CfA: Workshop "Ukrainian Subjectivities in Historical Perspective"

International workshop
European University Institute
Department of History and Civilization

Villa Salviati, Via Bolognese 156, Florence (Italy)
25th-26th May 2017

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Giovanna Brogi, University of Milan
Prof. Mark von Hagen, Arizona State University
Prof. Georgiy Kasianov, Institute of Ukrainian History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Over the past few years, the unexpected political and military crisis has put a spotlight on Ukraine. The country has attracted unprecedented attention, which often resulted in a flurry of simplistic verdicts and historical essentializations. This workshop, rather than on Ukraine itself, is designed to focus on a wide array of historical actors who inhabited the broadly defined Ukrainian space, and on the diverse subjectivities they constructed for themselves. More precisely, we would like to discuss for what purposes and with the help of which discursive resources these actors formulated overlapping identifications and self-understandings. How did they make claims in the name of their "imagined" communities?

We conceptualize politics broadly, as struggles over power and its redistribution, conducted by debates and practices, both in inclusive public arenas and in everyday ‘private’ contexts. We aim at confronting ethnic, regional, national, and supra-national loyalties with those defined through other categories: profession, partisan allegiance, class, estate, age, education etc. We propose to examine the interdependence of these categories of self-definition and to nuance the current one-sided interpretations of Ukraine’s past, present, and future. We seek to show how creative and powerful a broad range of actors proved in shaping the fates of Ukraine itself and of Europe as a whole.

Unsurprisingly, Ukraine as such appears as a key issue of our debate. Nevertheless, we want to avoid essentializing it as a self-contained and solid entity, but rather suggest seeing it in a different way: as a historically contingent, malleable and dynamic arena entangled with multiple spheres of social, political, and cultural interaction, encompassing a variety of different realities, and embedded in broader networks.

We invite papers dealing with the issue of constructed subjectivities and their political and/or cultural dimensions in 19th and 20th-century Ukraine, from scholars who work in such fields as:

  • art history
  • childhood history
  • cultural history
  • gender studies
  • imperial history
  • intellectual history
  • labor history
  • nationalism studies
  • political history
  • social history

Please, send an abstract of no more than 300 words to by April 12, 2017. The organizing committee is able to cover partially travel expenses of selected attendees.


Olga Gnydiuk
Tomasz Hen-Konarski
Oleksandr Polianichev
Heloisa Rojas Gomez