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Poles In Illinois

"Illinois boasts one of the most visible concentrations of Poles in the United States," SIU Press notes. "Chicago is home to one of the largest Polish ethnic communities outside Poland itself.

"Yet no one has told the full story of our state's large and varied Polish community - until now. Poles in Illinois is the first comprehensive history to trace the abundance and diversity of this ethnic group throughout the state from the 1800s to the present."


"Authors John Radzilowski and Ann Hetzel Gunkel look at family life among Polish immigrants, their role in the economic development of the state, the working conditions they experienced, and the development of their labor activism.

"Close-knit Polish American communities were often centered on parish churches but also focused on fraternal and social groups and cultural organizations.

"Polish Americans, including waves of political refugees during World War II and the Cold War, helped shape the history and culture of not only Chicago, the 'capital' of Polish America, but also the rest of Illinois with their music, theater, literature, food."


Everyday Poles
"Associate Professor Ann Hetzel Gunkel was honored when she was approached by Dr. Jeff Hancks, Series Editor of the Peoples of Illinois Series at SIU Press to write a book. Gunkel and co-author John Radzilowski were dedicated to telling the stories of 'ordinary' Polish Americans, those who are not usually the subject of history books," Columbia College Chicago says.

"Poles in Illinois 'focuses on lived experiences of Polish Americans rather than historiographic interpretations of Polish American history.'

"Coming from a Polish American family in Chicago, Gunkel started with a personal understanding of various immigrant cohorts in Polonia (Polish American society). Gunkel's studied Polish language and culture at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and has taught as a Visiting Fulbright Professor at the Jagiellonian's Institute for American Studies and Polish Diaspora. Today, in addition to Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Gunkel works in the field of Polish American Studies and Ethnic Studies."


Comments welcome.


Posted on March 21, 2020

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