Second-year of study B.A. proseminars (2BA PRO) for winter term 2023–2024 (Full-time programmes)

What is this list?

This is a list of proseminars we intend to launch in the winter term (October–February) in some of our full-time B.A. programmes whose second year of study is the academic year 2023–2024. This list is intended for:

  1. Students at the Faculty of English who are about to enter the second year of their full-time B.A. programme: this is your reference point before your enrolment into proseminars;
  2. Candidates for our full-time programmes: this list gives you a snapshot of what proseminars were on offer for the study cycle that started a year earlier, that is in 2022.

How to navigate the list?

The list is sorted by name of the teacher. The format is the following: title of the proseminar, the name of the teacher, information on which programme(s) the proseminar is for, and the description of the proseminar.

Which proseminar is for whom?

The programmes in the list and their abbrieviations are:

  • English Philology (Filologia angielska) — FA
  • English-Celtic Philology (Filologia angielsko-celtycka) — FAC
  • English Studies: Literature and Culture — ESLC

The programmes in English and Chinese Studies (Filologia angielsko-chińska) and Dutch Studies (Studia niderlandystyczne) are not covered by this list.

Note: the programme in English Linguistics: Theories, Interfaces, Technologies (ELTIT) will only have 2BA proseminars in the summer term, but there are no 2BA proseminars for ELTIT in the winter term.

The language of inclusion and exclusion – an introduction to Critical Discourse Studies

dr Samuel Bennett

Target programme: ESLC
Note: when selecting this proseminar ESLC students cannot select the ESLC proseminar by dr Kornelia Boczkowska at the same time

You have probably all seen hate speech language on TikTok, Facebook or IG, or seen it on the news, you have perhaps even experienced it yourself.

This pro-seminar is aimed at students who are interested in how language is used (and abused) in politics, society, the media and in our own private interactions.

It introduces students the field of Critical Discourse Studies. We start from a view that there is a relationship between language and society - each impacts upon the other – and that language use cannot be understood without looking at social inequalities (power inequalities, gender relations, race, class, etc.)

Students taking this pro-seminar will look at the relationship between language and inequalities and their consequences, including:

  • How people are constructed negatively or positively through language
  • How social media shapes current public debates and communication
  • How we justify and legitimise our arguments
  • Whose voices are heard, whose are silenced and how this can be challenged

During the course we delve into current issues in the UK, the US, Poland and the wider world, including: National identity, migration, climate change, the rise of the far-right, and LGBTQ rights.

Current trends in American experimental film

dr Kornelia Boczkowska

Target programme: ESLC
Note: when selecting this proseminar ESLC students cannot select the ESLC proseminar by dr Samuel Bennett at the same time

Produced outside of the major commercial studios due to their lower budgets and non-commercial motivations and values, experimental film and video are recognized as a distinctive mode of filmmaking and art practice, which re-evaluates cinematic conventions and challenges dominant ideologies, continuously breaking the taboos and censorship of mainstream film culture. Known for their short non-narrative format, a personal mode and a strong articulation of auteurism, experimental films are extremely diverse in terms of filmmaking styles, representation and spectatorship. While addressing questions of time and space, landscape and movement, the body and the senses, race, gender and identity or the mechanics and materiality of the film medium, many experimental films provide an alternative, unconventional viewing experience through their creative use of mise-en-scène, editing and montage.

In this course, we will discuss both critically acclaimed and some lesser known or rarely screened experimental films produced in traditional, digital and new (hybrid) media formats with a special focus on the post-1980s American avant-garde film scene. Along the way, we will examine the current trends in contemporary experimental filmmaking, ranging from trash films (Casandra Stark, Nick Zedd), feminist films (Chantal Akerman, Gunvor Nelson, Joyce Wieland), found footage films (Craig Baldwin, Bill Morrison) and avant-docs (Lynne Sachs, Kamila Kuc, Godfrey Reggio) to queer cinema (Barbara Hammer, George & Mike Kuchar), Black and Afro-American cinema (Kevin Jerome Everson, Everlane Moraes, Toney Merritt), slow cinema (Peter Hutton, Sharon Lockhart), ecocinema (James Benning, Charlotte Pryce, Fern Silva), handmade and animated films (Meghana Bisineer, Lawrence Jordan) and (multichannel) film installations (Allison Leigh Holt).

