Transregional Center for Democratic Studies

Junior Research Scholars

Visiting Scholars

2023-2024 academic year

Aneta Kohoutová is a PhD candidate from the Czech Republic. She considers herself an active urban citizen. Her everyday practice corresponds to the area of her research: The ethics of public space. Such is also the topic of her Ph.D. thesis she is currently working on as a student of the Centre for Ethics (Pardubice, CZ, since 2019). Her research deals with different philosophical approaches towards citizenship, sense of belonging, power relations, and various layers of public spaces. During the academic year 2021/2022, she was a visiting researcher at the University of Tartu, Estonia, where she worked on a project concerning the distinction between private and public in the light of Hannah Arendt’s philosophy. In her writing, she applies theoretical frameworks to a lived real experience in order to understand how the built and lived environment are mutually intertwined.

Her articles are published in the Czech biweekly magazine A2 in the section called Public Space. She is a member of the Local Government Committee and the founder of a small community center with an outdoor sauna called NUUK.

Tadeusz Koczanowicz is a two-year Mobility postdoc at the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at the New School sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation. He holds a PhD from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Zurich. The title of his thesis was “Community of Refugees: The Experience of Exile in Edward Abramowski’s Thought and Its Modern Reconfigurations”. It examined the impact of the experience of exile on the concept of non-state socialism created by Abramowski, a nineteenth-century Polish sociologist and psychologist.

This perspective placed Abramowski’s ideas within the context of modern discussions about the end of the nation-state and the status of a refugee in social, political and cultural thought. Before coming to Zurich, Tadeusz earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology and Social Anthropology and a master’s degree in Polish culture at the University of Warsaw and studied German culture and language at the Free University of Berlin as a Erasmus student. He was also a lecturer at The SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw. 

Project Title: Community of Refugees: Alternatives to the Nation-State from Europe’s Periphery 

My project is motivated by the central question: it is possible to have a fundamental political polity that is not based on the concept of nation or nation-state?  By non-national and non-state community I mean one based on mutual concern, friendship, and respect that transcends national and ethnic values. Such a community was proposed by the nineteenth-century Polish thinker and political refugee Edward Abramowski, who called it a “union of friendship”. While his critique of the nation-state was holistic and thorough, the “union of friendship” was more of a call for a new way forward than a fully elaborated proposal. I would like to further develop Abramowski’s critique of the nation-state by bringing it into dialogue with modern concepts of community proposed by two other political refugees from the peripheries who envisioned alternative forms of political organization: Hannah Arendt, who was from the borderlands of the Prussian Empire, and the Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman.


The New School for Social Research
6 East 16th St., Rm 921, NY, NY 10003
212-229-5100 ext. 3136

Elzbieta Matynia, Director
212-229-5580 ext. 3137

Lala Pop, Program Manager,
PhD Student, Politics
212-229-5100 ext. 3136

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