Book presentation: Krakow. An Ecobiography.



(ed.) Adam Izdebski, Rafał Szmytka
University of Pittsburgh Press, June 2021
English, 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 0822946130

Like most cities, Poland’s Kraków developed around and because of its favorable geography. Before Warsaw, Kraków served as Poland’s capital for half a millennium. It has functioned as a cultural center, an industrial center, a center of learning, and home for millions of people. Behind all of this lies the city’s environment: its fauna and plant life, the Vistula River, the surrounding countryside rich with resources, and man-made change that has allowed the city to flourish. In Kraków: An Ecobiography, the contributors use the city as a lens to focus these social and natural intricacies to shed new light on one of Europe’s urban treasures. With chapters on pollution, water systems, the city’s natural network with the surrounding area, urban infrastructure, and more, Kraków demonstrates how much an environmental perspective can bring to the understanding of Poland’s history and the challenges presented by the heritage of the past.



Adam Izdebski is a historian of Late Antiquity and Byzantium, with strong interest in environmental history. He also works on social and religious history of late antiquity and on premodern Central Europe. His research aims to integrate scientific, archaeological, and textual evidence.

Rafał Szmytka is assistant professor at the Department of Historical Anthropology at the Institute of History of the Jagiellonian University. He is interested in the history and culture of the Low Countries in the modern era, history of image and iconography, literary culture, and the social care of the cities of Brabant and Flanders.

Małgorzata Praczyk, professor at the Historical Department of Adam Mickiwiecz University in Poznań, specialized in the history of the XIXth and XXth century with a special focus on environental history and memory studies.

Julia Obertreis, professor at the Historical Department of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, specialized in Russian/Soviet Union and Eastern European History, aplying novel historical methodologies, including oral history and environmental history


Piotr Filipkowski, sociologist, researcher at the Center for Historical Research in Berlin and the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences