Harold’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Poland’s Europe: A Social History of Poland and its ‘West,’ 1953–1983,” shows Poland as a microcosm of Europe’s 20th century. Examining state and social actors as mutually constitutive, it charts Poland’s relationship with an ever-present ‘West,’ at once real and imagined. It argues that this relationship both antedated and survived the Cold War, and that Poland’s relationship to the West was a perpetually negotiated part of daily life. The dissertation thus reevaluates the idea of a culturally divided twentieth-century Europe; it questions whether differing visions of the post-war good life were as diametrically opposed as they were once portrayed; and it seeks to recover an alternative to the idea of European modernity that triumphalism has often obscured.
Harold is also interested in the history of social movements, urban geography, transnational and global history, and social theory writ large. Harold holds a BA in Philosophy from Reed College and a MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.