Jacob Mikanowski - Goodbye, Eastern Europe: An Intimate History Of A Divided Land

Franke Institute for the Humanities, 1100 E. 57th St., Room S102

Goodbye Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land tells a story of a region long derided as the “Other Europe.” It is a new history of Eastern Europe, covering all countries between Germany and Russia, from Estonia in the north to Albania in the south, starting in the first millennium A.D. and running to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Drawing on travel, literature, archival research, and Mikanowski’s family story, Goodbye Eastern Europe describes the life and times of a place riven by multiple borders – of religion, empire, class, and ideology – which combined to make it unlike anywhere else. It narrates Eastern Europe’s tumultuous path through the 20th century, with the highs and lows of national independence, world war, Stalinism, socialism and finally, a return to freedom. This long passage, sometimes comic, but usually tragic, which began in 1914, brings us to the present with the region again a flashpoint for global conflict.

Jacob Mikanowski is a historian and journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He completed his doctoral work in Polish history at the University of California, Berkeley, and has since covered Eastern European politics and culture for Harper’s, The Guardian, The New York Times and others. Goodbye, Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land is his first book.

Mikanowski will be joined in conversation with PhD student Julia Kulon of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event, with help from the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore.

This event is presented by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures in partnership with the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES) and the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies. Special thanks to the generous support of the Maria Kuncewicz Fund for the Study of Polish Literature.