ZfL INFO 108/2022: UNDIPUS project: Decolonizing Ukrainian Studies
Decolonizing Ukrainian Studies
Panel discussion and workshop organized by the project (Un)Disciplined: Pluralizing Ukrainian Studies – Understanding Ukrainian War (UNDIPUS) funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) in collaboration with the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) and the ZfL.
Navigating Ukrainian Studies in Time of War
When: December 8 (Thursday), 18.30
Venue: Zentrum für Osteuropa- und internationale Studien (ZOiS), Mohrenstraße 60, 10117 Berlin
Ever since Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Ukraine has been the focus of attention not only in German public and scientific discourse, but also on a global scale. What many events on the topic have shown, however, is that the study of the ongoing war and its effects on Ukrainian society and culture, as well as the study of Ukraine in general, are often characterised by an ethically underpinned strategic narrowing of methodological approaches and analytical tools. The conscious inclusion of Ukrainian voices did not bring a significant change here. All the more so, since many Ukrainian speakers demanded an outright “cancelling” of Russian culture as the imperial culture and the culture of the aggressor. Attempts to de-radicalise the discourse were, in turn, often dismissed as ‘westsplaining,’ thus ruling out an assessment of intercultural influences and entanglements.
In what way should (and can) Ukraine—and the war in Ukraine—be researched and discussed in all their complexity? How can historical, political, economic and social as well as cultural entanglements be adequately addressed? Which issues or methodological approaches are especially contentious due to ethical considerations or because they presumably ‘play into the hands of the aggressor’? How could a re-orientation of East European and Slavic Studies towards Ukraine and other ‘minor’ cultures be carried out on a methodological, institutional, and structural level? In what ways can the results of such a re-orientation be transferred to decision- and policymakers?
- Prof. Dr. Gwendolyn Sasse
- Prof. Dr. Roman Dubasevych
- Dr. Maria Mayerchyk
- Chair: Dr. Matthias Schwartz
Decolonizing Ukrainian Studies
When: December 9 (Friday), 9.30–18.00
Venue: Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Aufgang B, 3. Et.
The rhetoric of decolonization has been used increasingly with respect to Ukraine since 2014, and even more so after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion on 24 February 2022. In public and academic discourse, decolonization of Ukraine predominantly means resistance to Russian (and, less often, western) imperial powers that deny Ukrainian agency and its cultural and political self-determination. Examples of this approach range from the military struggle against the Russian hegemonic aspirations to widespread calls to “cancel the Russian culture,” that is, to cleanse Ukraine from the influence of the “russkii mir” (“Russian world”). While the latter is perceived as Ukraine’s toxic and destructive Other, its main obstacle “on the way to Europe” or implementation of “European values”, there is also growing criticism of western academic and human rights institutions for “westsplaining” the war or denying Ukraine’s agency and subjectivity.
Following these debates, the workshop seeks to relate the contemporary discussion on the decolonization of Ukraine to the conceptual apparatus developed within transnational postcolonial and decolonial studies. In doing so, we hope to explore its analytic potential with respect to Ukraine and develop new ideas and theoretical models for understanding the current war. Keeping in focus the complexity and dynamic character of global colonial relations, the workshop aims to facilitate scholarly dialogue about the prospects of Ukrainian Studies’ decolonization project, given the growing political instrumentalization of the decolonial terminology.
Please register in advance with Alexander Chertenko, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Session 1: Problematizing Colonial Logics and Legacies: Post- and Decolonial Theories
- Keynote: Ina Kerner (University of Koblenz-Landau)
Session 2: Ukraine’s Reconstruction through Economic Integration: Forward to What (Post-Colonial) Capitalism?
- Keynote: Inna Melnykovska (Central European University)
Session 3: Eastern Europe in the Global History of Decolonization
- Keynote: James Mark (University of Exeter)
Session 4: Art and Literature
- Moderators: Aleksander Chertenko (Justus Liebig University Giessen) and Roman Dubasevych (University of Greifswald)
- Closing remarks