Barbara Bienias, PhD

12.05.2020 | 13.01.2022

Assistant Professor

History of Exact Sciences Research Unit

Room: A02

Phone: +48 22 65 72 836

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, 10.30am–1.30pm


ORCID: 0000-0002-1294-7846


Academic interests

  • Science and culture in 16th– and 17th-century England
  • History of astronomy
  • Epistemology in the early modern period
  • Semiotics of culture

Education, academic degrees and titles

  • 2014 PhD in the Humanities, Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw; dissertation title: Literature as a store of patterns for creative imitation. Aesthetic mimesis and social mimicry in England in the years 1586–1603
  • 2007–2008 Postgraduate Preliminary PhD Programme comprising seminars on British literature, sociology, philosophy, semiotics, history of ideas, and anthropology; Artes Liberales Academy, University of Warsaw
  • 2006 MA in British Literature and Culture, Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw (within the College of Interfaculty Individual Studies in the Humanities [MISH]); diploma with distinction; dissertation title: Instances of Insomnia in Shakespeare’s Plays – A Portrayal; diploma supplement: psychology, anthropology, semiotics, and art history studies


  • Sep 2015– Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Oct 2013–Sep 2015 Lecturer at the University of Social Sciences in Warsaw; courses taught: A Survey of English Literature
  • Oct 2009–Sep 2012 Lecturer at the Institute of English Studies (University of Warsaw); courses taught: Information Technologies

Participation in national and international research project

  • 2015–2018 team member in a grant research project: “Tradition and Novelty: Copernicanism, the Idea of a Plurality of Worlds, and Astrology in Edward Gresham’s (1565–1613) Astrostereon” funded by the National Science Centre (NCN, OPUS 8, DEC-2014/15/B/HS3/02490), Principal Investigator: Prof. dr hab. Jarosław Włodarczyk; works on the first critical edition of Edward Gresham’s astronomical treatise Astrostereon (1603).
  • 2018– team member in a grant project “The correspondence of Johannes Hevelius, Polish correspondents and the transmission of scholarly knowledge”, funded by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the National Programme for the Development of Humanities, 2015–2018, module “Tradition” 1.b, no. 1bH 15 0427 83, Oct 2015 – Oct 2018.
  • 2004–2006 research project organized by the International School of Humanities (OBTA, University of Warsaw) in cooperation with the University of Saskatchewan (Canada):
  • February 2006 Shakespeare’s Comedies – Prof. William E. Slights
  • April 2005 Shakespeare’s Histories – Prof. David J. Parkinson
  • April 2004 Shakespeare’s Tragedies – Prof. Judith Henderson

Membership in scientific councils and editorial boards of journals and publishing series

  • 2019– “Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki” – Editorial Assistant

Membership in scientific societies and organisations

  • member of the Admissions Committee for the Anthropos Doctoral School (Polish Academy of Sciences) for the 2019/20 and 2020/2021 academic years
  • 2020– member of the Ourania Network (Johns Hopkins University–Cambridge University) devoted to the study of Astronomical Cultures in the Ancient and Premodern Worlds
  • 2020– member of Laboratorium Semiotyczne [Semiotics Laboratory], Faculty of Artes Liberales, University of Warsaw
  • 2020– member of the Library Commission at the Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Science
  • Sep 2018– secretary of the Chapter of the Jan Jędrzejewicz Award
  • Sep 2018– member of the European Society for the History of Science (ESHS)
  • Member of the Organising Committee of the international conference Nicolaus Copernicus in the 21st Century: Context, Resources, Methods (Warsaw, 21 May 2018)
  • Nov 2017– elected member of the London Bibliographical Society

Selected publications


  • Keith Johnstone, IMPRO: spontaniczne kreowanie świata, tłum. Barbara Bienias, Maria Frączek, redakcja: Oskar Hamerski, Joanna Targoń; PWST im. Ludwika Solskiego w Krakowie, Kraków 2013, wyd. I.

Chapters in edited volumes

  • “Three Henries and the Dashed Hopes of the Early Stuart Dynasty” [w]: Childhood in the English Renaissance, ed. Anna Müller, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier 2013, s. 89–102.
  • “There are two heads to every coin – The image of the Other in Sir Walter Raleigh’s Discovery of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful Empire of Guiana” [w:] Premières rencontres avec l’autre dans les cultures anglophones, L’Harmattan, Paris 2010, s. 35–43.
  • “The Freedom of Art, The Art of Freedom – Sir Philip Sidney’s Apology for Poetry and George Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie”, [w:] Ambiguity and the Search for Meaning: English and American Studies at the Beginning of the 21st Century, Volume 1, red. Monika Coghen, Zygmunt Mazur i Beata Piątek, Jagiellonian University Press, Kraków 2010, s. 67–76.
  • “‘Thy necessity is greater than mine’ – Sir Philip Sidney’s last virtuous act in a 19th-century perspective”, [w:]: From Queen Anne to Queen Victoria. Readings in 18th and 19th-century British literature and culture. Vol. 2, red. Grażyna Bystydzieńska, Emma Harris. Warszawa: Uniwersytet Warszawski. Ośrodek Studiów Brytyjskich 2010, s. 47–54.


