Dr Michal Palacz

BA, MA, PhD

Post Doctoral Research Assistant

School of History, Philosophy and Culture

Michal Palacz

Role

Michał Adam Palacz joined Oxford Brookes University in May 2016 as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant. He received a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh, after graduating from Jacobs University Bremen and University of Bremen in Germany. 

Dr Palacz is a transnational historian of medicine and migration, focusing on the late modern period. He is currently working with Professor Paul Weindling on a collaborative research project funded by the Max Planck Society: “Brain research at the institutes of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in the context of National Socialist injustices: Brain specimens at the institutes of the Max Planck Society and the identification of the victims”.

Research

History of medicine; Migration history; Transnational history; Modern global history

Michał Adam Palacz's doctoral thesis focused on the Polish School of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh (1941-1949), an autonomous medical faculty which was set up for Polish refugees during the Second World War. The interconnections between medicine and migration in modern global history are recurring themes in his ongoing research.

His main areas of interest are:

  • Polish colonial ambitions in the interwar period
  • refugees from Poland during and after the Second World War
  • victims and pereptrators of human experiments and unethical medical research under National Socialism
  • typhus epidemics in German-occupied Poland   

Dr Palacz is currently working with Professor Paul Weindling on a research project funded by the Max Planck Society: “Brain research at the institutes of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in the context of National Socialist injustices: Brain specimens at the institutes of the Max Planck Society and the identification of the victims”. This international project, undertaken in collaboration with researchers in Munich and Vienna, will last until October 2023 and will result in a series of academic publications as well as a relational database of victims and pepretrators and a memorial book with short victim biographies.

Research group membership

Migration and Refugees Network at Oxford Brookes University 

Research grants and awards

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw awarded to pursue archival research for a project entitled “Typhus Epidemic in German-Occupied Poland, 1939-1940: A Prosopography of Victims”. Period of Award: 1 September 2019 - 30 November 2019. 
  • The Polish School of Medicine in Edinburgh 70th Anniversary Ph.D. Scholarship awarded by the University of Edinburgh and funded from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and the Polish School of Medicine Historical Collection Fund. Period of award: 1 September 2011 - 31 August 2014.

 

Research projects

Current research projects:

  • Post-Doctoral Research Assistant: “Brain research at the institutes of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in the context of National Socialist injustices: Brain specimens at the institutes of the Max Planck Society and the identification of the victims”, funded by the Max Planck Society, 1 September 2017 - 31 October 2023.

Previous research projects:

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow: “Typhus Epidemic in German-Occupied Poland, 1939-1940: A Prosopography of Victims”, funded by the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, 1 September 2019 - 30 November 2019
  • Post-Doctoral Research Assistant: “Pharmacological Procedures at Auschwitz Causing Amenorrhea, Miscarriages and Possible Infertility”, funded by Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, 1 November 2018 - 28 February 2019. 
  • Post-Doctoral Research Assistant: “Human Experiments and Coercive Research under National Socialism”, funded by the Wellcome Trust, 16 May 2016 - 31 August 2017. 

Research impact

  • Michał Adam Palacz wrote an online article “The Polish School of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh (1941-1949)” which is available at the Polish Scottish Heritage Project website.
  • Dr Palacz was also interviewed for a short documentary video “Polish Scottish Academic Heritage” by Pawel Nuckowski and Robert Motyka which was publicly displayed at the Scottish Parliament on 27-31 October 2014 and is now available on YouTube

Publications

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Teaching and supervision

Courses

Modules taught

  • The Crisis of the West
  • World at War

Professional information

Conferences

Workshops  organised:

  • "Unwilling Nomads: The Transnational Consequences of Forced Migration in Europe, 1910-1955", Oxford Brookes University (online), 15-16 October 2017
  • "Migrants & Refugees: Histories, Memoirs and Narratives", Oxford Brookes University, 24 March 2017

Selected conference papers:

  • “The role of German Vertrauensärzte in the compensation of victims of Nazi medical experiments”, Workshop on Compensation for the Victims of Nazi Medical Experiments, German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina, Halle (Saale), Germany (November 2019).
  • “Challenging national periodization in the history of medicine: a case study of Polish refugee anaesthetists", Rethinking Period Boundaries: Hidden Continuities and Discontinuities in European History and Literature from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Conference, University of Oxford (May 2018).
  • “Migration and Medicine: The Case of Polish Refugees in Britain”, History Research Day, Oxford Brookes University (January 2017).
  • “Towards a Transnational History of Polish Medical Refugees in Great Britain: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges”, Persecution, Forced Migration and Resettlement of Medical Practitioners, Medical Scientists, and Healthcare Occupations 1930s/40s, German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina, Halle (Saale), Germany (September 2016).
  • “The Theory and Practice of ‘Diasporic Religion’ at the Polish School of Medicine in Edinburgh, 1941-1949”, Edinburgh History of Christianity Conference, School of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh (May 2014).
  • “All Roads Lead to Edinburgh: A Theoretical Study of the Polish Medical Refugee Movement, 1941-1949”, Forced Migration: Global Perspectives and Practices, UCL Migration Research Unit Student Conference, University College London (June 2013).