Heritage and Memory: Contested Borders and Transnationality in Lublin and Lviv

posted Jan 31, 2018, 2:17 PM by Mykola Makhortykh

In October 2017, as part of the Dual Masters in Heritage and Memory Studies at the University of Amsterdam, the students of the second year under the supervision of Dr. Zuzanna Dziuban and Prof. Dr. Rob van der Laarse went on an excursion to two Eastern European cities: Lviv in Ukraine and Lublin in Poland. In the course of the excursion, students conducted site analyses in various locations, varying from from campscapes to monuments, cemeteries to religious sites, museums to the urban fabric itself. The results of the research projects are freely available on the project's website and include class podcast and accompanying blog posts.

Ukraine: culture in conflict II

posted Oct 13, 2017, 3:28 AM by Mykola Makhortykh

When: 15 October (19:3021:00)
Castrum Peregrini (Herengracht 401, 1017 BP Amsterdam, Netherlands)
With: Ivan Krastev, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia,
Vasyl Cherepanyn, Visual Culture Research Centre, Kyiv and
Fleur de Weerd, journalist and former correspondent in Ukraine.

Moderated by Enrica Flores d’Arcais.
A programme in collaboration with the European Cultural Foundation.

Almost four years after the Euromaidan protests have started in Kyiv the violent conflict in Eastern Ukraine remains a fundamental geopolitical challenge for Europe, and continues to show repercussions in many EU member states, including the Netherlands.
Since January this year, Ukrainian citizens can travel to the European Union without visa. On the ground however, the conflict continues. Clashing memory politics and opposing (media) constructions of cultural identities seem to have further deepened the rifts in the country and the whole region.
This evening follows up on a similar discussion in spring 2015, when the images of the Euromaidan were still fresh. More than two years later panellists will discuss what has happened since. Is there a perspective for cultural reference points and narratives that would bridge rather than expand divides in Ukrainian society?

Price: € 7,50 reduced: € 5

PhD defense and follow-up lecture (September 27-28)

posted Sep 6, 2017, 1:59 PM by Mykola Makhortykh

UCS is glad to announce the upcoming two-day event: PhD defense of Mykola Makhortykh and lecture by Prof. Alexander Etkind. Both events are organized in collaboration with the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies and the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture.

Mykola Makhortykh, 'From Myths to Memes: Transnational Memory and Ukrainian Social Media'
September 27 (11:00, Aula of the University of Amsterdam)

The dissertation examines what occurs with Second World War memories in post-socialist countries with the advent of digitization. For this purpose, it looks into various instances of digital remembrance associated with two episodes of the Second World War in Ukraine – the events surrounding the seizure of L’viv by Germans in 1941 and the capture of Kyiv by Soviets in 1943 – to investigate how contentious war memories are performed in post-socialist digital spaces. Its findings point out the ambiguous interactions between social media and cultural remembrance in post-socialist countries, where digital technology is used both to reinforce hegemonic memory narratives and to sustain alternative visions of the past.

Mykola Makhortykh is a PhD candiate at the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture at the University of Amsterdam. His PhD research is focused on Second World War memory in Ukraine and how it is affected by the processes of de-Sovietization, nationalization and digitization that the country is currently undergoing. In his recent research, he has also explored the use of social media in the context of the Ukraine crisis and the role of cultural memory in securitization of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Alexander Etkind, 'The Kremlin Well: A Critical Theory of the Parasitic State'
September 28 (17:00, P.C.Hoofhuis, r. 5.31)

Energy Humanities is a new and booming field of international research, but Russian Studies eschew this field despite its obvious relevance. While economic dependence of post-Soviet Russia on its oil and gas industry has been well-known to scholars, political meanings and cultural repercussions of this situation have not been adequately studied. In this talk, I discuss Russia as a primary case for a new critical theory of resource-based capitalism, and I will illustrate this argument by sounds and images produced by contemporary culture.

Professor Alexander Etkind is Mikhail Bakhtin Professor of History and Russia-Europe Relations at the European University Institute (Florence), and coordinator of the EUI-funded research project Resources of Demodernization: Fossil Energy and Human Capital in the Political Economies across Eastern Europe (2017-2018). Among other books, Etkind authored Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied (Stanford University Press 2013), Internal Colonization: Russia's Imperial Experience (Polity Press 2011), and (upcoming) Roads Not Taken: An Intellectual Biography of William C. Bullitt (Pitt Russian East European 2017).

