Patriarchal Matriarchy
November 1, 2015

On November 1, 2015, at 4.00 pm at the Borys Voznytskiy Lviv National Art Gallery (vul. Stefanyka 3) historian Oksana Kis will hold a lecture entitled: "Patriarchal Matriarchy: the head, neck and other organs of power in the traditional Ukrainian family." This is the third event of the "Ketubah. Jewish Family Traditions and Traditional Families" lecture program. Admission is free!

It is acceptable to consider Ukrainian culture as matriarchal. Men and women, writers and artists, journalists and even scholars together with politicians of various ideological orientations confidently repeat this thesis. The list of arguments used to support the claim of Ukrainian matriarchy were formulated by well-known Ukrainian historians, ethnographers and folklorists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Since then, few have dared to question the claim and folk wisdom: "The man is the head, the woman the neck: she can turn him at will."

We will attempt to look at traditional notions of marriage among Ukrainians, critically and without sentiment (how partners are chosen, wedding customs and established practices of family relations) in order to illustrate the double standards, inequality, and the real patriarchal nature of gender relations in rural families.

Oksana Kis - Historian and anthropologist, chief editor of the website "Modern Ukraine," PhD student in History, and senior staffer at the Institute of Ethnology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Her research interests include women's history and feminist anthropology, as well as oral history and gender transformation in post-socialist countries.