Tomasz Kamusella

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T Kamusella speaking at the First Codification Conference of the Silesian Language in June 2008

Tomasz Kamusella (born in 1967, in Kędzierzyn, Upper Silesia, Poland) is a European scholar pursuing interdisciplinary research in language politics, nationalism and ethnicity.[1]


He was educated at the University of Silesia, Sosnowiec Campus, Poland; Potchefstroom University (now part of the North-West University), Potchefstroom, South Africa; and the Central European University (co-accredited then by the Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom), Prague Campus, Czech Republic. He obtained his doctorate in Political Science from the Institute of Western Affairs (Instytut Zachodni), Poznań, Poland and habilitation in Cultural Studies from the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland.[2]

Academic career[edit]

In 1994/95, he taught in the Language Teachers’ Training College (Nauczycielskie Kolegium Języków Obcych), Opole, Poland, and between 1995 and 2007 at the University of Opole, Opole, Poland. From 2002-2006, he did postdoctoral research in the European University Institute, Florence, Italy; the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., United States; the Institute for Human Sciences (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)), Vienna, Austria; and the Herder-Institut de:Herder-Institut (Marburg), Marburg, Germany. As visiting professor, in 2007-10, he taught Central and Eastern European History and Polish History and Politics in Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, in 2010/11 at the Cracow University of Economics, Cracow, Poland; and in 2011 did research in the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan. Currently, he teaches in the School of History (Centre for Transnational History) at the University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.[3]

Thanks to the support of the Centre international de formation européenne, Nice, France (then headed by Ferdinand Kinsky de:Ferdinand Graf Kinsky, under whose supervision T. Kamusella had written his master’s thesis in Prague), he founded, and between 1999 and 2002, co-organized the International Summer School (Międzynarodowa Szkoła Letnia, Opole, Poland) on European integration and minorities in the Opole Voivodeship. Uniquely, then this school was co-financed by NATO,[4] and today it continues to be organized on the annual basis by the Dom Europejski (European House), Opole, Poland.[5] He applied with the European Commission’s Jean Monnet Programme for a European Module in History and Politics of the European Union, and from 1997-2002, he led this module at the University of Opole. He also conceived the project Specific Nationalisms for the Polish Academy of Sciences’ half-annual Sprawy Narodowościowe (Nationalities Affairs), in the framework of which, since 2001 he has attracted high quality English-language articles for this journal.[6] In 2008, he founded and co-edits the book series, Nationalisms Across the Globe, published by Peter Lang Ireland.

In 2005-07, he provided academic expertise for Andrzej Roczniok (pl) and Grzegorz Kozubek’s application for an ISO 639-3 code for the Silesian language, which was granted in 1997: szl. Likewise, in 2008 he wrote an opinion on the incubator Silesian Wikipedia, which led to its launching, as Ślůnsko Wikipedyjo, in the same year.[7] On June 30, 2008, on the first-ever codification (linguistics) conference on Silesian (Ślōnsko godka – mundart jeszcze eli już jednak szpracha? [The Silesian Language: A Dialect or Already a Language?]), as the sole one of the four main panelists unambiguously supported its recognition as a language in Poland. He argues that the will of 60,000 persons, who indicated Silesian as their language of everyday communication in the Polish census of 2002, could not be disregarded in any democratic state.[8]

Career in Civil Service[edit]

In 1996, he was employed as the, first-ever in Poland, regional Plenipotentiary on European Integration to the Regional Governor (Pełnomocnik Wojewody ds. Integracji Europejskiej)[9] in the Regional Authority (Urząd Wojewódzki), Opole. Later, from 1999–2002, he acted as Advisor on International Affairs to the Regional President (Doradca Marszałka ds. Współpracy z Zagranicą), Self-Governmental Regional Authority (Urząd Marszałkowski), Opole. In cooperation with the University of Opole, between 1997 and 2001, he managed the application in the Council of Europe, and financing that led to the establishment of the European Documentation Center in Opole [1]. This center makes acquis communautaire available to the inhabitants of the Voivodeship of Opole and constituted a basis for founding a Department of Law at the University of Opole. In 1998, in the framework of the European Visitors Program of the European Union, he also visited the Spanish Autonomous Community of Galicia, which, in the following year, led to the signing of the cooperation agreement between this Spanish region and the Opole Voivodeship.[10]

