In Oriental studies, my main credentials are the total lack of credentials. I've been keenly interested in Arabic topics since my high school times, yet the limited educational options I had didn't include any chance to take Oriental studies as a major. Nonetheless, when I got the job at the Jagiellonian University and moved to Kraków, the chance presented itself. Immediately after having solved the problem of my PhD, I resolved to start the usual curriculum in Arabic studies. But soon I had to discover this act was hurting the Cracovian academic usages. The chief of my department of Spanish and Portuguese literature found my decision absurd and extremely exhilarating. Perhaps the idea that knowing Arabic might match the competences of any accomplished Hispanist had never crossed her mind. Anyway I had to give up my studies after the first semester, having hardly managed to get a grip on some items of Arabic grammar.
Nonetheless, I persevered, my private conditions helping me to keep in touch with the Arab world. Since 2006, at the University of Warsaw, as a member of the faculty employed in the curriculum of Mediterranean Studies, I've cultivated the discipline quite naturally as it entered the regional perspective I was supposed to develop. Since more or less the same period, privately, I've also followed the evolution of cultural realities across the Arabian Peninsula, even if I decided to suspend for several years any publications on these topics. This ban is about to be levied, as I've recently submitted for publication a rather unpretentious article about the European explorers and converts in Arabia. Yet I plan for more research in similar topics, mainly to be published abroad, as I see very limited interest in such issues locally. Nonetheless, since 2013, I've also joined the Polish Oriental Society and timidly started to participate in some Orientalist conferences at the national level.
The main focus of my research is on the emergence of the Islamic intellectual as a fusion of modern and modernising instance with the religious aspect that is quite alien to the secularised, Western figure. That's the serious part of my Orientalist endeavours. But on the instance of the great Islamic scholars of the past, I also used to cultivate several other, apparently frivolous areas of interest that presently tend to merge with my academic activities. Falconry, of course, is one of the examples. But there are more aspects of the non-human history of Arabia. That of the Arabian horse is often closely related to that of explorers, spies and converts. I've never written anything particular on it, but I shall; being involved in the human/animal studies at my faculty may soon create an occasion for such a history of animals.
Books and scholars, falcons and horses, and certain classical literature to be added to the lot. Such a vision of the Arab & Islamic studies as I've just sketched may be considered extremely exhilarating again, but this is how I slowly draw things into my transcultural humanities, searching to define the positive contribution given by the classical and contemporary Arabic culture to the global intellectual heritage as well as transcultural lifestyles.
As I'm closer to reach the full professorship in Poland and thus the conclusion of my official academic path here, I start to feel free for new experiences. I'm considering the eventuality of taking up a job in Qatar or the Emirates for a year or two in order to get a better grip on Arabic affairs; perhaps with time a suitable opportunity appears. Anyway I do believe that texts will follow, growing in seriousness as my private passions enter the dynamics of academic professionalisation. Who knows, perhaps my "late style" will be dedicated mostly to this.