Prison was a central pillar of communism and an experience shared by generations of eastern Europeans. The USA today can also be described as a carceral society, its prison system the expression of a ‘new Jim Crow’. What does the comparison mean for the definition of the ‘political prisoner’? A conversation.
Irena Grudzińska Gross
Literary critic and historian of ideas. Irena Grudzińska Gross was involved in student movement and emigrated from her native Poland after the unrest of 1968. She resumed her studies in Italy and received her PhD from Columbia University in 1982. She taught courses in East European literature and history at several universities and was 2018 Fellow at the Guggenheim Foundation. She is now Professor in the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Science. Her books include Miłosz and the Long Shadow of War (2020); Golden Harvest (with Jan T. Gross), (2012); Czesław Miłosz and Joseph Brodsky: Fellowship of Poets (2009); and The Scar of Revolution: Tocqueville, Custine and the Romantic Imagination (1995).