UCS Annual Members' Meeting

posted May 15, 2017, 7:13 AM by Mariëlle W.

Join us for the UCS annual members' meeting to discuss the future plans of the Center for Ukrainian Cultural Studies!

Thursday 29 June, 17:15
University of Amsterdam, PCH 6.05

The meeting will take place subsequent to dr. Arent van Nieukerken's lecture in the UCS series "Affective Memories: Ukrainian Culture after Euromaidan".

What kind of events would you like to us to organise during the upcoming academic year? Which international speakers should we invite to Amsterdam? Are you planning an event yourself and would you be interested in collaborating with us?

p.s.: Unable to attend? You can also send us your suggestions via e-mail (see contact) or through our Facebook account.

Lecture series 'Affective Memories: Ukrainian Culture after Euromaidan'

posted Apr 20, 2017, 7:34 AM by Mariëlle W.   [ updated May 16, 2017, 4:58 AM ]

UCS is proud to present the upcoming lecture series Affective Memories: Ukrainian Culture after Euromaidan at the University of Amsterdam. The series is organized in collaboration with dr. Matthias Schwartz (Center for Literary and Cultural Research, Freie Universität Berlin) and is made possible by the generous support of the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture. For a detailed description of the series' theme, see below. Location details to follow.

Thursday  1 June 15:30       Dr. Roman Dubasevych, University of Greifswald
UvA, Bushuis F2.08B
"Maidan Poetry: Is There a Poetics of Revolution?"
ATTENTION: this is a double-bill event with a lecture by dr. George Grabowicz (Harvard University) at 17:00. This event is hosted by ARTES in collaboration with UCS.

Thursday 15 June 16:00      Dr. Rory Finnin, University of Cambridge
UvA, P.C. Hooft building 6.05

"Broken Mirrors: Literary Origins of the Ukrainian-Crimean Tatar Political Alliance"

Thursday 29 June 16:00      Dr. Arent van Nieukerken, University of Amsterdam
UvA, P.C. Hooft building 6.05
"Clash of Victimhoods: Volhynia 1943 in Polish (and Ukrainian) Memory

The events of ‘Euromaidan’ impacted Ukrainian society in ways that go far beyond its direct political consequences. The so-called “revolution of dignity” that unfolded during the winter of 2013/2014, as well as the incorporation of the Crimean peninsula into the Russian Federation and the escalation of military conflict in Eastern Ukraine that followed it, polarized emotions to an extent unseen since Ukraine gained its independence in 1991. Western values were set against Russian aggression and reforms aiming toward European integration were combined with so-called decommunization laws, outlawing the use of Soviet and communist symbols. As Serhii Zhadan noted in his Luhansk diary in 2014, the conflict provoked the “demons” of politics that, in the shape of “slogans, stereotypes, fears and insults,” “control all our movements.”  

Three years later, memories of the Euromaidan still provoke strong emotions, but these have gradually evolved, compounded with impatience over sluggish reforms, feelings of frustration, disappointment and lost hopes, and even anger about a revolution betrayed. This lecture series takes these bewildered memories as its starting point to reflect on how Euromaidan challenges our notions about Ukrainian culture. How has the political polarization it evoked impacted and continue to impact our conceptualization of socialist as well as post-socialist cultures? To what extent do these memories affect our perception and conception of Soviet Ukraine or particular aspects of it, such as the avant-garde movements of the 1920s? Which methodical approaches (from memory studies, but also postcolonial and media studies) can help us to understand the Ukrainian case better and place it in a broader, comparative perspective? 

Focusing on different aspects of Ukrainian culture in past and present, and bringing together some of the leading scholars in the field, the lecture series seeks to provide a cross-disciplinary format for discussing these topical questions, whose relevance reaches beyond Ukrainian Cultural Studies.

Performance Olesya Zdorovetska on 9 March 19:30

posted Mar 7, 2017, 12:10 AM by Mariëlle W.   [ updated Mar 7, 2017, 12:12 AM ]

Dublin-based composer and performer Olesya Zdorovetska will visit the UCS on Thursday 9 March to perform from her new solo program for voice and citera "Telling Sounds" - "Zvuky Skazu”. Don’t miss it!

