Email Address


Comparative Industrial


Comparative Development


Courtney Jung

Korycki, Kate


Memory as Politics: Narratives of Communism and the Shape of a Community


I am a comparative political sociologist interested in the articulation of identities, collective memories and group imaginaries. In my dissertation I developed a politicized collective memory framework to help me analyze how political elites engage the past to constitute and maintain social divisions. To develop my theory, I compared and systematically examined the narratives of communism woven by major political parties in post-transition Poland. I traced how those narratives divided the political field, how they legitimated the post-transition order, and how they constituted a particular vision of common belonging.

My work challenges the political parties literature by developing a concept of a new capital – I call it mnemonic – to describe a powerful political resource that parties amass and deploy in their search for power. It expands the democratic transitions literature by theorizing how a political field continues to be organized by the repudiated ancien régime, now inserted into the political space as a productive symbolic trope. It intervenes in race and ethnicity literature by tracking how states are implicated in the constitution of subjects, and how the narratives of the past are used to justify, or challenge, the differentiated (unequal) subject positions. Finally, my work redefines the collective memory literature by theoretically and empirically expanding its scope from the politics of commemoration to politics writ large.


  • “Politicized Memory in Poland: Anti-communism and the Holocaust.” Holocaust Studies, 2018 (R&R).
  • “Out of Gay and into Class Closet: Sara Dezalay, Kate Korycki and Anna Zawadzka talk about concepts of race, gender and class in Didier Eribon and Édouard Louis.” Studia Literaria et Historica, 2018 (R&R).
  • “Memory and Politics in Post-Transition Space: the Case of Poland.” East European Politics and Societies and Cultures. 31, Issue 3, August 2017. Pages: 518-544 (Peer Reviewed/In Print).
  • ““To Kill an Indian in the Child,” on Cultural Genocide and Transitional Justice in Canada: Interview with Kate Korycki” (by Anna Zawadzka). Studia Literaria et Historica, No. 5, 2016, pages 1-15. (Peer Reviewed/In Print).
  • “Desire Recast: Production of Gay Identity in Iran,” (with Abouzar Nasirzadeh). Journal of Gender Studies. 25, Issue 1, 2016, pages 50-65 (Peer Reviewed/In Print).
  • Best Section Paper, 2011 American Political Science Association conference.
  • “Homophobia as a tool of Statecraft: Iran and its Queers” (with Abouzar Nasirzadeh). In Meredith L. Weiss and Michael J. Bosia (eds.) Global Homophobias: States, Movements, and the Politics of Oppression. University of Illinois Press. 2013, pages 174-196 (Peer Reviewed/In Print).

Research Interests

Comparative Politics, Identity Politics, Collective Memory, Race and Ethnicity, European Politics, East European Politics.

Previous Degrees

  • MA, Political Science, McGill University, 2006
  • BA (Honours), Public Administration and Governance, Ryerson University, 2004

Teaching Experience

  • Obtained the Advanced University Teaching Preparation Certificate (AUTP) from the University of Toronto (2016-2017); completed Teaching in Higher Education course (THE500) at the School of Graduate Studies and Woodsworth College, University of Toronto (2016).
  • Developed and delivered an Order and Disorder (WDW151/152) course at Woodsworth College, University of Toronto (2017-2018); and Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS260) course at the Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs (2011).
  • Participated in the curriculum renewal at the University of Toronto as a Lead Writing Teaching Assistant in the Political Science Department. The program helped faculty and Teaching Assistants integrate writing instruction into their teaching (2013-2015).
  • Participated in the development, management and delivery of International Networks course (POL108) as a Head Tutor to 10 Teaching Assistants and 750 first-year students.
  • Acted as a Teaching Assistant in the upper level courses in Canadian Policy (POLI 321) and International Organizations (POLI 345) at McGill University; and multiple level courses in International Networks (POL108), Democracy War and Peace (POL101), Politics of Development (POL201), Order and Disorder (WDW151/152), Sexual Diversity Politics (JPU315), and Enlarging Europe: The European Union and its Applicants (POL359) at the University of Toronto.