Books in English[edit]

  • The Politics of Language and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe (Foreword by Professor Peter Burke). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 1168 pp.; ISBN 9780230294738 (Paperback edition).
  • The Szlonzoks and Their Language: Between Germany, Poland and Szlonzokian Nationalism / Szlonzocy (Ślązacy) i ich język pomiędzy Niemcami, Polską a szlonzskim (śląskim) nacjonalizmem. 2009. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 122 pp. ISBN 978-83-60540-93-0.
  • The Politics of Language and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe (Foreword by Professor Peter Burke). 2009. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 1168 pp. ISBN 978-0-230-55070-4 & ISBN 0-230-55070-3.
  • Silesia and Central European Nationalisms: The Emergence of National and Ethnic Groups in Prussian Silesia and Austrian Silesia, 1848-1918 (Ser: Central European Studies; Foreword by Professor Charles W. Ingrao). 2007. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 386 pp. ISBN 978-1-55753-371-5 & ISBN 1 5753 371 7.
  • Polsko-angielsko-niemiecki glosariusz regionalny / The Polish-English-German Regional Glossary. 2006. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 160 pp. ISBN 978-83-60540-53-4.
  • Polsko-angielsko-niemiecki glosariusz regionalny Województwa Opolskiego / The Polish-English-German Glossary of the Regional Terminology of the Opole Voivodeship. 2004. Opole, Poland: Oficyna Piastowska, 130pp. ISBN 83-89357-18-6.
  • The Szlonzoks and Their Language: Between Germany, Poland and Szlonzokian Nationalism. 2003. Florence, European University Institute: Working Papers Series of the Department of History and Civilization (HEC 2003/1), 50 pp.[11]
  • The Dynamics of the Policies of Ethnic Cleansing in Silesia During the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (research work). 2000. Prague: Research Support Scheme, 710 pp. ;,

Edited Volumes in English[edit]

  • Together with K. Jaskułowski (pl), eds. 2009. Nationalisms Today. Oxford & Bern: Peter Lang.
  • Together with Wojciech Burszta (pl) & S Wojciechowski, eds. 2006. Nationalisms Across the Globe: An Overview of Nationalisms in State-Endowed and Stateless Nations (Vol. 2: The World). Poznań, Poland: Wyższa Szkoła Nauk Humanistycznych i Dziennikarstwa, 558 pp. ISBN 83-87653-51-9 & ISBN 83-87653-41-1.
  • Together with W Burszta & S Wojciechowski, eds. 2005. Nationalisms Across the Globe: An Overview of Nationalisms in State-Endowed and Stateless Nations (Vol 1: Europe). Poznań, Poland: Wyższa Szkoła Nauk Humanistycznych i Dziennikarstwa, 502 pp. ISBN 83-87653-51-9 & ISBN 83-87653-41-1.
  • Cooperation in the writing and editing: Karl Cordell, ed. 2000. The Politics of Ethnicity in Central Europe. London: Macmillan and New York: St Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-333-73171-9.

Books in Polish[edit]

