Homepage — Ewa Thompson (Ewa M. Thompson’s Homepage)


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Ewa Thompson, Research Professor of Slavic Studies and former Chairperson of the Department of German and Slavic Studies at Rice University. Photo by Stefan Witas.




Ewa Thompson is Research Professor of Slavic Studies and former Chairperson of the Department of German and Slavic Studies at Rice University. She has taught at Rice, Indiana, Vanderbilt, and the University of Virginia, and has lectured at Princeton, Witwatesrand (South Africa), Toronto (Canada) and Bremen (Germany). She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Warsaw and her doctorate from Vanderbilt University. She is the author of five books (one of them edited and coauthored), about fifty scholarly articles, and hundreds of other articles and reviews. Her books and articles have been translated into Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, Italian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, and Chinese. She has published scholarly articles in Slavic Review, Slavic and European Journal, Modern Age, Teksty Drugie and other periodicals, and has done consulting work for the National Endowment for the Humanities, U.S. Department of Education, and other institutions and foundations. She is Editor of Sarmatian Review, an academic tri-quarterly on non-Germanic Central and Eastern Europe. Her area of specialization is Central and Eastern Europe.



Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Comparative Literature, 1967

M.F.A., Sopot Conservatory of Music, 1963

B.A., University of Warsaw, 1963



Imperial Knowledge: Russian Literature and Colonialism (Westport, CT and London: Greenwood, 2000).  Excerpts available at Postcolonial Disourse.

Ukrainian translation: Trubaduri imperii (Kyiv: Vidavnitstvo Osnovi, 2006), translated into Ukrainian by Maria Korchinska (full text here) 

Polish translation: Trubadurzy Imperium: Literatura rosyjska i kolonialism (Krakow: Universitas Publishers, 2000), translated into Polish by Anna Sierszulska

Russian translation: Perekrestki (Vilnius), vol. VII (nos. 1-2, 2007), 32–75 (translation by Taciana Nyadbaj of chapter 1 of Imperial Knowledge)

Chinese translation:  帝国意 : 俄国文学与殖民主 (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2009), translated by Yang De-you

Belarusian translation: Pesniary imperyi, translated by Taciana Nyadbaj—full text here (Minsk: Medysont, 2009)

Hungarian translation:  A Birodalom Trubadúrjai: Az orosz irodalom és a kolonializmus, translated by Lajos Pálfalvi (Budapest: Örökség Kultúrpolitikai Intézet, 2015)

Understanding Russia: the Holy Fool in Russian Culture (University Press of America, 1987). Chinese translation: Understanding Russia: the Holy Fool in Russian Culture (Beijing: United Publishers, 1998), translated into Chinese by Yang De-you; Understanding Russia: the Holy Fool in Russian Culture (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1995), translated into Chinese by Yang De-you. Third Chinese edition: Beijing, Yilin Press, 2015.

The Search for Self-Definition in Russian Literature (Rice University Press, 1991). Simultaneous edtition: The Search for Self-Definition in Russian Literature. Utrecht Publications in General and Comparative Literature 27 (John Benjamins, 1991).

Witold Gombrowicz (Twayne, 1979). Polish translation: Witold Gombrowicz (Katowice: University of Silesia Press, 2002), translated into Polish by Anna Sierszulska.

Russian Formalism and Anglo-American New Criticism: A Comparative Study (Mouton, 1971).

Selected scholarly articles and book chapters

“Sarmatism, or the secrets of Polish essentialism,” a chapter in the History of Polish Literature edited by Tamara Trojanowska et al. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016). Forthcoming.

“Polska i Rosja postkolonialne,” Teologia Polityczna, no. 8 (2016), forthcoming.

Slavic but not Russia: Invisible and Mute,” Porównania (Poznań), vol. 16 (2015), 9–18.

