Third-year of study B.A. proseminars (3BA 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 third 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 third 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 two years earlier, that is in 2021.

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 Linguistics: Theories, Interfaces, Technologies — ELTIT

The programmes in English-Celtic Philology (Filologia angielsko-celtycka), English and Chinese Studies (Filologia angielsko-chińska), English Studies: Literature and Culture, and Dutch Studies (Studia niderlandystyczne) are not covered by this list.

History and Culture of African Americans Through Music

Stan L. Breckenridge, Ph.D.

Target programmes: FA, ELTIT

Today, a number of scholars often ponder whether African American culture would have been more exuberant if a majority of Africans had journeyed to the New World on their own accord. Similarly, some postulate that were it not for the hideous conditions that Africans faced during their forced migration to the New World as slaves, themes of perseverance, persistence, resilience, and even salvation would not be ever-so-present in African American literary and artist works? Moreover, would America be the birthplace of such widely known music styles such as spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, funk, disco, hip-hop, neo-soul, and others were it not for slave-ocracy? Though these inquiries may never be fully verified, we can, however, investigate the development and plight of African Americans by investigating their history and culture within the greater context of American society. To achieve such understanding, this course uses African American music to contextualize the complexities of African American Identity, and to reveal important aspects of its significance to American Studies.

Some Basics for Creative Writing

mgr John Casale

Target programmes: FA, FAC, ELTIT

Discover the thematic attics and imaginative corridors of creativity through an introductory course on creative writing. The course explores basic structures underlying a variety of written works, helping students develop and hone techniques for creative expression. The objective: the production of creative texts. It’s an opportunity for artistic output that is not too academic (thank goodness), not necessarily linguistic (thank someone), and not too theoretical (thank your mama). Areas of exploration include narrative arcs, linearity and non-linearity, character interiority and exteriority, and adaptive settings and genres, all allowing students to discover and produce their own creative texts through drafting. We’ll see where the words carry us…

What’s so special about specialized translation?

dr Magdalena Perdek

Target programmes: FA, ELTIT

The overarching question of this proseminar is: What constitutes specialized translation? The operative word here is “specialized”. While some scholars distinguish between specialized (i.e., field-specific – medical, legal, technical, scientific, business etc.) and non-specialized translation (sometimes referred to as “general”), one might wonder whether such distinction makes sense. After all, (very) special skills are needed to translate all types of texts: a clinical report on the treatment of hepatoblastoma, legal opinion of promissory estoppel or 50-page contract on power distribution, specifications of a new AI-supported app, marketing tag lines, but also politicians’ mumbo jumbo, tourist brochures, Mickiewicz’s alexandrine in Pan Tadeusz, (more or less sophisticated) jokes in The Office or Abbott Elementary, raunchy dialogues or descriptions in Fifty Shades of Gray, politically incorrect wisecracks of stand-up comedians, or the intricate language of Olga Tokarczuk’s novels.

At this seminar we will look at samples of Polish and English texts from different fields and genres and will assess their “specialization”. We will discuss different approaches, strategies and skills necessary to successfully transfer the intended meaning of the original texts.

Credits will be given based on participation in class discussions, critical reading of the assigned material, occasional quizzes, and a short presentation on translating a selected text type.

Notice: To participate in this proseminar you need to speak Polish at C1-C2 level.


Baker, Mona and Gabriella Saldanha (eds.). 2020. The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. 3rd edition.
Harding, Sue-Ann and Ovidi Varboneli Cortes (eds.). 2018. The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Culture.
Millan, Carmen and Francesca Bartrina (eds.). 2013. The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies.

Indigeneity and diaspora: Literary voices of contemporary Canada

Prof. UAM dr hab. Agnieszka Rzepa

Target programmes: FA, ELTIT

Contemporary Canada is a former settler colony, inhabited now by a richly diversified population that includes Indigenous peoples of the region (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) and various diasporas, i.e., groups of people who have arrived in Canada from other parts of the world. The proseminar will focus on the diversity of literary voices in contemporary Canadian literature in English: voices that reflect particular ethnic traditions and histories they are rooted in, but also realities of life in Canada. Special focus will fall on prose texts, written in different forms, styles and genres, including emphasis on the different ways in which Indigenous and diasporic writers have been using autobiography, biography and other life-writing genres in their fiction writing, and the ways in which they have fictionalised auto/biographical texts.

