In this paper the author traced the origins of studies in culture (in Polish: kulturoznawstwo). The first part deals with the philosophical tradition out of which several philosophies of culture had emerged, esp. within German philosophy at the beginning of the 20th century. The second part is dedicated to the tradition of British cultural studies which has influenced considerably today’s reflection on culture. Finally, the third part points at the Polish sociology of culture of the last century. A special emphasis was put on the work of Józef Chałasiński who tried to work out a “science of culture in its totality”. His “American culture” from 1962 can be seen as a project of cultural studies in today’s sense of the word. In conclusion the author tries to relate all three sources of studies in culture to the theory of Jerzy Kmita, a founder of studies in culture developed at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.