Canadian Women Writers

Prof. UAM dr hab. Dagmara Drewniak

Target programme: ESLC
Note: when selecting this proseminar ESLC students cannot select the ESLC proseminar by dr Beniamin Kłaniecki at the same time
Please note the list contains the description of yet another proseminar by prof. Dagmara Drewniak, one for FA, FAC, and ELTIT; please try not to confuse the two

This course will be devoted to the study and discussion of a selection of literary texts written by the most important women writers in Canada in a chronological order. The course comprises short stories, poetry, and novels (or excerpts from them), the study of which is supposed to broaden your knowledge of the history of literature of English speaking countries. We will look at Canadian literature from the feminine and feminist perspectives in order to trace the impact women writers have had on CanLit since its early colonial stages. No prior knowledge of Canadian literature is required as we will at times refer to the students’ awareness of English literature and try to discover something new to ourselves. The basis for the class organization will be involved and stimulating discussions so all students passionate about literature are warmly invited to this proseminar.

Credits will be given on the basis of active participation in class, preparing the author’s bios and a final test written at the end of the course.

Hybridity in Contemporary Anglophone Literatures

Prof. UAM dr hab. Dagmara Drewniak

Target programmes: FA, FAC
Please note the list contains the description of yet another proseminar by prof. Dagmara Drewniak, one for ESLC; please try not to confuse the two

“Hybridity is a sign of (…) productivity” claims the famous theoretician of culture Homi K. Bhabha. Therefore, this proseminar will be devoted to the discussion of multifarious manifestations of hybridity and otherness in the British, US, Canadian and other Anglophone literatures. The study of contemporary literary texts and theory (on the basis of carefully selected texts e.g. by John Barth, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith and Michael Ondaatje to name only a few) is aimed at giving students interested in the field of literary and cultural studies a possibility to supplement and broaden their knowledge. A range of topics is going to be taken into consideration and reflected in the selected texts and in-class discussions, among them: hybridization, otherness, diaspora, feminism, multiculturalism, postmodernism and postcolonialism. The majority of in-class discussions will be based on a thorough reading of a selection of texts, mainly short stories (but not only). Thus, critical reading of all assigned texts is obligatory and credits will be given on the basis of students’ active participation, attendance and presentations, as well as the results of the final test.

Second language acquisition and bilingualism

prof. UAM dr hab. Anna Ewert

Target programmes: FA, FAC

The course will focus on selected topics in second language acquisition and bilingualism research, providing a gentle introduction to research methods and encouraging a critical approach.

We will start by defining the basic terms, with a focus on who is bilingual or multilingual. This will be followed by a brief discussion of factors affecting bilingual development and a hands-on survey of instruments used to assess bilingual proficiency. In the next part of the course, we will focus on an overview of major theoretical positions on how people learn, how languages are acquired and how the two languages of a bilingual function in a single mind. Finally, we will focus on the multilingual mind and how it processes the two languages, examining available evidence from empirical research, designing our own mini-experiments and analysing the results.

During the course, in addition to reading and discussing empirical research, the participants will carry out their own mini-projects to examine empirically various aspects of the bilingual experience and get a feel of conducting different types of empirical research.

Course credit requirements include critical reading of published research and participation in class discussions, project work and a short end of the semester quiz.

How to analyse multimodal communication?

