Portrait photo Alicja Gescinska

Bio Alicja Gescinska

Who am I? The question is more complex than might seem at first. I am usually referred to as a Polish-Belgian philosopher and writer, sometimes as a Polish-Flemish one, or a Belgian one with Polish roots.

I was born in Warsaw, in communist Poland. When I was seven, my parents decided to leave the country and its problems behind. We fled to Belgium, where we stayed in a refugee center in Brussels. It was a short period of my life, but the memories of which are deeply and permanently engraved in my mind. Ater a few months we moved to Lede, an East-Flemish town, where I went to school and learned the Dutch language. At home we continued to speak Polish.

Already at a young age, I had to find an answer to questions about my identity: who am I, what am I doing here, where do I come from, where do I want to go from here?

My love for philosophy might have emerged just there: in my childhood, when I saw myself confronted with an endless chain of seemingly easy questions and each answer entailed new questions.

Many of those questions echo in my philosophical work. They are the point of departure of a quest that led me to the paths I am still walking, and where I sometimes still get lost.

There are many possible answers to the questions who I am. Here are a few important events in my life:

In 1981 I was born.

In 1988 we moved to Belgium.

In 2007 I graduated summa cum laude in Moral Sciences at Ghent University.

From 2007-2008 I lived in my hometown again, to do research at Warsaw University.

In 2008 I began working on my Ph.D at Ghent University.

In 2011 my book De verovering van de vrijheid was published, and my first son was born.

In 2012 I became Doctor of Philosophy, after having finished my dissertation on the thought of Max Scheler and Karol Wojtyla.

In 2013 I gave birth to my second son. Three months later we moved to the US.

From 2013-2014 I worked at the Politics Department of Princeton University.

In 2014 my book on the life and work of the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski was published.

From 2014-2016 I worked at Amherst College, where I taught courses in philosophy and European politics.

In 2016 my debut novel Een soort van liefde was published, as well as my essay Allmensch. At the end of the academic year we returned to Belgium, I made Wanderlust, a philosophical television program, and my third son was born.

In 2017 my novel Een soort van liefde was awarded De Debuutprijs. The second season of Wanderlust was broadcast on Canvas.

This is, in a nutshell, the road I have taken. Of greater importance however, is the road still ahead. I don’t know where that road will lead me, but I do know what I will be doing on that road: thinking and writing. Both personally and philosophically, I am always on the road, always looking for what’s next, never completely at home.