Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Karen Marie Majewski  

Pen Name: Karen Majewski, Karen M. Majewski

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1955 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Karen Marie Majewski on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

She was born in Chicago, Illinois in the heavily-Polish ''Back of the Yards'' neighborhood. She spent most of her childhood in the nearby suburb of Oak Lawn and graduated from Southern Illinois University.

Biographical and Professional Information

Majewski is a scholar, researcher and community activist. She was the associate professor of Polish and East Central European studies, from 1994-2003 at St. Mary's College in Orchard Lake, Michigain. She has been the curator of the Polish book collection for the Orchard Lake Schools since 1998. She is a member of the Dekaban Foundation board of directors.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Traitors and True Poles: Narrating a Polish-American Identity, 1880–1939 (Polish and Polish American Studies)
ISBN: 0821414690

Ohio University Press. 2003

During Poland’s century-long partition and in the interwar period of Poland's reemergence as a state, Polish writers on both sides of the ocean shared a preoccupation with national identity. Polish-American immigrant writers revealed their persistent, passionate engagement with these issues, as they used their work to define and consolidate an essentially transnational ethnic identity that was both tied to Poland and independent of it.

By introducing these varied and forgotten works into the scholarly discussion, Traitors and True Poles recasts the literary landscape to include the immigrant community’s own competing visions of itself. The conversation between Polonia’s creative voices illustrates how immigrants manipulated often difficult economic, social, and political realities to provide a place for and a sense of themselves. What emerges is a fuller picture of American literature, one vital to the creation of an ethnic consciousness.

This is the first extended look at Polish-language fiction written by turn-of-the-century immigrants, a forgotten body of American ethnic literature. Addressing a blind spot in our understanding of immigrant and ethnic identity and culture, Traitors and True Poles challenges perceptions of a silent and passive Polish immigration by giving back its literary voice.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)