Kate Korycki


Assistant Professor 

Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies & Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Office: Lawson Hall 3235

Brief Bio

Kate is a comparative political sociologist interested in collective memories and group imaginaries. Focusing on the meaning and productivity of stories, Kate tracks how narratives of the past are creatively manipulated, how they constitute collective imaginaries, and how those imaginaries structure and justify stratified subject positions in the present. Her research concerns the processes by which group or national identities are imagined and reimagined, and how they implicate gender, race and class in the creation of powerful, benefiting yet oblivious majorities. In Kate’s research, collective remembering is as much a tool of oppression as liberation.

Having spent half her life in communist Poland, Kate came to Canada at 18. Shortly after arrival, she joined the Canadian public service. Her last posting took her to Northern Ontario where she was responsible for the outreach and the delivery of the Common Experience Payment - a troubled gesture of reconciliation between Indigenous victims of Residential Schools and the Canadian state.

Research Interests

Identity politics; collective memory (and amnesia); critical theory, critical race theory & critical whiteness theory; structural intersections of gender, race and class; French post-structuralism; anti-communism and neo-liberalism.

Specific Research Projects

Kate’s first (forthcoming) book explores how collective remembering of communism is implicated in the formation of modern anti-Semitism in Poland. Her next major projects concentrate on Canada. They mean to identity what kind of majority is being imagined in a) speeches of political leaders and b) school history textbooks. Kate aims to track the meaning and shape of the emergent majority, and she plans to identify the specific discursive mechanisms that allow that majority to stay unaware (“innocent”) of structures of oppression within which it operates and from which it benefits. The study weaves together collective memory, critical whiteness and nationalism studies; and it responds to the calls of Indigenous and race-scholars and activists who seek racial justice, reconciliation and decolonization, and who maintain that none of these goals are possible without critical involvement and examination of whiteness and its connection to national imaginary.


WS2263 Intersections: Race, Class and Gender/Sexuality; WS3333 Homophobia & Resistance Across the Globe; WS3316 Women and Other Deviants under Communism and Capitalism; WS9500 Memory, Identity & Race; WS9459 Professional Development.

Selected Publications

Publications (Forthcoming & In Preparation)

Jews, Poles & Communists in the 21st Century: Memory as Politics. Theoretically, the book explores why and how elites politicize the past and how they affect party politics and national belonging. Empirically, it traces how stories of the past are used to create exclusionary societies in the present. (Manuscript under review with Berghahn Books.)

Secrets in a Museum. The book examines how major national Holocaust museums in France, Germany, Poland and the US, weave the story of their nation by telling stories of Jewish suffering. (Manuscript in preparation.)

“Imagining Nations as Racial, through Stories: Canada’s uneasy dance with multiculturalism and reconciliation.” (Article in preparation.)

“Politicized Past Constraining Progressive Imaginaries: the case of Northern Ireland, South Africa and Poland.” (Article in preparation.)

“De-commemoration as healing and conflict: Canada and its colonial past and present." In Sarah Gensburger & Jenny Wüstenberg’s (eds.) (De)Commemoration: Making sense of contemporary calls for tearing down statues and renaming places. Berghahn Books (Book chapter accepted).

“Political Parties as Agents of Memory,” In Jenny Wüstenberg and Yiffat Gutman’s (eds.) Memory Activism Handbook, Rutledge (Book chapter accepted).

Publications (Popular Media)

“Polish Women Reject the Catholic Church’s hold on their country.” The Conversation. November 17, 2020. https://theconversation.com/polish-women-reject-the-catholic-churchs-hold-on-their-country-149609

Publications (Peer-Reviewed & In Print)

“Memory, Identity, Tourism and Photography - Kate Korycki reviews David Walkowitz’s Remembered and Forgotten Jewish World, and Jonathan Webber’s Rediscovering Traces of Memory, with photographs by Chris Schwarz and Jason Francisco.” The Polish Review, Vol. 65. No. 3, 2020. https://doi.org/10.5406/polishreview.65.3.0073

“African American Philosophers and Philosophy: an Introduction to the history, concepts, and contemporary issues, by John McLendon III and Stephen C. Ferguson II, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 43, issue 13, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2019.170784

“Politicized Memory in Poland: Anti-communism and the Holocaust.” Holocaust Studies, 25:3, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/17504902.2019.1567669

“Out of Gay and into Class Closet - On Politics of Identity and Reflexive Sociology in Didier Eribon and Édouard Louis - Conversation between Kate Korycki and Anna Zawadzka.” Studia Literaria et Historica, No 7, 2018. (Open Access: https://ispan.waw.pl/journals/index.php/slh/article/view/slh.1746/4692

“Memory and Politics in Post-Transition Space: the Case of Poland.” East European Politics and Societies, and Cultures. Vol. 31, Issue 3, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888325417700263 

“To Kill the Indian in a Child,” on Cultural Genocide and Transitional Justice in Canada: Interview with Kate Korycki.” Studia Literaria et Historica, No. 5, 2016. (Open Access: https://ispan.waw.pl/journals/index.php/slh/article/view/slh.2016.006/2579)

“Desire Recast: Production of Gay Identity in Iran” (with Abouzar Nasirzadeh). Journal of Gender Studies. Vol. 25, Issue 1, 2016.

“Homophobia as a tool of Statecraft: Iran and its Queers” (with Abouzar Nasirzadeh). In Meredith L. Weiss and Michael J. Bosia (eds.) Global Homophobias: States, Movements, and the Politics of Oppression. University of Illinois Press, 2013.