“Polish Aryans”. Between the Scientific Foundations of the Myth and the Mythological Roots of Science in the 19th-Century Slavic Discourse Cover Image
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„Polscy Aryjczycy”. Pomiędzy naukowymi podstawami mitu a mitycznymi korzeniami nauki w dyskursie słowiańskim XIX wieku
“Polish Aryans”. Between the Scientific Foundations of the Myth and the Mythological Roots of Science in the 19th-Century Slavic Discourse

Author(s): Marta Taperek
Subject(s): History, Anthropology, Social Sciences, Language and Literature Studies, Cultural history, Studies of Literature, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: Polish Aryans; Slavophiles of the 19th century; Slavic history; ethnogenesis of the Slavs

Summary/Abstract: The article is devoted to reflection on the role of the Aryan discourse in the researchof Slavophiles of the 19th century. Traditional studies on the ethnogenesis of the Slavsconducted by historians on the basis of ancient “scraps” and incomplete sources did notgive the answer that would satisfy the political ambitions of the Poles. The inclusion ofethnographic and linguistic methods into the Slavic studies helped create the narrative inwhich the journey, made by the early Slavs from the Land of Aryans, became a full historyof the people’s origin. The conviction about the Indo-Iranian origin of the Slavs shaped themythical thinking and attempts to create a story legitimizing the right to self-determinationand the historical significance of this group. The belief in ancient Aryan heritage considerablychanged political orientation and the pursuit of a new identity – free of inferiority complexwith respect to the West and ready to dictate its own conditions. Discussing the issues relatedto race and racial differences between particular peoples, including the ones belonging to theSlavic family, showed the authors’ political views and the future of the nation they envisaged.It also deepened the split within the Slavic studies. The sources available and studied by theSlavic history researchers did not provide clear answers to the question whether the Slavs aredirect descendants of the Aryans, therefore the research and texts that are examined in thearticle have creational and commentary nature and serve the function of creating narrativesshaping the community. The aim of this approach will be to reflect on how scientificdiscourse creates the foundations for identity myths.

  • Issue Year: 462/2018
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 151-165
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Polish