  • Warszawa wie lepiej Ślązaków nie ma. O dyskryminacji i języku śląskim [Warsaw Knows Better – The Silesians Don’t Exist: On Discrimination and the Silesian Language]. 2014. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 174 pp. ISBN 9788360540213.
  • Maski i twarze nacjonalizmu [Masks and Facets of Nationalism]. 2008. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 284 pp. ISBN 978-83-60540-84-8.
  • O Schlonzsku i nacjonalizmie [On Upper Silesia and Nationalism]. 2008. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 148 pp. ISBN 978-83-60540-60-2.
  • Uwag kilka o dyskryminacji Ślązaków i Niemców górnośląskich w postkomunistycznej Polsce [A Few Remarks on the Discrimination of the Silesians and Upper Silesia’s Germans in Postcommunist Poland]. 2007. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 28 pp. ISBN 978-83-60540-68-8.
  • Schlonzsko: Horní Slezsko, Oberschlesien, Górny Śląsk. Esej o regionie i jego mieszkańcach [Schlonzsko: Upper Silesia. An Essay on the Region and Its Inhabitants] (2nd, corrected and enlarged edition). 2006. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 148 pp. ISBN 978-83-60540-51-0.
  • W bżuhu vieloryba [In a Whale's Belly, a collection of essays on nationalism and language politics in Asia, the Balkans and Central Europe. Introduction by Prof Wojciech J Burszta]. 2006. Toruń, Poland: Wydawnictwo A Marszałek, 305 pp. ISBN 978-83-7441-383-1.
  • Schlonzska mowa. Język, Górny Śląsk i nacjonalizm (Vol II) [Silesia and Language: Language, Upper Silesia and Nationalism, a collection of articles on various social, political and historical aspects of language use in Upper Silesia]. 2006. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 151 pp. ISBN 83-919589-2-2.
  • Schlonzska mowa. Język, Górny Śląsk i nacjonalizm (Vol I) [Silesia and Language: Language, Upper Silesia and Nationalism, a collection of articles on various social, political and historical aspects of language use in Upper Silesia]. 2005. Zabrze, Poland: NOS, 187 pp. ISBN 83-919589-2-2.
  • Schlonzsko: Horní Slezsko, Oberschlesien, Górny Śląsk. Esej o regionie i jego mieszkańcach [Schlonzsko: Upper Silesia. An Essay on the Region and Its Inhabitants]. 2001. Elbląg, Poland: Elbląska Oficyna Wydawnicza, 108 pp. ISBN 83-913452-2-X.
  • Wydawnictwa na temat Unii Europejskiej i integracji europejskiej (informator bibliograficzny) [Publications on the European Union and European Integration (Bibliographical Guide)]. 1997. Opole, Poland: Pełnomocnik Wojewody Opolskiego do Spraw Integracji Europejskiej, 82 pp.


  • Central Europe in the Distorting Mirror of Maps, Languages and Ideas (pp 33–94). 2012. The Polish Review. No 1. New York: The Polish Institute of Arts & Science of America.
  • Classifying the Slavic Languages, or the Politics of Classification (pp 147–174). 2012. In: N Langer, S Davies and W Vandenbussche, eds. Language and History, Linguistics and Historiography: Interdisciplinary Approaches (Ser: Studies in Historical Linguistics, Vol 9). Oxford: Peter Lang.
  • Silesian in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: A Language Caught in the Net of Conflicting Nationalisms, Politics, and Identities (pp 769–789). 2011. Nationalities Papers. No 5.
  • Central European Castles in the Air? A Reflection on the Malleable Concepts of Central Europe (31 pp). 2011. Kakanien Revisited. Jul 1.
  • Language: Talking or Trading Blows in the Upper Silesian Industrial Basin? (pp 3–24). 2011. Multilingua. No 2. DOI 10.1515/mult.2011.002. [EFS ERIH Category B]
  • With A Roczniok 2011. Sztandaryzacyjo ślōnski godki / Standaryzacja języka śląskiego [The Standardization of the Silesian Language] (pp 288–294). In: I V Abisigomian, ed. Lingvokul’turnoe prostranstvo sovremennoi Evropy cherez prizmu malykh i bolshikh iazykov. K 70-letiiu professora Aleksandra Dimitrievicha Dulichenko (Ser: Slavica Tartuensis, Vol 9). Tartu: Tartu University.
  • Immigrants, Migrants or New Irish? (pp 247–264). 2011. In: Sabine Egger and John McDonagh, eds. Polish-Irish Encounters in the Old and New Europe (Ser: Reimagining Ireland, Vol 39). Oxford: Peter Lang.
  • The Twentieth Anniversary of the German-Polish Border Treaty of 1990: International Treaties and the Imagining of Poland’s Post-1945 Western Border. 2010 (pp 120–143). Journal of Borderlands Studies. No 3-4. Victoria BC, Canada: University of Victoria.
  • School History Atlases as an Instrument of Nation-State Making and Maintenance: A Remark on the Invisibility of Ideology in Popular Education (pp 113–138). 2010. Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society. No 1, Spring. DOI: 10.3167/jemms.2010.020107.
  • Codzienność komunikacyjno-językowa na obszarze historycznego Górnego Śląska [The Everyday Language Use in Historical Upper Silesia] (pp 126–156). 2009. In: Robert Traba de:Robert Traba, ed. Akulturacja/asymilacja na pograniczach kulturowych Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej w XIX i XX wieku [Acculturation/Assimilation in the Cultural Borderlands of East-Central Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries] (vol 1: Stereotypy i pamięć [Stereotypes and memory]). Warsaw: Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN and Niemiecki Instytut Historyczny.
  • Language in Central Europe’s History and Politics (7-25 pp.). 2009. Sprawy Narodowościowe. No. 34. Poznań & Warsaw, Poland: Zakład Badań Narodowościowych PAN. Available from:
  • Orwell w Opolu [Orwell in Opole: A Reflection on the Ideological Uses of Nationalism] (15 pp.). 2009. Silesia, Schlesien, Śląsk. Mülheim an der Ruhr. No. 32.
  • Czy śląszczyzna jest językiem? Spojrzenie socjolingwistyczne [Is Silesian a Language? A Sociolinguistic View] (pp. 27–35). In : Andrzej Roczniok, ed. 2009. Śląsko godka - jeszcze gwara czy jednak już język? / Ślōnsko godko – mundart jeszcze eli już jednak szpracha. Zabrze: NOŚ.
  • Fiololodzy – naukowcy czy może już politycy? [Philologists: Scholars or, Perhaps, Politicians?]. Review: D L Hoyt and K Oslund, eds. The Study of Language and the Politics of Community in Global Context (pp. 203–212). 2008. Sprawy Narodowościowe. No. 32. Poznań and Warsaw: Zakład Badań Narodowościowych PAN. Available from:
  • Poland: The Reluctant Shift from a Closed Ethno-linguistically Homogenous National Community to a Multicultural Open Society (pp. 1–25). 2008. In: Marushiakova, Elena, ed. Dynamics of National Identity and Transnational Identities in the Process of European Integration. Newcastle UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • The Isomorphism of Language, Nation, and State: The Case of Central Europe (pp. 57–92). In: W Burszta, T Kamusella, & S Wojciechowski, eds. 2006. Nationalisms Across the Globe: An Overview of Nationalisms of State-Endowed and Stateless Nations (Vol. 2: The World). Poznań, Poland: Wyższa Szkoła Nauk Humanistycznych i Dziennikarstwa.
  • Place-Names and Objectivity in Historiography: The Case of Silesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries (pp. 173–190). 2006. Godišnjak za sociologiju [Annual Review of Sociology].[12] No. 2. Niš, Serbia: Faculty of Philosophy, University of Niš.
  • Narodowość – de gustibus non est disputandum [Nationality: De Gustibus non est Disputandum] (pp. 43–78). In: Wojciech J Burszta, Krzysztof Jaskułowski and Joanna Nowak, eds. 2005. Narodowy wymiar kultury [The National Aspect of Culture]. (Ser: Kultura Na Pograniczach, Vol. I). Warsaw, Poland: Slawistyczny Ośrodek Wydawniczy.
  • Silesia: Doing it Our Way (8 pp.). 2005. Transitions on Line (TOL) . 10 Nov., Available from:
