Civilizing Influence: Kathryn Ciancia explores how “civilization” has been used to include and exclude certain groups.

Kathryn Ciancia’s fascination with how people have historically mobilized the idea of “civilization” began with the stories her Polish grandfather shared.

As a child growing up in a town near Liverpool in the United Kingdom, Ciancia, now an associate professor of history, would listen to him describe his childhood in Poland in the 1920s. He would talk about his own father, who maintained the bridge over the Vistula River, which had, prior to the First World War, marked the border between the Russian and Habsburg empires. When the family had to travel beyond their village, they preferred to go to what had formerly been part of the Habsburg empire because they believed that levels of civilization were higher there[…]