Ukrainian Studies at the Jagiellonian University

Ukrainian studies have long been a subject of interest among Cracow academic community. The first scholar to undertake systematic research in this field was the father of Slavonic studies in Kraków, Lucjan Malinowski, who in the academic year 1886/1887 taught a course in comparative grammar of Russian and Ukrainian languages. In the years to follow, Ukrainian studies were pursued and taught by a number of scholars, including Józef Tretiak, Marian Zdziechowski, Tadeusz Stanisław Grabowski, Józef Gołąbek, Kyryło Studynśkyj, and Bohdan Łepki.

The revival of Polish statehood in 1918 opened new opportunities for the development of the discipline at the Jagiellonian University. The School of Slavonic Studies created at the Jagiellonian University in 1925 included, inter alia, the Chair in Ruthenian Languages, headed by an eminent linguist, Iwan Ziłyński. A remarkable breakthrough came thanks to one of the greatest Polish scholars specializing in Slavonic studies, Tadeusz Lehr-Spławiński, who organized a team of researchers in the field of Slavonic studies. After the Second World War his efforts were continued by Professor Jan Janów, who was the head of the Ruthenian Languages Seminar, later transformed into the Department of Eastern Slavonic Languages. A number of his disciples specialized in Ukrainian studies. One of them, Wiesław Witkowski, is famous for his publications in the area of Ukranian studies, especially on lexicography and historical lexicography. Another notable scholar was Professor Ryszard Łużny, an expert in Eastern Slavonic literature.

In 1990 the first classes in Ukrainian Studies were organized by a group of JU linguists and literary historians. Soon the Department of Ukrainian Literature was established.

1991 was the year when the first entry exams for the programme: Ukrainian studies took place, whereas in 1994 the Chair in Ukrainian Studies was established by the decision of the Rector of the Jagiellonian University. Prof. dr hab. Wiesław Witkowski became the head of the newly founded unit.

Since the very beginning, the Ukrainian studies were taught with the help of Ukrainian staff. The programme attracts students from different regions of Poland. The Chair's staff have produced numerous academic publications and translations of Ukrainian literature. The Chair has its own book and video collection, and the books on Ukrainian studies make up a large part of the library collection of the Institute of Eastern Slavonic Studies.