28 October 2011
(De)constructing a national memory – the presence of the past in post-independence Ukrainian literature.
Також не пишу я про гуннів, про готів,
Ані про манкуртів, ні про яничарів,
Ані про Батурин, ані про Почаїв,
Ні про Калнишевського, ні про Мазепу.
Варю собі каву. Читаю газету.
Ходжу до клозету. Ходжу до театру.
I don’t write about Huns or Goths,
Nor about Mankurts nor Janissaries,
Nor about Baturyn nor Pochaiv,
Nor about Kalnyshevskyi, nor Mazepa.
I make myself coffee. I read the paper.
I go to the loo. I go to the theatre.
Ukrainian literature has always contained within itself the imperative to remember. The very title of the foundation stone of Ukrainian literature, Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar, alludes to the traditional bard, who would record and retell significant events. The narrator in his Haidamaky thanks his forebears for passing on the heroic story of the warrior Cossacks, and fulfils the same duty himself. Time and again Shevchenko urges his readers to ‘read’ and ‘study’ their past. This is nothing unusual, of course: literature, as incorporated into nation-building projects, has always played a key role with regard to cultural memory, propagating and retelling national myths, commemorating triumph and tragedy, forging a vision of the past to be shared by the readers of a particular linguistic/ethnic community. Literature maps out the national memory, allowing consecutive generations to find their place within the nation, and their nation’s rightful, independent place in the world. This is especially significant in the Ukrainian context: the production and institutionalisation of a national history was, for most of Ukraine’s history, impossible, or at least, extremely difficult. It was left to literature to preserve the past. Hence Haidamaky, Ivan Franko’s Zakhar Berkut, Lesia Ukrainka’s Boiarynia, Bohan Lepkyi’s Mazepa, Lina Kostenko’s Marusia Churai, to give a few examples.
14 September 2011
The “Memory and Theory in Eastern Europe” conference, which took place at King’s College, Cambridge on July 4th and 5th, gathered scholars from institutions in eight different countries, and was divided into seven panels. The last panel was followed by a round-table discussion involving all of the speakers and guests.
03 September 2011
07 July 2011
Reflections on Victory Day (9 May)
There was no place for ethnically or religiously marked suffering or victims in the Soviet image of the Great Patriotic War. It is precisely for this reason that the phrase ‘peaceful Soviet citizens’ was used in referring to the millions of Jews who were murdered. The Soviet deportations on ethnic grounds and on accusation of collective ‘betrayal of the Motherland’ were an absolute taboo. Also unmentionable was the fate of Soviet POWs, millions of whom died of artificial famine in Nazi concentration camps, while hundreds of thousands more survived only to find themselves later sent to Soviet camps as ‘traitors to the Motherland’.
27 June 2011
29 May 2011
05 May 2011
On May 11, the Web Wars team hosts a project lunch at the University of Bergen. Team members Vera Zvereva (researcher), Maartje Gerretsen (filmmaker) and Ellen Rutten (project leader) will share project plans and first findings with local experts and project affiliates from both Slavonic and media studies.
05 April 2011
21 March 2011
Image source: Wikipedia
01 March 2011
11 February 2011
Ukraine began 2011 with a war of monuments. The most significant blow of the ‘conflict’ thus far was struck on 31st December, when a monument to Stalin in Zaporizhzhia was blown up. The monument was erected by the local Communist party on the territory of its headquarters in 2010. The bust was reportedly decapitated on 28 December, before its complete destruction on New Year’s Eve. The authorities have reacted robustly to the incident, according to Dzerkalo Tyzhnia and other Ukrainian media, arresting members of nationalist organizations throughout Ukraine. The culprits are wanted on charges of terrorism.