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Contact Information

Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics Building
M/C 170
UIUC campus mail
Urbana, IL 61801
Associate Professor
Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies
Conrad Humanities Scholar, 2020-2025

Research Interests

While I am trained as a comparativist, my chief area of scholarship since receiving my PhD has been in 20th century Polish literature, with occasional forays to the literatures of the previous century as well as to contemporary prose and film. Throughout my academic career, I have also been particularly engaged with diasporic and minority cultures, and with Jewish cultural history in pre-1939 multiethnic Poland. In the field of literary and cultural criticism, the major problems I work with revolve around themes of migration and exile, the poetics of national belonging in the context of cultural polarization, the problem of writing in one’s second or third language, autobiography and life writing, memory and postmemory studies, and travel literature.

Research Description

My first book, Polish, Hybrid, and Otherwise: Exilic Discourse in Joseph Conrad and Witold Gombrowicz, was published in May 2011 by Continuum, with a paperback edition following two years later. The study treats the formation of an exilic language and the creation of émigré personae in the writings of Joseph Conrad and Witold Gombrowicz. I explored Conrad’s and Gombrowicz’s novels and life writing in the context of their liminal status as exiles from Poland, and analyzed textual strategies through which their writings bridge, or integrate, certain streams of literary modernity usually considered discrete (or incompatible with one another; these include diasporic discourse, avant-garde poetics, and the dialectics of imperial/colonial subjectivity). The theoretical entry point for the comparison proceeded from my discovery that many of the works in their exilic corpus are united by what I defined as a heterotopic imagination, which, after Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, I characterized both as a desire to articulate a set of existential conditions in the interstice between discourses and as a home-in-language. Within the zone of heterotopia, I argued, an author’s exilic subjectivity is a motive force which transforms non-places of language into linguistic refuges and spaces of hope.

Since the publication of Polish, Hybrid, and Otherwise, I have increasingly been drawn to the study of provincial borderland spaces and identities in Polish cultural practices. This is the terrain of my current book-in-progress, A Time for the Province: Palimpsests and Borders in Twentieth-Century Polish Literature. A Time for the Province reads narratives of seven late nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers who hailed from the Polish eastern and southern borderlands, or who set their works in those regions, or both. Within the theoretical framework of provincial or marginal literature – narrativizations of “little homelands” and “private myths” – the work sets out to explore the rich palimpsest of cultural fabrics and social interfaces in the world of the modern Polish province and at the same time introduce its specific topography to English-language readers.  


PhD, University of Toronto
MA, BA, McGill University

Awards and Honors

· Conrad Humanities Scholarship, College of LAS, 2020-25…;

· Humanities Research Institute Fellowship, 2017-18 

Courses Taught

POL 115: Introduction to Polish Culture

POL 446: Problems in Polish Literature: The Long Polish 20th Century

SLAV 452: The Cinema of Poland

CWL 201: Introduction to Comparative Literary Studies (Modernism)

CWL 202: Literature and Ideas

CWL 395: Joseph Conrad and Global Consciousness

CWL 571: Radical Political Thought and Literature

Polish language at all levels

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Associate Professor, Program in Comparative and World Literature
Associate Professor, Program in Jewish Culture and Society
Associate Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Associate Professor, Center for Global Studies
Associate Professor, European Union Center
Associate Professor, Russian, East European and Eurasian Center

Highlighted Publications


Gasyna, George Z. Polish, Hybrid, and Otherwise: Exilic Discourse in Joseph Conrad and Witold Gombrowicz. New York & London: Continuum, 2011 (Paperback edition, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013).

Edited Books

Gasyna, George Z. Ed. Joseph Conrad's Polish Soul: Realms of Memory and Self. (Conrad: Eastern and Western Perspectives Project; Vol. XXV). By G.W.S. Brodsky. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.

Journal Articles

"Tandeta (Trash): Bruno Schulz and the Micropolitics of Everyday Life." Slavic Review, vol. 74, no. 4, 2015, p. 760-784.

"Towards Heterotopia: The Case of Trans-Atlantyk." Slavic Review, vol. 68, no. 4, 2009, p. 898-923.

"The Poetics of the Borderlands: Ryszard Kapuściński’s Poland." Polish Review, vol. 53, no. 1, 2008, p. 53-72.

"Rituals at the Limits of Literature. A New Reading of Witold Gombrowicz's Cosmos." Sarmatian Review, vol. 27, no. 3, 2007, p. 1323-1332.

"Wyprawa na krańce literatury – nowe spojrzenie na Kosmos." Kwartalnik Literacki Kresy, 2006.

"A Mind Divided: Dual Exile of Czesław Miłosz." Russian, Croatian and Serbian, Czech and Slovak, Polish Literature (RCSCSPL), 2002.

"Life as Intertext: Distance, Deception and Intentionality in Marek Hłasko’s Killing the Second Dog." Canadian Slavonic Papers, 2002.

Book Contributions

Gasyna, George Z. “The Dangerous Subject is the Displaced Subject: Alterity in Conrad’s Short Fictions.” Conrad Without Borders: Transcultural and Transtextual Perspectives. Eds. Brendan Kavanagh, Grażyna Maria Teresa Branny, and Agnieszka Adamowicz-Pośpiech. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2023, p. 213-228.