Prof. UAM dr hab. Małgorzata Fabiszak

Target programmes: FA, FAC

Linguists have analysed verbal communication in much detail and have developed reliable methods of doing so. But communication goes beyond the verbal layer and includes other semiotic modes: the visual, the audio, the tactile. The social semiotic approach which we will follow here, sees human communication as a process of producing and interpreting signs in context. The impression that a given website, advertisement or music video creates is a result of the combined effect of words, colours, spatial arrangement and many other factors. In this proseminar we will learn how to analyse these patterns of meaning making. This will help us understand how certain elements contribute to communicating abstract ideas and values as well as how they engage the recipients. To receive credit for the course students are required to (1) read and understand the assigned texts (about 20 pages per week); (2) participate in the class discussion; (3) participate in the team task during the classes; (4) make a presentation on the basis of assigned reading; (5) make a presentation of their own mini research project.

Studying the media: Theories and their applications

Prof. UAM dr hab. Janusz Kaźmierczak

Target programme: ESLC
Note: when selecting this proseminar ESLC students cannot select the ESLC proseminar by dr Urszula Kizelbach at the same time

We live in a mediatized world. It is hoped that a seminar introducing students to various ways of analysing media (including literature conveyed through traditional or digital media) will help them better to use the media, and, especially, to develop a critical attitude towards them. During the first part of the course the participants will discuss a number of theoretical approaches to media analysis, as well as acquaint themselves with examples of practical applications of these theories to media analysis. In the second part of the course the students will have a chance to present their own analyses of selected media, using elements of the discussed theories. Assessment will be based on continuous evaluation, student presentations, and a final test.

British Literary Studies: Ian McEwan

dr Urszula Kizelbach

Target programmes: ESLC, FA, FAC
Note: when selecting this proseminar ESLC students cannot select the ESLC proseminar by prof. Janusz Kaźmierczak at the same time; this exclusion is of no concern to FA or FAC students

This proseminar aims to acquaint students with the works of fiction representing the critical stages of Ian McEwan’s development as an author. McEwan is a realist writer who is known for engaging his readers in ethical and social debates as in The Children Act (2014), which makes us ponder on Fiona May’s moral dilemmas as an impartial High Court Judge in the Family Division, or in Saturday (2005), which invites us to step into the shoes of Henry Perowne, a successful neurosurgeon, who one day realises how fragile his happiness is. McEwan is a complex and controversial author – his debut in the late 1970s (his first two novels) earned him the nickname ‘Ian Macabre’. He is both loved and hated by critics, and much as the reviews of his novels may have been ‘laudatory’ or ‘unfavourable’, they have never been ‘neglectful’ (Dobrogoszcz 2019: 3). This course is designed to analyse McEwan’s writing style and the modes of readers’ engagement in fiction. Above all, the aim is to engage its participants in debates concerning current social/political/ethical issues, e.g. Brexit, climate change, sensationalism in the media, or ethical problems in the modern world.

Dobrogoszcz, Tomasz. 2019. Family and Relationships in Ian McEwan’s Fiction. Lexington Books.

“Literature that provides shelter”: A brief introduction to post-millennial Indian fiction in English

dr Beniamin Kłaniecki

Target programme: ESLC
Note: when selecting this proseminar ESLC students cannot select the ESLC proseminar by prof. Dagmara Drewniak at the same time

“We need to remind ourselves that individuals don’t matter; it is the cause that makes sense and needs support. The new Indian quest has begun. It is to be rich, and also to be good” (2012: 10).1 It is with these words that, India’s bestselling author Chetan Bhagat concludes an essay from the collection What Young India Wants. In this proseminar, we will put that claim to the question by looking at both international and domestic examples of post-millennial Indian fiction in English which spotlight the individual and invidual lifestories. Those stories often belong, among others, to women, queer people, representative of lower classes and castes, and (accidental) political dissidents; they speak of injustice but also of the power of vulnerability and literature as a drive for social change. As part of the course, the students will be introduced to the cultural context of post-liberalisation India and will have a chance to interact with authors and scholars of post-millennial Indian fiction in English both online and in person. Assessment will be based on active participation and submission of a short review of a selected work from the reading list.

