Interview with David Ost--July 24 and 25, 2013
Interview with David Ost, Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Interview conducted in Ithaca, NY in two parts, on July 24 and 25, 2013. Ost specializes in political economy, democratization, capitalism, and labor and is the author of one of the seminal works on Polish Solidarity titled Solidarityand the Politics of Anti-Politics (1990). He also wrote another prize-winning book, The Defeat of Solidarity: Anger and Politicsin Postcommunist Society (2005).
Interview Themes: Part I - July 24, 2013: How Ost went from studying History and Russian to Political Science (0:43); On the interest of members of Ost's generation in the East Bloc (15:28); Interactions with young people in the USSR in the 1970s (20:51); Ost's first visit to Poland in 1976 (29:18); On whether Ost has a secret police file on him (33:20); How Ost came to translate Adam Michnik's The Church and the Left (34:11); Ost's impressions on meeting Michnik (41:55); How Ost's two books came into being and how they're related (49:24) -- Part II - July 25, 2013: How Ost came to be interested in labor history and how he sees class operating in the political realm (0:08); Were there classes in Poland under communism? (6:33); How uniquely Polish is the nature of class in Poland? (10:55); What were the backgrounds of people in Poland who came to belong to different classes after the collapse of communism? (14:15); Why the younger generation is interested in thinking about class again (20:09); Ost's experiences teaching at the Central European University in Budapest and in Wrocław at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities there (24:47); On students in Poland writing up their family member's experiences of work under communism and after (33:08); Ost's activity as a public intellectual, writing for venues like The Nation, Newsweek Polska, the Chicago Tribune and other venues (35:23); Transformations in area studies for the field and Ost's views on them (49:21); Ost's current intellectual interests and directions (56:25)