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Ewa Łukaszyk
Universiteit Leiden

EREGNAT EM ILON. The Elitist and her Nomads

     The essay is an attempt at capturing the secret of the symbiosis between the elitist humanities cultivated at the high-ranking universities and the academic outsiders. The problem at its core is the persistent lack of eminence of Polish humanities in the international context (that the author interweaves with her personal lack of eminence in the Polish context, creating a game of palindromes). Trying to indicate possible causes of this situation, the author comments on the marginalization (and self-marginalization) of the outsiders searching for new paths, the derived character of the approaches produced in Polish mainstream academia, as well as the narrowness of conservative corpus that Polish scholars work on; lacking originality is shown as a consequence of a relative poverty of new, unexplored materials. As an example of a dynamic, expanding corpus, studied in the leading academic contexts but not in Poland, the author brings about several examples of nomadic literature (the songs of Fulani shepherds, a novel by a Saudi writer, the modern poetry of Najd).

     Keywords: Elitist humanities - academic outsiders - originality in humanities - literature of nomadic peoples

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