential elements of identity, a tool for integration and communication. Cookbooks and collections of culinary recipes played a unique role here. They have evolved from handwritten texts to printed matter, from elite publications to practical and popular guides. They became mass publications published in various national languages in the nineteenth century. They described national (Pellegrino Artusi and the unification of Italy) and multinational (Austria-Hungary and Franz Josef's policy), regional (especially Germany), regional and supranational (West Prussia) cuisines. In many countries, they were a tool to defend language and tradition (Lithuania, Ukraine) strengthened cultural distinctiveness or assimilation (Jewish texts and cuisines of emigrants in different countries). Their identification and analysis in the light of various methods will be an essential part of the project. The primary material can be found in our newly created library - the collection of the Culinary Heritage Center.

Research goals:
  1. Food and culinary culture as a means of constructing and expressing identity
  2. Comparative approach to different strategies and attitudes
  3. Use of historical knowledge and inspiration in contemporary discourse
Research tasks:
  1. Bibliography (source material)
  2. Methodology
  3. Use of historical material by food producers, gastronomy, tourism and public authorities
  4. Comparative analysis of selected cookbooks of a supranational and international character and from culturally diverse areas and variable nationality
Supervisor: dr hab. Jarosław Dumanowski, prof. UMK (jd[at]umk.pl)
Time: July 2022

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Regional food. History, tradition, and the present day (introduction and internship)


The development of traditional and regional food is a reaction to global trends in food production, distribution, and consumption. Regional food producers refer to ecology, history, tradition, local identity, and the need for personal ties between food producers and consumers. This phenomenon is global ("glocalism"). In Europe, it is based on the EU regional food protection and promotion system referring to the concept of “terroir” and the French and Italian patterns. The bottom-up Scandinavian (Nordic) model, an example of which is the European Network of Culinary Heritage, popular in Poland, has gained considerable popularity, especially in northern and eastern Europe.
After getting acquainted with the system of protection and promotion of regional food, students will participate in projects related to this field: fairs, festivals, museum initiatives and the development of documentation for the registration of regional products.

Research goals:
  1. Identification of values and motivations related to regional/traditional food
  2. Getting to know the environments of producers and consumers
  3. Creation of regional products and their documentation
Research tasks:
  1. Getting to know the legal regulations concerning regional food
  2. Participation in regional food festivals, fairs, presentations, etc
  3. Report/analysis / proposal for the creation and documentation of traditional products on a selected example
Supervisor: dr hab. Jarosław Dumanowski, prof. UMK (jd[at]umk.pl)
Time: July 2022

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A Priest as Master of the House. Lower Clergyman and their Households in Later Middle Ages (Central Europe, 14th-15th century)


The parson of Toruń often had visitors, such as fellow clergymen, city councilors and representatives of territorial power. The manse of Toruń was full of life. Therefore, when considering the place of medieval clergy in society, it is worth taking a closer look at the households of clergymen. Where did the priests live? How was life organized in the medieval manse? Who lived in the clergyman's household and what was the relationship between the house master and its residents? What guests visited the priest's house? How did the community houses of the poor clergy function? These questions concern not only everyday life, but also the social standing of the clergy. A clergyman at home was not only a priest, but also a host, roommate, landowner, employer, sometimes even an entrepreneur. The question of who a clergyman is in his own house makes it possible to address another question: who was he in the society?
The goal of the project is an analysis of Lower Clergyman and their Households in Later Middle Ages. It will include the diverse aspects of everyday and social life of the Clergymen. The issues are connected to the question of the place of the clergymen in medieval society. Some seminars are going to be organized with the students on the topic of the literature, different categories of sources, and certain aspects of the clergymen households operation. The seminars are going to have a form of a discussion on the issues and problems prepared by the students. The project also includes a visit in the State Archive in Toruń.
Project includes regular meetings with students about the literature of the subject, various categories of sources and individual aspects of the functioning of clergy houses. Meetings will take the form of a seminar with a discussion on issues developed independently. The project also includes a visit in the State Archive in Toruń.
Command of English is sufficient to participate in the program, however the knowledge of German and/or basics of Latin would be an additional asset.

Research tasks:
  1. discussion about the previous research of clergy houses,
  2. sources: last wills,
  3. sources: inventories,
  4. sources: accounts,
  5. sources: normative sources,
  6. sources: papal and judicial sources,
  7. work on unpublished sources in the State Archives in Toruń,
  8. summary meeting and conclusions.
Supervisor: dr Marcin Sumowski (m.sumowski[at]umk.pl)
Time: July or August 2022

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