2010 | 36 | 2(136) | 73-91
Article title

FROM THE MAY 3 CONSTITUTION DAY CELEBRATIONS, TO 'THE BARTEK BIEDA SHOW'. POLISH AND POLISH DIASPORA CULTURE IN THE UNITED STATES FROM 1870-1930 (Od obchodow konstytucji 3 Maja po 'Bartek Bieda Show': kultura polska i polonijna w USA 1870-1930)

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The text describes Polish American ideas on their own identity, as demonstrated in the public sphere. Initially, the leaders of the group, of different ideological orientations, tried to inculcate immigrants' sense of belonging to the Polish nation and of their patriotic duty to maintain Polish Catholicism and religiosity. This was accomplished in part through celebrations, anniversaries, the choice of theatre repertory, and so on. World War I brought an end to this first period. In the 1920s and 1930s the previously promoted version of a very patriotic and (in the case of the clerical camp) Catholic culture - simulating the status quo existing on Polish soil - was replaced by the Polish-American working-class culture. This was demonstrated in part by the extraordinary popularity of creatively transformed Polish folk music disseminated on a massive scale, and the unusual phenomenon of radio programmes and radio novels broadcast in Polish by various radio stations i.e. in Chicago. The displays of patriotic, hagiographic-religious or patriotic-independence culture seen before the War were replaced by discourse on the reality of Polish Diaspora families and the Polish Diaspora. Stage works were replaced by original texts written in America, therefore reflecting the everyday life of Polish Diaspora families living in American working-class cities. Radio shows, novels and radio series referred to and used a mixture of Polish-American dialect and the group's language. They only talked about the problems of the Polish Diaspora in the U.S. and they presented problems of the Polish Diaspora as native American workers.
  • Adam Walaszek, Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Instytut Amerykanistyki i Studiow Polonijnych, Rynek Glowny 34, 31-010 Krakow, Poland
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