Václav Zheng

I am a historical theorist and a cultural historian of East-Central Europe. On the theory side, I engage with current debates in the philosophy of historiography and critique historical practice with a new postnarrativist approach, that is, to regard history as argumentative literature about the past. Currently, I am preparing an article that explicates the argumentative-tropological nature of colligatory concepts (such as “renaissance”) in contemporary historiography, and another one to expound the structure of triple temporality in history writing. 

My prospective dissertation, tentatively titled “Dereifying Zamość: Polish Mentality and Life Experience at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century,” examines the urban experience of living in the “ideal” town Zamość (f.1580) and explores the collective mentality of Polish intellectuals at the heyday of the Polish Renaissance. I ask why this town was so successfully realized, vitalized and epitomized in Polish history and how we can understand the glorification of Zamość beyond bricks and walls. 

Meanwhile, I am working on a family history project that unearths a “picohistory” of Sino-Ukrainian comradeship in Soviet Kharkiv. In my free time, I enjoy reading modern West Slavic literature.

Main Advisor: Professor Maciejko