Religion(s) in British and American Culture

dr Tomasz Skirecki

Target programmes: FA, ELTIT

This seminar examines the role of religion and religious diversity in the history and present of the British Isles and the United States. More specifically, it seeks to assess the impact of Christian and non-Christian religions on the symbolic, institutional, political and social contexts of British and American cultures. The first part of the course will focus on the historical development of religions in the British Isles, in particular, the uniqueness of the English and Scottish Reformation and the resulting multiple Protestant movements that have influenced the cultural and national identities of different communities. Specific topics will include the established Churches of England and Scotland, the role of religious divisions in (Northern) Ireland, Nonconformism and contemporary non-Christian communities. The second part will look at the place of religion in American culture, covering topics such as the Puritan heritage, megachurches, televangelism, and the diverse (and controversial) religious groups and movements founded in the United States. The role of religion in American public life and politics will be thoroughly and critically examined. Seminar participants are expected to have a keen interest in British and American history and culture, as well as current affairs in the UK and the USA.

Biological and evolutionary roots of language

dr Joanna Śmiecińska

Target programmes: FA, ELTIT

The question about the origin of language has earned a lot of attention from scholars throughout  human history. Although it still has not been answered unanimously, the advent of discoveries in biology and evolutionary genetics offers new ways of tackling the old question. In the seminar we will look at language from an evolutionary and biological perspective. You will get acquainted with basic facts concerning the theory of evolution and  various approaches to the origins of language. We will also discuss aspects of neurolinguistics and speech development, so as to better understand what the biological and evolutionary roots of language might be. During the pro-seminar, you will be asked to read and watch scientific materials, prepare a presentation and actively participate in discussions. Credit will be awarded on the basis of your preparation for the classes, and the quality of your presentations.

Fitch, T. 2010. The evolution of language, CUP.
Glezerman, T. and V. Balkoski.1999. Language, Thought and the Brain. New York: Kluwer Academic.
Hauser, Marc D., Noam Chomsky, W. Tecumseh Fitch (2002). `The Faculty of Language: What Is It, Who Has It, and How Did It Evolve?' Science 298:1569-1579
Hoff, Erika and Marilyn Shatz (eds.), 2007. Blackwell Handbook of Language Development (Blackwell Handbooks of Developmental Psychology).
Foley, W. 1997. Anthropological Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kirby, S., T. Griffiths, and K. Smith. 2014. ”Iterated learning and the evolution of language”, Current opinion in neurobiology, 28. 108-114.
Pääbo S. 2022. “The Neanderthal Genome and the Evolution of Modern Humans”. Nobel Prize lecture.

Dialogicality as a dimension of human communication

Prof. UAM dr hab. Elżbieta Wąsik

Target programmes: FA, ELTIT

The course will focus on the dialogical nature of human intrapersonal and interpersonal communication. Assuming the viewpoints of cognitive sciences and semiotic phenomenology, it will introduce the general notion of dialogicality as one of the basic human features, which is relevant especially for therapists, clinical psychologists, brain researchers, literary scientists, and semioticians of art. During our classes, we will pay attention to the multiplicity of internal voices of the human self, continuously talking with each other, anticipating even the responses to possible questions, states of affairs, and requirements of the situation, and, as such, forming a dynamic mental structure. In the next instance, we will ponder upon how this internal structure of the communicating self, with its individual and social aspects, determines its encounters with others. Applying the perspective of the so-called transcendental dialogism, the participants of the course will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with such notions, as transcendence, interaction, responsiveness, interchangeability of sender-and-receiver, and author-and-addressee roles.

Students should take an active part in the seminars. They are expected to prepare individual presentations of selected topics using the literature on the subject advised by the teacher. Regular attendance in the classes is obligatory.

Historical news discourse as source of fake news and representations

Prof. UAM dr hab. Matylda Włodarczyk

Target programmes: FA, ELTIT

The proseminar aims to develop an understanding of discourse structures and language devices used in the processes of opinion making (e.g. presentation of fake news) that characterise both historical and contemporary media. This involves issues of reliability of contents and representations created by periodical press from the 18th century onwards. The course introduces (socio)pragmatic approaches to historical news discourse, focusing on social identities, gender, culture, distribution of power, marginalised groups, etc. Specific genres of news to be covered include, among others, classified and commercial advertising, letters to the editor, crime reports. A transnational perspective on news circulation is adopted allowing for comparisons across Polish and English historical news.

Students will be responsible for the reading assigned for a given class and will be evaluated on the basis of oral and online written assignments. Following the introductory part of the course, the students will be asked to prepare individual (or group) presentations on a selected topic.