Reflections on Errors in Some Western Interpretations of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov,” in Zroznicowanie i zmiennosc spolecznego swiata (ksiega jubileuszowa poswiecona Kazimierzowi Z. Sowie), edited by Ewa Bogacz-Woytanowska, Wieslaw Gumula, and Slawomir Rebisz  (Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press, 2012), 407–416.

 Stefan Zeromski’s Ashes as a Postcolonial Narrative,” in  Historyka. Studia metodologiczne, vol. XLII (Kraków: Polish Academy of Science, 2012), 77–95 (in English); “Popioły Stefana Zeromskiego jako narracja postkolonialna,” in  Historyka. Studia Metodologiczne, vol. XLII, 59–71 (in Polish).

A jednak kolonializm. Uwagi epistemologiczne,” (It is colonialism, after all: epistemological remarks), Teksty Drugie, no. 6 (132), June 2012, 289–302. Reprinted  in Rzeczy Wspolne, no. 8(2012). In Polish. English translation: “It is Colonialism After All,” Teksty Drugie, ,January 2014 (special edition), 67–82.

Whose Discourse? Telling the Story in Post-Communist Poland, ” The Other Shore: Slavic and East European Cultures Abroad, Past and Present, vol. 1, no. 1 (2010), 1–15.

Can we communicate? On epistemological incompatibilities in contemporary academic discourse,” College and the Academic Community in the European and American Tradition, edited by Mark O’Connor and Piotr Wilczek (Boston-Warsaw: Boston College and University of Warsaw Press, 2010), pp. 205–211. It can also be accessed here.  Hungarian translation here.  Polish translation  here.

Historia Europy Srodkowej jako narracja postkolonialna,” Seminarium Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich RP Janusza Kochanlowskiego, Nieborów, 7 November  2009.  Reprinted in Rzeczy Wspólne , 8 (2/2012). Translated into Hungarian by Palfalvi Lajos and published in Nagyitas,  January 2010. Translated into Ukrainian and published in Ukraina Moderna, 5/16(2010), 227–234.

Postmodernism and European Memory,” Modern Age, vol. 51, no. 2 (Spring 2009), 107–117.

“Postcolonial Russia,” in: A Historical Companion to Russian Literature: Continental Europe and Its Empires, edited by Prem Poddar, Rajeev S. Patke, and Lars Jensen (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), 412–417.

Postkolonialne refleksje,” Porównania, vol. 5 (2008), 113126.

Postmodernizm, pamięć, logocentryzm,” in: (Nie)obecność: Pominięcia i przemilczenia w narracjach XX wieku, edited by Hanna Gosk  and Bożena Karwowska  (Warsaw: Elipsa, 2008), 54–75. In Polish.

Genrik Senkevich, Aleksei Tolstoi i Stolknovenie tsivilizatsii Semiuela Khantingtona,”  Istorik i khudozhnik (Moscow), nos. 1–2 (15–16), vol. 5 (2008), 170–182.  In Russian.

Leo Tolstoy and the Idea of a Good Life,”  in: Kultura rosyjska w ojczyznie i diasporze, edited by Lidia Liburska (Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press, 2007),  231–238.

“Anton Chekhov and colonialism: the denial of identity in Ostrov Sakhalin,”  in Dzieło Antoniego Czechowa dzisiaj, edited by Alicka Wołodzko-Butkiewicz and Ludmila Lutevici (Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press––Studia Rossica Series, 2005), 75–86.  Translated into Ukrainian by Tetiana Dziadevych in: Molodaia natsiia, no. 4 (45), 2007, 85–108.

Ways of Remembering: the Case of Poland,” Toronto Slavic Quarterly, vol. 12 (Spring 2005).  Reprinted in: New Perspectives on Polish Culture, edited by Tamara Trojanowska  et al. (New York: PIASA Books, 2012), 221–235.

“Holy Fools and Shamanism,”  Shamanism: Critical Concepts in Sociology, vol. 2, edited by Andrei A. Znamenski (London: Routledge, 2004), 355–382.

“Discourse, Empire and Memory in Postcommunist Russia,” New Zealand Slavonic Journal, vol. 37 (2003), 155–164.

