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The Papers of Janina and Zygmunt Bauman

Bauman collection guide image

Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was Professor of Sociology at Leeds from 1972 to 1990, and was appointed Emeritus Professor in 2004. He is celebrated as one of the greatest thinkers of recent times, and his ideas have proved hugely influential around the world, particularly in South America and Southern Europe.

His first wife, Janina Bauman (1926-2009) was a noted author.

The Bauman’s archives are extremely rich, and cover a huge number of subjects. Some of the key areas are:

  • Sociology
  • Politics
  • Philosophy
  • Culture
  • Education
  • Jewish Identity and history
  • Gypsies
  • Holocaust and genocide studies
  • Literary studies : Autobiography, diary and memoir
  • 20th and 21st century questions of modernity, postmodernism, socialism, globalisation, capitalism, communism, consumerism, racism, culture, immigration, social media

One of Zygmunt's key works, Liquid Modernity, analysed the consequences of the disappearance of the traditional institutions and structures of society. The struggle between states and capitalist markets and its adverse effects on the most vulnerable in society was another theme he returned to several times.  He also wrote extensively on the gaps between elites and the rest of society, the resurgence of the far right and the rise of consumer culture at the expense of engagement with society.

He was an incredibly prolific author, writing more than 40 works just in the period between his retirement in 1990 and his death. He was also a tireless speaker, delivering papers and lectures at a seemingly endless series of international conferences. He contributed reviews, columns and editorials to newspapers across the world, and his photography was exhibited internationally.

Janina's memoir of life in the Warsaw ghetto during World War 2, Winter in the Morning, was a big influence on Modernity and the Holocaust. This is probably Bauman’s best-known book, arguing that valuing process and state functions over morals and humanity could easily lead to further genocide.

Zygmunt Bauman always intended that his and Janina’s papers should become available for research, and he made the first donations of material to the Library before he died. His family and the Bauman Institute donated the main part of the papers following his death. The archive has been catalogued as part of a wider University project to mark Bauman’s legacy.

How the collection is arranged

The archive is divided into the following sections:

Papers of Janina Bauman

This material relates to Janina’s writing and professional career, and contains:

  • Published works
  • Other works by or associated with Janina Bauman
  • Reference and research papers
  • Correspondence
  • Financial and legal papers
  • Reviews of Janina Bauman’s works

Papers of Zygmunt Bauman

This is the largest section of the archive, with very extensive series of material covering:

  • Works by Zygmunt Bauman, mainly published books and articles
  • Reference material and draft papers
  • Financial and legal papers
  • Travel – papers relating to tours and conferences
  • Correspondence
  • Academic works about Zygmunt Bauman, for example theses
  • Press and publications
  • Honours and awards
  • Personal papers

Papers of Janina and Zygmunt Bauman

This material relates to both Janina and Zygmunt Bauman, and includes:

  • Obituaries and condolences
  • Ephemera – personal items and souvenirs that belonged to Janina and Zygmunt Bauman
  • Digital files – currently still being processed
  • Multimedia – videos, audiobooks and recordings

Print items of Janina and Zygmunt Bauman

Along with the archive, the Bauman family also donated a large number of books and journals. The majority of these are works by Zygmunt Bauman in dozens of different languages. There are also some works by Janina Bauman, and some books about Bauman’s work and theories. Cataloguing of these will form a future part of the project.