prof. dr hab. Justyna Olko
- University of Warsaw
- Faculty of„Artes Liberales”
- Center for Research and Practice in Cultural Continuity
Prof. Dr hab. Justyna Olko – historian, sociolinguist and ethnologist; head of the Centre for Research and Practice in Cultural Continuity at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” at the University of Warsaw. Dr hab. Olko specializes in the study of the (inter)cultural, socio-political and linguistic history of Mesoamerica, with a special emphasis on the Nahua Indians, as well as cultural and linguistic contact; she also works on the problems of minority languages, linguistic and cultural diversity, the trauma and empowerment of indigenous groups from a historical and contemporary perspective, as well as the meaning of local languages for the health and well-being of their users. She is actively involved in revitalizing endangered ethnic minority languages, also by supporting various grass-roots revitalization initiatives launched by local communities. She is the first woman in Poland and the first representative of the humanities and social sciences to have won the ERC grant twice. In 2012, she was awarded the first Starting Grant ever in the Polish humanities for a project entitled ”Europe and America in Contact: A Multidisciplinary Study of Cross-Cultural Transfer in the New World Across Time”, which dealt with the mechanisms of cross-cultural transfer between Europe and America from the 16th century, through the colonial period, all the way to the present day. In 2020, she received an ERC Consolidator grant for another project, ”Multilingual worlds – neglected histories. Uncovering their emergence, continuity and loss in past and present societies”.
In 2014-2016, she coordinated a project entitled “Engaged humanities in Europe” (EC Twinning Programme, Horizon 2020), which was recognized as a “success story” of the European Commission. Dr hab. Justyna Olko is also a winner of the Focus and TEAM programmes organized by the Foundation for Polish Science, under which she is currently carrying out a project entitled Language as a cure: linguistic vitality as a tool for psychological well-being, health and economic sustainability. In November 2020, she won the Falling Walls 2020 competition in the humanities and social sciences category for ”breaking down the walls between academia and local communities for linguistic diversity”. She has authored and co-authored a number of books, including Insignia of Rank in the Nahua World (University Press of Colorado, 2014), Dialogue with Europe, Dialogue with the Past. Colonial Nahua and Quechua Elites in Their Own Words (University Press of Colorado & University of Utah, 2018), Revitalizing Endangered Languages. A Practical Guide (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and Loans in Colonial and Modern Nahuatl. A Contextual Dictionary (Mouton de Gruyter, 2020). In 2013, she was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Burgen Fellowship Academia Europaea; since 2018, she has sat on the Council of the National Science Centre.