Engaged History
November 6, 2015

On November 6, 2015, at 6.00 pm at the Center for Urban History a public discussion will be held on the topic: "Engaged Humanities: How to Build Participatory Historical Culture?" Participants will include: Ewa Domanska, Sofiya Dyak, Olexandr Zaytsev, and Natalia Otrishchenko; Volodymyr Sklokin will moderate.

After the collapse of the USSR and the Soviet empire, historical science in Ukraine and Eastern Europe underwent an intense transformation. An important component of this transformation was the search for new patterns of relations between the state and society. The controversies surrounding this issue have not yet produced a clear answer, however in practice most countries utilized the instrumental approach which views the study of history to be primarily a tool to instill patriotism and strengthen national identity and memory.

The discussion "Engaged humanities: how to build a participatory historical culture?" will be devoted to comparing the Polish and Ukrainian experience of historians engaging with social and political initiatives and finding answers to the following question:

  • What could history's new social role be a situation where there is, on one hand, the gradual decline of the nation state in Europe and the Western world, and on the other - the revival of imperialism and nationalism in the post soviet space?
  • Are socially oriented human sciences, that are not used as political tools possible, and if so, what forms might they take?
  • How does one build a participatory historical culture based on equal cooperation of professional historians and representatives of local communities?
  • Which forms and formats of public history are the most relevant and effective in the contemporary context of Ukraine and Central and Eastern Europe?


Ewa Domanska - Historian, professor at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and Stanford University, initiator of the public-historical project "Rescuing history;"

Sofiya Dyak (PhD) - Historian, Director of the Center for Urban History;

Olexandr Zaytsev - Professor of Modern and Contemporary History of Ukraine at the Ukrainian Catholic University, participant of many historic public debates;

Natalia Otrischenko - Sociologist, coordinator of the project "My story: oral history and urban experiences" at the Center for Urban History;

Volodymyr Sklokin - Historian, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the Ukrainian Catholic University, coordinator of the Master's Program in Public History.

Organizers: the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe Master's Program in Public History at the Ukrainian Catholic University, and the Polish Institute in Kyiv.