1 Bhagat, Chetan. 2012. What Young India Wants. New Delhi: Rupa.

Gens, natio, lingua: Language and identity in Mediæval England

Prof. UAM dr hab. Marcin Krygier

Target programmes: FA, FAC

The history of (the) English after 1066 is usually viewed monochromatically, as a conflict between the subjugated Anglo-Saxons and the ruling Normans, a story of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic colonisation and resistance. Linguistically, the dominant narrative discusses two centuries of Norman French as the dominant language followed by the re-emergence of English as the official language of the country towards the end of the 14th century. From the ethnic perspective it is a history of Robin Hoods and their merry men in tights fighting bravely against Sheriffs of Nottingham and Guys de Gisborne, leading to a symbolic unification of the two nations during the wedding night of Robin and Maid Marion. Culturally, it is all about Geoffrey Chaucer, that Father of the English Literature, and his ground-breaking decision to switch from French to English in his poetic endeavours. In other words, it is all a pack of Victorian lies.

Translation of the description

In this seminar we will discuss the complex web of local, national, European, linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and religious loyalties responsible for the Weltanschauung of Mediæval England between 1066–1400. We will try to understand what concepts such as NATION and ETHNICITY meant for the people of the period, how they interacted in everyday life, and how they were manifested through language, politics, and literature.


Feline-unfriendly curiosity.


No idea, really. We will find out. Or not. (Yes, seriously. If you want to know what this means, sign up for the proseminar.)

Other information

Cookies not included. Occassional doggos may appear depending on weather and mood.

Selected literature (do not panic, I had to put something here)

Anderson, B. R. O. G. (2006). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism.
Bartlett, R. (1993). The making of Europe: Conquest, colonization, and cultural change, 950-1350.
Clanchy, M. T. (1979). From memory to written record: England, 1066-1307.
Fought, C. (2006). Language and ethnicity.
Geary, P. J. (2002). The myth of nations: The medieval origins of Europe.
Heng, Geraldine. (2018). The invention of race in the European Middle Ages.
Lavezzo, K. (2004). Imagining a medieval English nation.
Ruddick, A. (2013). English identity and political culture in the fourteenth century.
Smith, Anthony D. (2000). The nation in history. Historiographical debates about ethnicity and nationalism.
Smyth, A. P. (1998). Medieval Europeans: Studies in ethnic identity and national perspectives in Medieval Europe.
Thomas, Hugh M. (2003). The English and the Normans: Ethnic hostility, assimilation, and identity 1066-c.1200.

Interpersonal communication in human relations and social groups

Prof. UAM dr hab. Elżbieta Wąsik

Target programmes: FA, FAC

The course is addressed to those students who would like to broaden their knowledge about interpersonal communication to better understand the behavior of the self and others in situations of everyday life. Therefore, we will focus, on the one hand, on the formation of sublanguages depending on the individual needs of members of social and cultural groups as well as environmental requirements. On the other hand, we will ponder upon communicative linkages, social groups, and discursive communities at different levels of social life.

Being familiarized with the main concepts of communication studies, we will discuss the following topics: (1) models, forms, and styles of communication, (2) self-concept and intrapersonal awareness, (3) effective communication, (4) self-disclosure and interpersonal credibility, (5) interpersonal attraction and attractiveness, (6) distance and proximity, (7) homophily and heterophily, (8) the metacommunicational nature of kinesics, (9) proxemics, territoriality, and tactile communication, and (10) expressing and modifying meaning through paralanguage. Against the background of these communication-related issues, our classes will stress the significance of communicative interactions and transactions, goal sharing, social control and group pressure, inclusion, affection, etc., for the course of communication in groups and group dynamics.

Students are expected to prepare individual presentations of selected topics using the literature on the subject advised by the teacher.