Date and Time: 9 March, 19:30 - 20:30

Location: P.C. Hoofthuis, room 1.04

Entrance free

About Telling Sounds:

"A sonic journey across the landscape of contemporary Ukrainian poetry, inspired by the writing of Oleh Lysheha, Marianna Kijanowska, Yurii Andrukhovych, Iryna Starovoyt, Juri Izdryk, Halyna Kruk, Grigory Semenchuk, Liubov Iakymchuk, Serhiy Zhadan, Kateryna Babkina, Oleksandr Fraze-Frazenko and Ostap Slyvynsky, the program explores the relationship between music and language in the current literary renaissance, in new settings for voice and citera.”

New Director & Spring Lecture Series 'Affective Memories'

posted Feb 15, 2017, 12:50 AM by Ellen Rutten   [ updated Feb 15, 2017, 12:55 AM ]

We are happy to welcome on board our new director, Mariëlle Wijermars. Wijermars was lecturer in Eastern European Studies at the University of Amsterdam and is currently starting a postdoctoral research project at the Aleksanteri Institute, Helsinki. In recent research, Mariëlle has, among other topics, focused on memory and memorialization of the Soviet past in documentary films by Ukrainian film director Sergei Loznitsa. She will soon share new UCS plans, including an “Affective Memories. Ukrainian Culture three years after the Euromaidan” lecture series, with contributions by Roman Dubasevych (University of Greifswald), Rory Finnin (Cambridge University), and Arent van Nieukerken (University of Amsterdam). Wijermars will take the place of Ellen Rutten, who launched the center roughly one year ago.

Conflicting Memories: Ukraine

posted Feb 13, 2017, 6:41 AM by Mykola Makhortykh

A debate on collective memories and different cultural identities in the context of the Ukrainian conflict will happen at Castrum Peregrini in Amsterdam 16 February 2017. The participants (Ivan Krastev (Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia) and Vasyl Cherepanyn (Visual Culture Research Centre, Kyiv)) will each give a short contribution on their view of the current conflict from the perspective of collective memory, followed by a panel discussion including the public, moderated by Katherine Watson, director ECF. Please, see attached invitation for more information.

Read My World and Ukrainian Discourses of Borderland

posted Sep 28, 2016, 2:20 AM by Mykola Makhortykh   [ updated Sep 29, 2016, 10:35 AM by Ellen Rutten ]

Dear friends, we are back in full swing for Fall and are excited to share two upcoming events.
First off – and very soon! – our own Prof. Ellen Rutten participates in the Read My World literary festival, co-hosted by the Centre for Ukrainian Cultural Studies. At 'Elephant in the Room', writer Auke Hulst interviews Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko and professor Rutten about contemporary Ukrainian literature and its war heritage. The event takes place on Saturday, October 8th at Tolhuistuin (IJpromenade 2, 1031 CL Amsterdam). Follow this link for full info: or find the details on our Facebook page.
Then, on Thursday, November 24th, Ukrainian historian and essayist prof. Andrii Portnov speaks at Amsterdam's ARTES Research Seminars, also co-hosted by our center. Prof. Portnov will discuss ‘Donbas as the “Other”: Ukrainian Discourses of Borderland’. Andrii Portnov is the director of the Berlin-Brandenburg Ukrainian Initiative at the Forum Transregionale Studien, as well as visiting professor at Humboldt University, Berlin.

New Plans, Read My World, and Digital Collections

posted Jul 11, 2016, 7:46 AM by Ellen Rutten   [ updated Jul 15, 2016, 6:23 AM ]

The Center for Ukrainian Cultural Studies starts a short summer leave this month. After the summer, we will back with new events -- which include plans for meetings devoted to Ukrainian cultural and literary history and possibly new film screenings. In the meantime, we share two relevant weblinks for those of you with an interest in Ukrainian Literature:
1. Read My World hosts a festival devoted to Polish and Ukrainian Literature at Amsterdam's Tolhuistuin next October. The festival promises much good -- but its site, which contains short profiles of the four participating Ukrainian authors, including photos and key prose/poetry titles, is worth a look, too.
2. On this site, you find open-access digital collections devoted to Ukrainian sources. They include electronic versions of rare print manuscripts, the Digital Archive of the Ukrainian Famine, but also a Ukrainian Poetry Library. Most are in Ukrainian, but some includes translations.
Until more after summer!

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