Ways out of the Postmodern Discourse,” Modern Age, vol. 45, no. 3 (Summer 2003), 195–207.

“Leopold Tyrmand, Peripheral Subordination and the American Conservative Movement,” in: Living in Translation: Polish Writers in America, edited by Halina Stephan (New York: Rodopi, 2003), 153169.

“The Changing Semantics of Diaspora/Emigration: The Politics of Recognition,” in: Literatura rosyjska w kontekstach międzykulturowych, edited by Jerzy Lukszyn et al. (Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press, 2001), 330–340.

“Russian Literature and Imperialism: The Late Soviet and Early Post-Soviet Periods,” in: Reconstructing the Canon: Russian Writing in the 1980s, edited by Arnold McMillin ((Harwood Academic Publishers, 2000), 243–257.

Nationalism, Imperialism, Identity: Second Thoughts,” Modern Age, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Summer 1998), 250–261; reprinted in Chesterton Review, vol. XXVI, nos.1-2 (Spring-Summer 2010), 277–295. Translated into Polish by Anna Sierszulska and published in Teksty Drugie (PAN), May 1999, 25–38. Reprinted in: Polonistyka po amerykańsku, edited by H. Filipowicz, A. Karcz and T. Trojanowska (Warsaw: Instytut Badań Literackich, 2005), 286–300.

“East Central European Democracies and Russia: The End of Colonialism?” In: Libre échange et identité culturelle, edited by Annie Allain and Gervais Essama (Paris-Lille: Presses Universitaires, 1998), 201–211.

“The Political Activation of Social Groups,” in: Transition to Democracy in Poland, 2d ed., edited by Richard F. Staar (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), 75–92.

“Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward and the Russian Colonialist Experience,” Slavia Orientalis, vol. XLVI, no.4 (Fall 1997), 545–555.

“Why the Conservative Tradition Is an Important Philosophical Option in Polish Intellectual Life,” Periphery, vol. 3, nos. 1–2 (1977), 30–35.

The Katyn Massacre and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in the Soviet-Nazi Propaganda War,” in: World War 2 and the Soviet People, edited by John and Carol Garrard (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993), 213–232.

“Three Perspectives on the Fall of Communism: American, Russian, and East European, and Their Possible Role in Future Conflicts,” Dalhousie Review, vol. 72, no. 2 (Summer 1992), 189–214.

“Przeciw Mickiewiczowi,” Znaki Czasu (Rome), vol. VII, no. 26 (April-June 1992), 68–82.

Nationalist Propaganda in the Soviet Russian Press, 1939–1941,” Slavic Review, vol. 50, no, 2 (Summer 1991), 385–299.

The Writer in Exile: The Good Years,” Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 33, no. 4 (Winter 1989), 499–515. Polish translation: “PIsarz na wygnaniu: dobre lata,” Przegląd Polonijny, vol. XVII (1991), 51–68.



Body, Mind and Deconstruction,” Intercollegiate Review, vol. 23, no, 1 (Fall 1986), 25–33.



Some other articles 



Why I Am a Conservative,” Modern Age, col. 49, no. 3 (Summer 2007), 265–270.



Nie wracajcie do Barbarii,” Rzeczpospolita (Plus-Minus), 10 November  2012.



Poland protests? What Protests?” Dissidentprof.com, January 2012.



Czternaście tez A.D. 2012,” Arcana, no. 96 (November 2010).



Słudzy i krytycy imperium,” Dziennik (Europa), 24 April 2009.



“Biedny Herbert patrzy na zideologizowany świat,”  Przegląd Polski, 16 January 2009.



Po upadku,” Europa (Dziennik), no. 6 (201), 9 February 2008.



W kolejce po aprobatę: kolonialna mentalność polskich elit,” Europa (Dziennik), no. 180, 14 September 2007. Translated into Czech by Katerina Ticha as “Je Polsko postkolonialni zeme?” Prawym okem: Antologie sucasneho polskeho politickeho mysleni, edited by Maciej Ruczaj and Maciej Szymanowski (Prague: Centrum Pro Studium Demokracie a Kultury, 2010), 21–36.