Gasyna, George Z. "A Kind of Testament: Reading Witold Gombrowicz as a Transnational Writer." The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature, Volume 5a, 1920 to Early Twenty-First Century. Ed. Ken Seigneurie. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2020, p. 2765-2774.

Gasyna, George Z. "Iconoclasm and Nation-building (Witold Gombrowicz)." Being Poland: A New History of Polish Literature and Culture since 1918. Ed. Tamara Trojanowska, et al, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018, p. 356-362.

Gasyna, George Z. "Andrzej Stasiuk and the Myth of the Literary 'Gastarbajter'." Migration and Mobility in the Modern Age: Refugees, Travelers, and Traffickers in Europe and Eurasia. Eds. Anika Walke and Jan Musekamp. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univ. Press, 2017, p. 276-300.

Gasyna, George Z. "Introduction: Conrad and Brodsky." Joseph Conrad's Polish Soul: Realms of Memory and Self. (Conrad: Eastern and Western Perspectives Project; Vol. XXV). By G.W.S. Brodsky, New York: Columbia University Press, 2016, p. 1-11.

Gasyna, George. "Between Exilic Self-Fashioning and Nostalgia of the Return: Some Thoughts on Conrad’s Polish Writings." From Szlachta Culture to the XXI Century, Between East and West: New Essays on Joseph Conrad’s Polishness. Ed. Wieslaw Krajka. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013, p. 211-232.

Gasyna, George. "The Nation as Pathology: Representations of Community in Joseph Conrad and Witold Gombrowicz." New Perspectives on Polish Culture: Private Encounters, Private Affairs. Ed. Tamara Trojanowska. New York: Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America/PIASA Books, 2012, p. 52-70.

Gasyna, George. "Narrative as Transgression in Witold Gombrowicz’s Kosmos and Michel Houellebecq’s The Elementary Particles." The Effect of Palimpsest. Eds.  Bozena Shallcross and Ryszard Nycz. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2010, p. 239-258.

Gasyna, George. "Sector's Suspicions." Alphabet City 10: The Suspect, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006, p. 234-40.

Gasyna, George. “Gombrowicz contra Miłosz: Towards a Poetics of Displacement.” Cross-Cultural Relations and Exile. Eds. Danièle Issa-Sayegh and Salvatore Bancheri. Ottawa: LEGAS Publishers, 2005, p. 269-278

Gasyna, George. "Inscribing Otherness: Polish-American Writers After the Great Divide." Living in Translation: Polish Writers in America. Ed. Halina Stephan, Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2003, p. 331-377.

Encyclopedia Entries

"Marek Hlasko." The Literary Encyclopedia, London: 2018;

"Witold Gombrowicz: Trans-Atlantyk." The Literary Encyclopedia, London: 2020;


Gasyna, George. Review of "Sailing towards Poland” with Joseph Conrad by Jean Szczypien. The Polish Review, vol. 64, no. 4, 2019, p. 91-96.

Gasyna, George. Review of Form and Instability. Eastern Europe, Literature, Postimperial Difference by Anita Starosta. Slavic Review, vol. 77, no. 4, 2018, p. 1080-1082.

Gasyna, George. Review of Taking Liberties: Gender, Transgressive Patriotism, and Polish Drama, 1786-1989 by Halina Filipowicz. Sarmatian Review, vol. 37, no. 1, 2017, p. 2064-2068.

"Marek Hłasko: Killing the Second Dog." Review of Killing the Second Dog, by Marek Hłasko Cosmopolitan Review, 2015.

Review of Narrating Post/Communism: Colonial Discourse and Europe’s Borderline CivilizationSlavic Review, 2011.

Review of Polish Literature from 1918 to 2000: An Anthology, by Michael J. Mikoś. The Polish Review, 2010.

Review of Czesław Miłosz et le vingtième siècleSlavic Review, 2008.

Review of Polish Literature from 1864 to 1918: Realism and Young Poland. An Anthology. Sarmatian Review, 2008.

View all publications on Illinois Experts

Recent Publications

Gasyna, G. Z. (2023). The Dangerous Subject Is the Displaced Subject: Conrad’s Short Fictions. In B. Kavanagh, G. M. T. Branny, & A. Adamowicz-Pospiech (Eds.), Conrad Without Borders: Transcultural and Transtextual Perspectives (pp. 213-228). Bloomsbury Academic.

Gasyna, G. Z. (2020). A Kind of Testament: Reading Witold Gombrowicz as a Transnational Writer. In K. Seigneurie (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature,: Volume 5a, 1920 to Early Twenty-First Century (pp. 2765-2774). Wiley.

Gasyna, G. Z. (2019). “Sailing towards Poland” with Joseph Conrad. Polish Review, 64(4).

Gasyna, G. Z. (2018). Form and Instability. Eastern Europe, Literature, Postimperial Difference. Slavic Review, 77(4).

Gasyna, G. Z. (2018). Iconoclasm and Nation-building (Witold Gombrowicz). In T. Trojanowska, P. Czaplinski, & J. Nizynska (Eds.), Being Poland: A New History of Polish Literature and Culture since 1918 (pp. 356-362). University of Toronto press.

View all publications on Illinois Experts