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Zbigniew Jazienicki

Zbigniew Jazienicki is a second-year PhD candidate in the department of Polish Studies at University of Warsaw (Department of Polish Literature). His interests revolve around contemporary Polish literature (especially in the contexts of modern nationalism and sovereignty), as well as psychoanalytic theory of literature and political philosophy. His research has been published in important Polish studies journals such as. Praktyka Teoretyczna and Przegląd Humanistyczny. Currently, he is preparing a thesis which examines post-secular aspects of Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz’s writing.

The Hanging, Negativity and the National Spirit. The Political Theology of Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz

The conference presentation is dedicated to the essays of Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz, an author who proudly defines his works as nationalist. His latest works could be read as a diagnosis of the current political situation in Poland and, in a broader perspective, show the reasons of Central-European national awakenings. These historical essays derive their political meaning from past events, when the collapse of legality, the liminal situation of normativity makes place for a new form of national mobilization toward a more cohesive community. Borrowing the vocabulary of political philosophy, one could say that the crucial issue rearising in those theo-political essays is the state of exception, which is, by Rymkiewicz’s understanding, every historical crisis of the legal frame ensuing from the crash of an ontic structure, as a necessary condition for the emergence of ex-legal national sovereignty. That leitmotiv of manifesting ‘Polishness’ on the threshold of legality is interesting especially in the context of the modern European nationalism and its Polish variation in particular, affirmatively presented in Rymkiewicz’s works. Here, human beings, thrown into the margin of the law, reduced by the suspension of legality to bare life, are surprisingly considered as the hard core of national community formed in the fall of state and legal system in the phantom body of the sovereign. Characteristic of a state of exception logic, a structural abandonment like this becomes the ontological ground of the Polish nation. Most importantly, the essayist problematizes this crisis-driven emergence and constitution of national community in the context of affective alertness, asking about ‘moods’ generated in the state of abandonment – ‘moods’ that open to the national being-with-others (and, in its dark reverse, being-without-others stimulating practices of exclusion). Taking into account Heidegger’s works from his infamous rectorate, when in the state of exception as a sinister normality in the III Reich German philosopher grasped Volk’s attuning to being-the-nation, I will rest my method on an analogical analytical strategy, trying to grasp affectiveness in Rymkiewicz’s essay called Wieszanie (Hanging). The effects of abandonment, such as – to list them after Heidegger – desolation, boredom and emptiness, in that way appear as a ‘moody’ opening to being-Polish.