Narodowość i polityka: polska świadomość narodowa jako problem,” Europa (Dziennik), no. 165, 2 June 2007.



Sarmatyzm i postkolonializm,”  Europa (Dziennik), no. 137,  18 November 2006.



“Odkrycie świata na nowo: John Ralston Saul on neonacjnoaliźmie,” Europa (Dziennik), no. 43, 28 October 2006.



Said a sprawa polska,” Europa (Dziennik), no. 65, 29 June 2005.



“Siła literatury a siła państwa,” Europa (Dziennik),  no. 7 (46), 16 February 2005.



’New Europe’ Still Matters,” Washington Times, 17 March 2008. Translated into Russian at <inosmi.ru>.



The Lobby Archipelago,” Washington Times, 2 March 2008.



Polish polls and the press,” Washington Times, 25 October 2007.



Somber anniversaries, chances to reconcile,” Washington Times, 25 September 2007.



America, Russia, and the EU,” Washington Times, 8 July 2007.



Praising the Kaczynski brothers,” Washington Times, 8 April 2007.



Postcommunist Central Europe at 17,”  Washington Times, 2 July 2006.



World War II victory as remembered or not,”  Washington Times,  14 May 2005.




Some recent book reviews


David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Russian Orientalism: Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration. Forthcoming in 2016 in Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry.

James Hodkinson and John Walker, eds., Deploying Orientalism in Culture and History: from Germany to Central and Eastern Europe. Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 58, no. 3 (Fall 2014), 551–552.

Serhyi Bilenky, Romantic Nationalism in Eastern Europe. Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 57, no. 3 (Fall 2013), 507–508.

Michal Giedroyć, Crater’s Edge: A Family’s epic journey through wartime Russia.  Chesterton Review, vols. XXXVI, nos. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 2010), 177–182.

Monika Baár, “ Historians and Nationalism: East Central Europe in the Nineteenth Century,” Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 55, no. 2 Summer 2011), 324–6.

Irena Grudzinska Gross, “ Czeslaw Milosz and Joseph Brodsky: Fellowship of Poets, ” Slavic Review, vol. 69, no.4 (Winter 2010), 995.

Michal Giedroyc, “Crater’s Edge: A family’s epic journey through wartime Russia,” Chesterton Review, vol. XXXVI (Spring-Summer 2010),  177–182.

O ‘Dzienniku’ Witolda Gombrowicza: postmodernism, tomizm, tozsamosc narodowa,” Trojkat inny: Rosja—Polska—Niemcy, edited by M. Semczuk-Jurska and Rolf-Dieter Kluge. Tübingen: Scripten des Slavischen Seminars der Universität Tübingen, 2010, pp. 111–119.

 O skomplikowanej Ameryce polglosem,” Nowy Dziennik (Przeglad Polski), 17 June 2010.

Knut Andreas Grimstad, Styling Russia. Slavic Review, vol. 68, no. 1 (Spring 2009), 190–191.

Ilya Kutik, Writing as Exorcism: The Personal Codes of Pushkin, Lermontov, and Gogol. Canadian American Slavic Studies, vol. 42, no. 4 (Winter 2008), 484–485.

Marina Balina et al., eds., Politicizing Magic: An Anthology of Russian and Soviet Fairy Tales. Canadian American Slavic Studies, vol. 41, no. 4 (Winter 2007).

Simon Cosgrove, Russian Nationalism and the Politics of Soviet Literature: The Case of Nash sovremennik, 1981-91. Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 9, no. 4 (2007).

"Zbigniew Herbert: The Courage to Live," Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, May 2007. A review of Herbert's Collected Poems.


Editorial Work


Editor, Sarmatian Review


Area Editor, World Literary Encyclopedia

                                                                                                            updated January 2016