Though history of the Iranian studies at the Jagiellonian University started in 1919, the first lecture on Persian literature was delivered in Latin by Wilhelm Münnich in 1824. The origins of teaching the Persian language and literature are related to Tadeusz Kowalski (1889-1948) who initiated the Islamic studies with three Oriental languages being lectured, namely Arabic, Turkish and Persian.
The Department of Oriental Philology, established after 1945, was carrying on these traditions, however, as years were passing, the division into three specializations was becoming more and more distinct, namely to Arabic, Turkish and Iranian studies. In 1972 the Department was transformed into the Institute of Oriental Philology at the Jagiellonian University, consisting of four chairs of Arabic, Turkish, Iranian and Indian studies, and Franciszek Machalski (1904-1979) became a head of the Chair of Iranian Studies as an independent scientific and research unit.
Beside the Islamic studies, the home base of the Iranian studies in Kraków were the Indian studies with their linguistic traditions. Helena Willman-Grabowska (1870-1957) was a lecturer of Indian languages, as well as the Old Persian and the Avestan languages in the Chair of Sanskrit and the Indian studies she was a head of. After the Indian studies were dissolved in 1948 her disciple Tadeusz Pobożniak (1910-1991) was giving lectures on Sanskrit and Old-Iranian and Hindi languages for Iranologists.
After the World War II the origins of Iranian studies in Kraków were moderate. For the first two decades Franciszek Machalski was supported only by faculty members of the Department of Linguistics (for example, Wojciech Skalmowski, b. 1933, d. 2008, a literary critic, an essayist and
a long-time associate of the Polish-émigré literary-political magazine of “Kultura”) and visiting scholars (for example, Władysław Dulęba, b. 1920, d. 1987, a translator of Persian classical literature, and Andrzej Pisowicz, b. 1940, an Armenologist and Iranologist.
Except for the short period in the early 1950s, there have been no native speaker lecturers at the Iranian studies in Kraków for decades. Cultural and scientific-oriented relations with Iran were briefly intensified in the late 1970s, when some scholarships for faculty members and students were granted and the first lecturer arrived in 1977. Unfortunately, the Iranian Revolution and martial law in Poland suspended this cooperation until the end of the 1980s, when lecturers reappeared and it became possible to go to Iran for scholarships. Some of notable contributors to Iranian studies in Kraków are Mas'ud Frasjan, the co-author of the new version of the Persian language script written by Andrzej Pisowicz in the 1970s, Azizollah Joveini, an expert in classical Persian literature, and Sa'id Hamidian, a specialist in the field of contemporary Persian poetry. Currently, there are two Iranian lecturers teaching classes within the Iranian studies in Kraków.
Nowadays, the Chair of Iranian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Jagiellonian University is a scientific and research unit educating specialists in the field of literature, languages and culture of Afghanistan, Iran, Kurdistan and Tajikistan. The scope of researchers’ interests includes Persian classical and contemporary literature, Middle Persian literature, history of Persian lexicography, historical Iranian linguistics, culture of Iranian peoples and history of the Iranian universe. Among various professions, our faculty members and graduates work as translators, intercultural relation advisors, diplomats, journalists, editors and specialists delivering lectures for military personnel.
Current staff members:
- Head – dr hab. Kinga Paraskiewicz, prof. UJ
- prof. dr hab. Anna Krasnowolska
- Joanna Bocheńska, PhD – head of the Section of Kurdish Studies
- Karolina Rakowiecka-Asgari, PhD
- Renata Rusek-Kowalska, PhD
- Tomasz Gacek, PhD
- Mateusz Kłagisz, PhD – head of the Department of Interdisciplinary Eurasian Research
- Ignacy Nasalski, PhD
- Soraya Musavi, MA
- Hayedeh Vambakhsh-Smurzyńska, MA
- Zuzanna Błajet (PhD student)
- Radosław Kanarkowski (PhD student)
- mgr Katarzyna Wąsala (PhD student)
- Anna Cieślewska, PhD (programme NCN „Fuga 2”)
- Artur Rodziewicz, PhD (programme NCN „Fuga 2”)
- Marcin Rzepka, PhD (UP JP2)
More information here.