Beth Holmgren
Professor of Polish and Russian Studies

Beth Holmgren, Professor of Polish Studies and Russian Studies, has published widely on Polish literature, theater, popular culture, and film; Russian literature, film, and women's studies; and Russian and Polish artists and performers in the North American diaspora. Her scholarship and work in the field have won multiple national awards. Recent scholarship focuses on Polish Jewish cultural history of the interwar period, Polish film from the 1930s until the current day, and 21st-century Polish reportage (often translated as literary journalism). Her book Warsaw is My Country (2018), which is a cultural biography of Krystyna Bierzynska, an acculturated Jewish Varsovian who served as a 16-year-old orderly in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, was based in large part on her interviews with her subject.  Holmgren's most recent book, co-authored with Professor Helena Goscilo (The Ohio State University), is Polish Cinema Today: A Bold New Era in Film  (August 2021), which explores the reflorescence and great thematic diversification of Polish film in this century. Contextualizing and analyzing scores of Polish films on themes ranging from representations of the Catholic Church's influence and prewar/wartime/postwar Jewish-gentile relations to the experience of migrant Poles and portraits of queer identity, Polish Cinema Today  provides a smart introduction to general film scholars and students as well as cinephiles.

In addition to her continuing work on sundry editorial boards of book series and journals, Holmgren served as President of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in 2008 (the largest organization in the Slavic field outside the region itself), during which period she helped oversee the Association's move to a new, financially less exorbitant location and the hiring of several new staff members. Holmgren served as President of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies for the 2003-2005 term; AWSS has been a major resource for female scholar/teachers' career development, access to publication venues, and celebrating women's achievement. At Duke, Holmgren is proud to hold secondary appointments in Theater Studies and Gender/Sexuality/Feminist Studies, and to serve as a core faculty member for Jewish Studies.  For her updated curriculum vitae. see her site at She will try to keep this site updated as well.

Current Research Interests

Literary journalism and history in Eastern Europe, film history and analysis, theater history and performer biography, Polish Jewish studies, Holocaust studies

Current Appointments & Affiliations

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