Assistant Professor of Art History
Boise State University
Dept of Art, Design and Visual Studies
1910 University Drive, Boise, Idaho, USA

Tomasz Grusiecki specialises in the study of cultural interactions between east-central Europe and the wider world, focusing on the issues of centre and periphery, cultural liminality, and perceptions of selfhood and alterity. He has published on these subjects in, among others, Journal of Early Modern HistoryJournal of the History of CollectionsWorld ArtZeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung, and The Polish Review, with further studies forthcoming.

He is currently preparing a book manuscript, tentatively titled Transcultural Commonwealth: Visual and Material Histories of Poland-Lithuania, 1500–1700. This study explores representations of the emerging Polish-Lithuanian civic identity, as the otherwise heterogeneous Polish, Ruthenian, Lithuanian and Prussian nobilities found themselves in the midst of searching for a convincing story of their shared place in the world. My book examines how these stories were activated and legitimised by images and objects of material culture. But while these artefacts acted as signifiers of cultural distinctiveness, they were often appropriated from abroad, particularly the Ottoman Empire. Highlighting practices of mobility, adaptation and cultural confusion, this study aims to demonstrate the exogenous provenance of cultural self-identifications and the artefacts that mediated them. Poland-Lithuania is a useful methodological laboratory in this context precisely because of the way it challenges the theories of nations with distinctive cultures, and suggests instead that the discourse of distinctiveness is itself an outcome of cultural confusion, which substitutes simulacra for reality.

Tomasz's new research project, Warsaw Discovers the World: Re-Imagining the City in the Age of Encounters, 1570–1657, is set to explore an allegedly marginal city as it experienced the effects of an increasingly interconnected world. Focusing on cultural entanglement, this study will allow for a historical re-assessment of Warsaw’s neglected role in early globalisation. By concentrating on a city at Europe’s eastern periphery, this project aims to expand our framing of early modern globalization beyond western Europe and its numerous colonies and trading posts. This study will thus put to test the binary of colony and metropole, exotic and local, and self and other.

Before coming to Boise State, Tomasz was Postdoctoral Fellow at Central European University in Budapest, where he received funding from the Central European University Budapest Foundation, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture. Tomasz is currently a Research Affiliate in the international project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada: Making Worlds: Art, Materiality and Early Modern Globalisation.

2017 PhD Art History, McGill University
2011 MRes History, European University Institute
2009 MA History of Art, University College London
2008 BA History of Art, University College London

Research interestscentral and eastern European art and visual culture, 1500–1700;  global art histories; cultural entanglement; cultural confusion; historiography of art and methodologies of art history; art history from below; early modern power dynamics; centres and peripheries; early modern popular culture; collecting; European perceptions of the wider world; urban culture