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Department of Socio-Economic Geography

The Department of Socioeconomic Geography was established on 1 October 2019, and it operates as part of the Institute of Spatial Management and Urban Studies, one of three Institutes established within the structure of the College of Public Economy and Administration at the Cracow University of Economics.
The Department was established as a result of a new classification of scientific disciplines, corresponding changes in the University’s organization, and the implementation of the University’s new organizational structure, reflecting the new classification of scientific areas and disciplines introduced by the Act which identified a discipline referred to as “socioeconomic geography and spatial management”.
The Department originates from the Institute of Economic Geography, whose history goes back to the year 1925.

History of activities in 1925-1950 and 1958-2020



Despite the fact that the Institute of Economic Geography operated continuously for 61 years, it should be noted that economic geography as a subject has been taught since the very beginning of the existence of the University (the Higher School of Commerce, later renamed the Academy of Commerce), and the employed geographers represented various organizational units. The most  renowned scientists include Ludomir Sawicki, Jerzy Smoleński, Wiktor Ormicki, Walenty Winid, Józef Szaflarski, Władysław Milata, and Karol Bromek.


The beginnings of today’s University of Economics are marked by the activities of the Higher School of Commerce, which started its operations on 1 October 1925. Poland’s third university of economics was based in the building of a secondary school of economics at 2 Kapucyńska Str. In the autumn of 1925, the Institute of Economic Geography was established as part of its organizational structure, headed by professor of the Jagiellonian University Dr Ludomir Sawicki, and then his successor, another professor of the Jagiellonian University, Jerzy Smoliński, who was appointed in 1928. An increasing significance of geography led to the transforming of the Institute of Economic Geography into an independent Department of Economic Geography. It took place in 1938, after renaming the Higher School of Commerce into the Academy of Commerce, and the management of the Department was vested in the hands of Dr Walenty Winid, appointed the Academy’s contract professor. The Nazi occupation had a dramatic impact on sciences and the lives of geography professors, the then or previous faculty members of the Academy. They all died as prisoners of German concentration camps. On 6 November 1939, during the infamous event of Sonderaktion Krakau at the Jagiellonian University, the arrested professors included W. Winid, J. Smoleński and W. Ormicki. Professor Winid was released from Sachsenhausen in 1940, but he was arrested again on charges of clandestine education in 1943, and he died at Auschwitz on 19 January 1945. Prof. J. Smoleński died on 5 January 1940 at Sachsenhausen, and Dr Wiktor Ormicki was murdered on 17 September 1941 at Gusen (Mauthausen’ branch).


The Academy of Commerce resumed its operations right after the country’s liberation in 1945. In the spring of 1945, the Department of Economic Geography resumed its operations under the management of the doctor of the Jagiellonian University Józef Szaflarski. In 1947-50, the Department of Economic Geography was headed by Dr Władysław Milata. As a result of the state’s general policy aimed to liquidate private schools, the Academy of Commerce in Krakow, as of 26 October 1950, became a state organization and renamed the Higher School of Economics. The Department of Economic Geography ceased its activities, and the only unit which continued its operations was the Institute of Economic Geography. As of 31 December 1950, following W. Milata’s resignation form the position of assistant professor of the Higher School of Economics, the management board of the Institute of Economic Geography was not appointed, and the Institute practically ceased its activities. During a conference of the departments of economic geography of Higher Economics Schools, held in Warsaw from 19 to 21 May 1955, it was confirmed that the departments of geography of Higher Economics Schools in Krakow and Katowice (Stalinogrod) did not exist, and that courses in this discipline were offered as “contracted lectures”.


A unanimous resolution of 22 November 1957, passed by the Senate of the Higher School of Economics, resulted in establishing the Institute of Economic Geography within the structure of the Department of Commodity Science. It commenced its activities in September 1958 in its premises at 34 Rynek Główny (Main Market Square), under the name of the Institute of Economic Geography. The new unit was headed by assistant professor Dr Jan Janczyk. In 1964, the Institute was headed by  Dr hab. Andrzej Maryański (later promoted to professor). In 1969, the Institute was headed by Dr Mieczysław Mikulski, and the Institute was relocated to a teaching building at 27 Rakowicka Str.  (since 2004 based in the Finance Building). Dr Mikulski headed the Institute until 1992. In 1974, the Higher School of Economics was renamed the Academy of Economics, and the Institute of Economic Geography became a unit of the Department of Regional Economy (as of 1995). In 1993, Tadeusz Kudłacz (currently prof. Dr hab.) was appointed head of the Institute of Economic Geography. In 2012, the head of the Institute of Economic Geography was Dr hab. prof. of CUE Bogusław Luchter, who, since 2019, had also acted as head of the newly created Department of Socioeconomic Geography. Since 2020, the Department has been headed by Dr hab. Magdalena Zdun, prof. of CUE.

The Department cooperates with PAN’s Committee for the Country’s Spatial Management (the Polish Academy of Sciences), the City Development Institute, the Polish Geography Society, the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society (PTTK), and other institutions and organizations.


The Department has published a number of education handbooks including the following: Basics of Socioeconomic Geography, The Geography of World and Polish Population, Basic Methods of Socioeconomic Cartography, A Geographical Guide to World and Polish Socioeconomic Geography, Natural Basics of Doing Business, Krakow – an outline of economic and spatial changes.