Karolina Wigura (born 1 October 1980 in Warsaw) is a sociologist, historian of ideas and journalist. She is the Head of the Political Section Kultura Liberalna (Liberal Culture), one of Poland's leading weekly magazines. She is also an assistant professor at Warsaw University's Institute of Sociology.
Karolina Wigura graduated from the Interdepartmental Institute of Humanities at the University of Warsaw, as well as the Institute of Sociology (2003) and Political Science (2005). Her doctorate thesis was conducted as part of a PhD program at the Institute of Sociology (University of Warsaw, UW) and at the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. She was awarded a doctorate thesis in Social Sciences in 2009 (titled “Declarations of Forgiveness and Repentance in Politics: Examples from the history of Poland, Germany and Ukraine, 1945-2006. Theories and Practice”). She works as a lecturer at Warsaw University's Institute of Sociology and the Department of History of Sociological Thought, and is a member of its Intradepartmental Social Memory Section at the Institute of Sociology.
Her academic interests include political philosophy, especially of Hannah Arendt, Paul Ricoeur, and Karl Jaspers; sociology and ethics of memory, with a focus on transitional justice, historical guilt, reconciliation and forgiveness in politics – these are the core themes of the book she published in 2011, titled “The Guilt of Nations. Forgiveness as a Political Strategy”; she also devotes her research to the history of emotions, as well as emotions and passions in politics.
Her book “The Guilt of Nations” was awarded the Józef Tischner’s prize in 2012, and was nominated for the Jerzy Turowicz’s prize a year later. She was awarded the Bronisław Geremek’s Junior Visiting Scholarship at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna (2012), and was a POMP (Programme on Modern Poland) Visiting Fellow in St. Antony’s College at Oxford University (2016). She has also conducted research at Central European University in Budapest (2015) and secured research grants from the National Science Centre in Poland – “Preludium” and “Sonata”.
In the academic year 2016/17, together with Dr. Jarosław Kuisz, she is co-directing the Polish Programme at St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, entitled “Knowledge Bridges: Poland and the United Kingdom”.
Karolina Wigura worked as a journalist for the Polskie Radio Program II (Polish Radio Two) between 2003 and 2006 and, up until 2009 in Tygodnik Idei Europa [Europe Weekly], the intellectual cultural-political supplement to the daily Dziennik. Polska Europa Świat. She was awarded the 2008 Grand Press prize for her interview with Jürgen Habermas “Europe in death paralysis”, published in “Europa” earlier that year.
She is a co-founder of Kultura Liberalna (Liberal Culture), Poland's leading online intellectual, political and cultural weekly, where she is the Head of Political Section and Head of the Observatory of Public Debate. Her work has been published in Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita, Przegląd Polityczny, Tygodnik Powszechny, Znak and other periodicals. In 2015, together with Maciej Zięba and Marek Zając, she prepared a political and cultural television programme for TVP Kultura (Polish public television channel devoted to culture), entitled “To nie tak” (It is not like that). She frequently provides commentary on Polish and international politics for print and electronic media.
Between 2012 and 2016, she was a member of the board of Stefan Batory Foundation. She has also been a member of the Programme Board of the Congress of Women since 2010; between 2014 and 2016 she was a member of the Programme Board of EFNI. In 2013, she was awarded a Marshall Memorial Fellowship.
Academic publications (selection)
Łukasz Bertram, Karolina Wigura (2016) Die Radikalisierung der polnischen Debatte zur europäischen Flüchtlingskrise, POLEN-ANALYSEN no 178 (Article)
Jarosław Kuisz, Karolina Wigura (2015) Helle und dunkle Solidarität - Polens Blick auf die Ukraine, in: Gefährdete Nachbarschaften - Ukraine, Russland, Europäische Union, pp. 91–102. (Chapter)
Karolina Wigura (2015) Epoka Przebaczenia, Nieprzebaczalne i radykalny synkretyzm, [The Era of Forgiveness, Unforgivable and Radical Syncretism] in: Eugeniusz Smolar (ed.), Pamięć i odpowiedzialność. Dziedzictwo Jana Karskiego [Memory and Responsibility. The Legacy of Jan Karski], pp. 73–83. (Chapter)
Jarosław Kuisz, Karolina Wigura (2014) Liberalizm po postkomunizmie [Liberalism in post-communism], in: Marcin Król (ed.), Słodko-gorzki smak wolności [Bitter-sweet taste of freedom], Instytut Spraw Publicznych i Kurhaus.
Karolina Wigura (2012) Alternative Historical Narrative. Polish bishops’ appeal to their German colleagues of 18 November 1965, EAST EUROPEAN POLITICS AND SOCIETIES, Volume: 27 Issue: 3, pp. 400–412. (Article)
Geoffrey Karabin, Karolina Wigura (2011) Forgiveness: Promise, Possibility and Failure, Inter-Disciplinary.Net. (E-Book)
Karolina Wigura (2011), Wina narodów. Przebaczenie jako strategia prowadzenia polityki [The Guilt of Nations. Forgiveness as a Political Strategy], Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar. (Book)
Journalistic publications (selection)
Jarosław Kuisz, Karolina Wigura (2016) Wołyń. Kicz zła [Wołyń. The Kitsch of Evil], Kultura Liberalna nr 405, 11.10.2016.
Karolina Wigura (2015) A Disconnection with European Memory, Strategic Europe, 12.05.2015.
Karolina Wigura (2014) Okrągły Stół. Co znaczy grać w tę grę [Roundtable. What it means to play this game], in: Łukasz Pawłowski (ed.) Ustawić Polskę w centrum. 25 lat wolności i co dalej? [Place Poland in the Centre. 25 years of Freedom and now what?] Biblioteka Kultury Liberalnej, pp. 61–66.
Łukasz Jasina, Kacper Szulecki, Karolina Wigura (2014) Syci Polacy patrzą na Ukrainę [Satiated Poles look at Ukraine], Kultura Liberalna no 268, 25.02.2014.
Karolina Wigura (2013) Dlaczego „Ida” tak gniewa. Częściowe podsumowanie dyskusji o filmie Pawła Pawlikowskiego [Why „Ida” causes so much anger. Partial summary of a debate around Paweł Pawlikowski’s film], Kultura Liberalna no 255, 26.11.2013.
Karolina Wigura (2012), Serce w centrum [The Heart in the Centre], Tygodnik Powszechny, 12.03.2012.
Karolina Wigura (2011) Tajemnica i stopniowanie polskiej winy [The Mystery and Gradation of Polish Guilt], Gazeta Wyborcza 21.01.2011.
Jarosław Kuisz, Karolina Wigura (2011) Młodzi chcą wszystkiego [The Youth want it all], Rzeczpospolita 24.03.2011.