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To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education

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Volume 9

European Anthropology in Translation

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To See a Moose

The History of Polish Sex Education

Agnieszka Kościańska
Foreword by Frances Pine
Translated from the Polish by Philip Palmer

354 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-060-1 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (May 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-061-8 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The author takes an extensive and informative tour of the development of sexual education, treating in a very entertaining and comprehensive way one of the most difficult fields to analyze within the study of sexuality… The book represents a great contribution to the ever-growing field of the history of sexuality from a perspective that has not been treated as much as it should be (although this is being corrected): sexual education in youth, a problematic and always controversial topic, as this work very well demonstrates.” • Dynamis

“[This is] an exciting addition to both research bibliographies and university syllabi. Like all the best anthropology, it has the quality of both being acutely attuned to a field site’s specificities and speaking to broader, global, processes and questions.” • Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

“These splendid examples of writing about sexuality in Eastern Europe provide for scholars of gender and historians of modern Europe many exciting discoveries and beckon us to rethink how we make sense of gender norms in the world of politics and social practice. The comparisons that all authors draw upon—either with other countries in the region, with Western Europe, or with the United States—convincingly question any assumptions that readers might still have about the “backwardness” of the region vis-à-vis the West or any broad generalizations about the conservative nature of the communist regimes. There are many questions that these books leave open for future research. We are collectively in their debt for their findings, which establish an excellent framework for other case studies, other comparisons, and further generalization… These scholars have given us the tools and incentives to continue the work.” • Aspasia

“The Author places her analysis in the context of today’s debates on sex education in Polish schools. It appears that the history of these debates is more complicated than one might think based on widespread narratives of progress: it does not lead from the backwardness of the early 20th century to conservatism and censorship of state socialism and to the wind of liberalism that came from the West during the postsocialist transformation.” • Etnografia Polska (Polish Ethnography)


Guiding the reader through the development of sex education in Poland, Agnieszka Kościańska looks at how it has changed from the 19th century to the present day. The book compares how sex was described in school textbooks, including those scrapped by the communists for fear of offending religious sentiments, and explores how the Catholic church retained its power in Poland under various regimes. The book also identifies the women and men who changed the way sex was written about in the country, and how they established the field of Polish sex education.

Agnieszka Kościańska is Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw. In 2021, she is Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies. She is the author and (co)editor of several volumes on gender and sexuality, including Gender, Pleasure and Violence (2021, Indiana University Press).

Subject: Anthropology (General)Gender Studies and SexualityHistory (General)
Area: Central/Eastern Europe

Listen to the author talking about To See a Moose:

Agnieszka Kościańska talks to Lukas Becht of RECET about the rich and fascinating history of sex education in the 20th century with a focus on Poland.


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