  • On the Similarity Between the Concepts of Nation and Language (pp. 107–112). 2004. Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism. Vol. 31. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada: University of Prince Edward Island.
  • The Szlonzokian Ethnolect in the Context of German and Polish Nationalisms (pp. 19–39). 2004. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism. No. 1. London: Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism.
  • Upper Silesia 1870-1920: Between Region, Religion, Nation and Ethnicity (pp. 443–462). 2004. East European Quarterly. No. 4, January. Boulder CO, US: University of Colorado
  • The Expulsion of the Population Categorized as ‘Germans’ from the post-1945 Poland (pp. 21–32, 93-94). In: Steffen Prauser and Arfon Rees, eds. 2004. The Expulsion of the ‘German’ Communities from Eastern Europe at the End of the Second World War. Florence, European University Institute: Working Papers Series of the Department of History and Civilization (HEC No 2004/01).
  • The Holy Roman Empire as a Model for Describing and Analyzing the Structure of the European Union? (pp. 13–23). In: Wojciech Łukowski, ed. 2004. Tożsamość regionów w Polsce w przestrzeni europejskiej. Katowice, Poland: Ruch Autonomii Slaska and The Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament.
  • Standaryzacja języka górnośląskiego i możliwe konsekwencje społeczne i polityczne (ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem Śląska Opolskiego) [Standardization of the Upper Silesian Language and the Possible Social and Political Consequences (Especially in Opole Silesia)] (pp. 113–132). Sprawy Narodowościowe. 2004. Nos. 23-24. Poznań, Poland: Zakład Badań Narodowościowych PAN. Available from:
  • Dual Citizenship in Opole Silesia in the Context of European Integration (pp. 699–716). 2003. Facta Universitatis (Ser: Philosophy, Sociology and Psychology). No. 10. Niš, Serbia and Montenegro: University of Niš.
  • Poland in 1945-1999: The Transition from the Soviet-Dominated Ethnic Nation-State to Democratic Civic Nation-State (35 pp.). 2003. Spaces of Identity. No. 4.
  • Kiedy Iran zostanie członkiem Unii Europejskiej? [When Will Iran Become a Member of the European Union?] (pp. 175–184). Sprawy Narodowościowe. 2003. No. 22. Poznań, Poland: Zakład Badań Narodowościowych PAN.
  • Polska państwem imigracyjnym? [Is Poland Already an Immigration State?] (pp. 31–54). In: Wojciech J. Burszta and Jacek Serwański, eds. 2003. Migracja – Europa – Polska. Poznań, Poland: Zakład badań Narodowościowych Polskiej Akademii Nauk and Instytut Nauk Politycznych i Dziennikarstwa, Uniwersytet im. A. Mickiewicza.
  • Language and the Construction of Identity in Upper Silesia During the Long Nineteenth Century (pp. 45–70). In: Kai Struve and Philipp Ther, eds. 2002. Die Grenzen der Nationen. Indentitätenwandel in Oberschlesien in der Neuzeit. Marburg, Germany: Herder-Institut. ISBN 3-87969-298-X.[13]
  • Nation-Building and the Linguistic Situation in Upper Silesia (pp. 37–63). 2002. European Review of History –Revue européenne d’histoire. No. 1. London: Routledge
  • Language as an Instrument of Nationalism in Central Europe (pp. 235–252). 2001. Nations and Nationalism. No. 2, Apr. London: Blackwell and Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism.
  • Nacjonalizm i jego badacze (z perspektywy anglosaskiej). Przegląd literatury [Nationalism and Its Students: A Bibliographical Essay (from the Anglo-Saxon Perspective)] (s. 121-146). 2001. Sprawy Narodowościowe. No. 19. Poznań, Poland: Zakład Badań Narodowościowych PAN.
  • Podstawowe parametry do konstrukcji historii regionu Śląsk Opolski [The Basic Parameters for the Construction of History of the Region of Opole Silesia] (pp. 10–24). 2001. Śląsk Opolski. No 3. Opole, Poland: Instytut Śląski.
  • Jakie wspólne wartości dla Unii Europejskiej? [What Common Values for the European Union?] (pp. 28–61). 2001. Sprawy Polityczne. Special issue: „Europe and Regions”. Elbląg, Poland: Elbląska Oficyna Wydawnicza.
  • Globalisation or Semi-Globalisation: A Communications View (pp. 64–68). 2000. Africa Insight. Nos. 3-4, Jan. Pretoria, South Africa: Africa Institute of South Africa.
  • Das oberschlesische Kreol: Sprache und Nationalismus in Oberschlesien im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert [The Upper Silesian Creole: Language and Nationalism in the 19th and 20th Centuries] (pp. 142–191). In: Markus Krzoska und Peter Tokarski, eds. 1998. Die Geschichte Polens und Deutschlands im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Ausgewählte Baiträge. Osnabrück, Germany: fibre.
  • The Upper Silesian’s Stereotypical Perception of the Poles and the Germans (pp. 395–410). 1999. East European Quarterly. No. 3. Boulder, CO, US: University of Colorado.
  • Ethnic Cleansing in Silesia 1950-89 and the Ennationalizing Policies of Poland and Germany (pp. 51–74). 1999. Patterns of Prejudice. No. 2. London: Sage and Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
  • Asserting Minority Rights in Poland (pp. 15–18). 1996. Transition. No. 9, Feb 9. Prague, Czech Republic: Open Media Research Institute.


External links[edit]