Ewa A. Łukaszyk (b. 1972) is a comparativist and innovative theorist developing the notion of extracultural becoming of man. She is active in global literary studies, with special interest in the Mediterranean and Islamicate areas; she also has a considerable experience in the study of the Lusophone world.
She is a prolific scholarly author, with seven major books, as well as nearly 300 other contributions (peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, edited volumes, reviews, translations, works-in-progress and experimental essays published online), written in Polish, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
The bulk of these publications is distributed among various topics and fields of research in which she has been active, such as Romance medieval and early-modern studies, Arab and Islamic studies, Mediterranean studies, Maghrebian and Euro-Maghrebian studies, Latin American and African Lusophone studies, as well as metropolitan literatures with special relevance given to Portugal, France and Spain, in a variety of comparative, translocal and transcultural approaches.
Her most daring contribution to the humanities concerns the examination of the human beyond the frontiers of the cultural. At the end of the road, she has in view a theory of man as maker and transgressor of culture, striving (although constantly failing) to achieve the extracultural condition of absolute authenticity and absolute communication. In order to provide some palpable ground for this evanescent utopia, she develops a highly idiosyncratic research field centred on the Mediterranean as a major crossroad of cultural codifications and systems of beliefs. She focuses on mystical ventures and diverse attempts at voicing heterodox religious viewpoints; also, she is interested in the dreams of transgressing language as a receptacle of finite and limiting, culturally predetermined modalities of expression. Such is the case of the pre-lapsarian, Adamic tongue, the so-called language of angels, and similar legacies intertwined in the history of Christianity and Islam.
From 1997 to 2018, she was employed at the leading Polish universities, Jagiellonian University in Kraków and the University of Warsaw, acquiring both a tenure and the official full professor title (so-called "profesor belwederski"). She resigned from her teaching position due to political and social changes in Central and Eastern Europe, switching from the intense involvement in Polish national humanities that characterised the first twenty years of her career to a well-pronounced identity of a European scholar. Recently, she has been a Calouste Gulbenkian fellow in Portugal, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow in France and a guest researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
1972. Born in Lublin, eastern Poland.
1992-1997. Studies in Romance languages and literature at the University Marie Curie-Skłodowska in Lublin and the University of Lisbon.
1997-2006. Teaching duties in Portuguese & Lusophone studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.
1998-1999. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation grant; postgraduate studies in comparative literature at the University of Lisbon.
1999. Doctoral degree at the Jagiellonian University.
2000. Współczesna proza portugalska (1939-1999). Tematy, problemy, obsesje.
2000. Camões Institute research grant, Portugal.
2000-2001. Oriental studies at the Jagiellonian University.
2002-2003. Starting grant of the Foundation for Polish Science.
2003. Terytorium a świat. Wyobrażeniowe konfiguracje przestrzeni w literaturze portugalskiej od schyłku średniowiecza do współczesności. Habilitation degree.
2005. Pokusa pustyni. Nomadyzm jako wyjście z kryzysu współczesności w pisarstwie José Saramago.
2006-2018. Associate professor at the University of Warsaw.
2007. (ed.) Archipelagi wyobraźni. Z dziejów toposu wyspy w kręgu literatur romańskich.
2010. Historia literatur iberoamerykańskich (with Nina Pluta).
2012. Beginnings of experimentation in transcultural humanities.
2015. Imperium i nostalgia. "Styl późny" w kulturze portugalskiej.
2016. (ed.) Nie tylko salon. Wspólnotowe formy życia literackiego.
2016-2017. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation research grant, Portugal.
2017-2018. Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow, France. Research project on Adamic language.
2018. Humanistyka, która nadchodzi. W poszukiwaniu kondycji transkulturowej.
2018. (ed.) Niewłasne lektury. Od pisarstwa w języku wyuczonym do wielości kultur czytania.
2018. Official title of full professor in Poland.
2018-2020. Guest researcher at Leiden University, Netherlands.
2019. Mgławica Pessoa. Literatura portugalska od romantyzmu do współczesności.
2020-2021. CY Advanced Studies fellow-in-residence, France. Research project "Mystical legacies and cultural transgression in the contemporary Euro-Mediterranean writing".
Book projects in progress:
Seductor's Old Age. José Saramago at the end of life and other essays.
Tesserae. Cultural transgression and circulation of ideas in the Mediterranean.
Eroticism of Trace.
Intrusive Spirit of the Desert. Islamic thinkers and Europe.
Eremos. Beyond the cultured condition.
The Book of the World. Collected essays in comparative literature.
research philosophy and scholarly itinerarium
The model of academic career I follow often causes surprise or, quite bluntly, appears as meaningless, chaotic, lacking planning and awareness of my academic targets. Quite to the contrary, I'm aware of my targets, I dare say to a much higher degree than most persons in the academic world. What I have in mind is a sort of Agambenian model of scholarly creativity, in which novel views in humanities are issued from the study of non-obvious materials, intertwined in a way that is both inventive and particularly complex. To get this richness of tissue, a vast outlook is a prerequisite, which contradicts the usual accent on specialised knowledge that predominates in the academia. The secret of excellence is to put together two ingredients. On the one hand, the quality of being well-informed, since only a deep insight into the mater enables one to bring forth the non-obvious starting points and develop them convincingly, giving a consistence to the whole. On the other hand, the courage of contesting the scholarly and intellectual status quo of our times through insights that essentially result from a novel way of integrating those materials.
I ask about the human beyond the frontiers of the cultural. It is clear that this sort of interrogation cannot be answered inside the boundaries of a traditional academic specialisation, such as was in my case that of Portuguese and Lusophone studies. The maritime adventure of the Portuguese, their clash against the world and their moments of madness just give a handful of tesserae for my broad mosaic. But I also need other sources, in Europe, in the Mediterranean, in the Arab world, in Iran, in India, wherever I find traditions achieving sufficient sophistication to foster the emergence of a new level of complexity. It opens the way to those extracultural insights and moments of enlightenment I search for. Essentially, as I believe, erudition fosters synergy and the vastness of outlook leads to qualitative difference. On my way back from a lecture on Persian poetry in Leiden, I learn how to recognise those glimpses of extracultural intuition in Fernando Pessoa's Antinous; otherwise I would never get to such ideas. This is just to suggest how a synergistic mechanism is put in motion when I circle between my various fields of research.
At the end of the road, there is a new theory of man as maker and transgressor of culture, striving to achieve the extracultural condition of absolute authenticity and absolute expression. Something, just like it often happens in Giorgio Agamben's writings, to be found in the last paragraph on the last page of my books to come.