CEU mourns the loss of Professor Jacek Kochanowicz, who passed away October 2. Kochanowicz was a visiting professor at CEU for 14 years, holding a parallel professorship at Warsaw University, his alma mater. An eminent scholar of modern economic and social history, over the years he also held many prestigious fellowships and visiting professorships from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris, through the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, to the universities of Siena and Messina in Italy and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.
Kochanowicz's international acclaim is chiefly based on his contributions to the history of the peasantry and, generally, the place of East-Central Europe in the global economy in the 19th and 20th century; and, more recently, social and economic change under communism and the historical sociology of the recent transformation of the region. Besides his academic reputation, he has also been acknowledged as a generous and highly sociable human being, a wonderful colleague to work with, and a dedicated teacher. At CEU, he played an important role in the recent development of the History Department, where he also served as director of doctoral studies in a key period in the early 2000s.
“Kochanowicz was a citizen and a highly knowledgeable patriot of Central Europe,” said Istvan Rev, professor of history and political science at CEU and the director of the Open Society Archives. “He knew well, from historical studies, what he dreamed of and stood for. It was fitting for the History Department of CEU to invite him for the wellbeing of the Department and the benefit of our students to the faculty in 2000. He served the historian’s profession, Central Europe and the Central European University in an exemplary way.”
Kochanowicz gave his last lecture at CEU on June 5, 2014, entitled “Escape to History.” The lecture was a deliberate review of his life and work, and he subsequently provided a truthful and measurable account of his life, entitled “A Personal Recollection,” to colleagues on September 14.
For more on Kochanowicz’s life, work and last lecture at CEU, see the CEU History Department’s memorial page.