  • The place of Edward Gresham’s ‘Astrostereon’ (1603) in the discussion on cosmology and the Bible in the early modern period, “The British Journal for the History of Science”, Vol. 53, No. 4, 2020, pp. 417-442, electronic publication Oct 2020, DOI:
  • Edward Gresham’s Astrostereon, or A Discourse of the Falling of the Planet (1603), the Copernican paradox, and the construction of early modern proto-scientific discourse, “Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A”, Vol. 82, 2020, p. 44-56, electronic publication 2019, DOI:
  • The Place of MS Sloane 3703 Among Early-Modern English Translations of the French Paraphrase of ‘Splendor solis’, “The Library” Vol. 20, No. 2, 2019, s. 224–229.
  • B. Bienias, J. Włodarczyk, Edward Gresham and Copernicanism in Shakespeare’s England, “Annual Report of the Polish Academy of Sciences” 2018, s. 10–12.
  • “Virgins or Whores? The Image of Renaissance Woman in Parlour Games in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello”, Acta Philologica, No.39, Wydział Neofilologii UW, Warszawa 2011, s. 29–36.
  • “Three Weddings and a Refusal? Family Ties and Social Order in Measure for Measure”, Acta Philologica, No.37, Wydział Neofilologii UW, Warszawa 2010, s. 37–43.

Review essays and reviews

  • Dan Falk: The Science of Shakespeare, A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe [recenzja], “Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki”, 2017, Rok LXII, nr 1, s. 110–114.


Conference and seminar papers

  • Early Modern Universe(s) seminar (Warszawa, IHN PAN), paper title: ‘A Forgotten Discourse: Edward Gresham’s Astrostereon (1603) and the Dissemination of Copernican Astronomy in England’;
  • September 2018, ESHS Conference, London; paper title: ‘Edward Gresham’s Astrostereon (1603) and the “Copernican Paradox”’;
  • May 2017, Libraries, Scholarship & Science at the Crossroads. From Nicholas Copernicus to John Dee, 1490-1610 seminar, Kraków, paper title: ‘Vanishing points. Edward Gresham’s Astrostereon (1603) manuscripts and the construction of the early modern scientific discourse’;
  • Apr 2017, SCIENTIAE’17 conference, Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy), paper title: ‘The place of Edward Gresham’s Astrostereon (1603) in the discussion on cosmology and the Bible in the early modern period’;
  • Oct 2014–Jun 2015; participation in the seminars organized by the Semiotics Laboratory at the Faculty of Artes Liberales, University of Warsaw;
  • May 2013, Marvellous Bodies. Corporeality in Literature conference, Madrid, Saint Louis University Madrid Campus (Spain); paper title: ‘Remember Me! Dismember Me! Elizabeth I’s Two Bodies in Early Modern Literary Accounts’;
  • Apr 2013, PASE Annual Conference Face to Face, Page to Page (Warszawa, OSB); paper title: ‘Royal illnesses – Shakespearean cures. Literature as a remedy in The Madness of King George (1994) and The King’s Speech (2010)’;
  • Feb 2012, Children and Childhood in the English Renaissance, Siegen University (Germany); paper title: ‘Three Henries and the dashed hopes of the early Stuart dynasty’;
  • Apr 2011, 12th April Conference (Kraków, UJ), paper title: ‘An English aristocrat at Harvard. Sir Philip Sidney’s legend in the age of global communication’;
  • Aug 2010, Mimesis, Ethics, and Style conference, University of Helsinki (Finland); paper title: ‘Social Order and Mimetic Representation at the Court of Elizabeth I’;
  • Oct 2009, From Queen Anne to Queen Victoria (Warszawa, OSB); paper title: ‘“Thy necessity is greater than mine” – Sir Philip Sidney’s last virtuous act in a 19th-century perspective’;
  • Apr 2008, 11th April Conference (Kraków, UJ), paper title: ‘The Freedom of Art, The Art of Freedom – Sir Philip Sidney’s An Apologie for poetrie and George Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie’;
  • Mar 2008, First encounters with the Other seminar, Pau (France); paper title: ‘The image of the Other in Sir Walter Raleigh’s Discovery of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful Empire of Guiana’;
  • May 2007, Śmierć, transformacja, powstanie z martwych w dawnych kulturach conference (Warszawa, OBTA); paper title: ‘Przedstawienie śmierci i pochówku w prozie podróżniczej Richarda Hakluyta i Sir Waltera Raleigha w kontekście renesansowych rytuałów pogrzebowych’;
  • Apr 2007, PASE Annual Conference, Szczyrk, (Poland); paper title: ‘Empty crowns and heads full of images. Semiotics of the crown in the selected plays by Shakespeare and Marlowe’.

Library research stays

  • Apr 2019 – London: British Library, Senate House Library
  • Mar 2018 – London: British Library
  • Jun 2017 – London: British Library, Lambeth Palace Library; Oxford: Bodleian Library
  • Dec 2015 – London: British Library; Oxford: Bodleian Library
  • May 2006 – London: British Library, Warburg Institute


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