Hearing the Voices of Women: on (Re)Creation of the Canons of Culture

Hearing the Voices of Women: on (Re)Creation of the Canons of Culture

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September 20, 2019,/ 5.00 pm

Center for Urban History, Lviv

Culture often speaks to us in the voices of men – the writers, poets, directors, playwrights, or actors. This is the way we hear it in school curricula, in unveiled monuments, and in the named streets. At the same time, for each ‘generation’ we can recall critically important names of women who were making culture and often the cultural environments, such as Natalia Kobrynska, Iryna Vilde, Natalia Uzhviy. The names could be many more, and the list could be extended if we treat culture in Ukraine in broad terms, and include those who used to live here, produce their pieces, and wrote in different languages: Ukrainian, Polish, Yiddish, Russian, or Hungarian.

One focus of the talk will be to bring back the female voices to our canons of culture – to resume the female writers, actresses, and painters. In particular, it goes about those who wrote in Yiddish, and about their contribution to literary life and process in the region commonly called Eastern and/or Central Europe. The authors mentioned in the discussion will also include women we have already heard of or read about, such as Debora Vogel and Rachel Auerbach, as well as some women we hardly know anything about or nothing at all. Thus, the unavailable modern interpretations of their texts may provide an impetus to seeing the links between the existing literary canons – Jewish, Polish, and Ukrainian – that are being reconsidered and transformed.

The talk about how we take the framework of our canons of culture and how they change and could change further will be inspired by two publications coming out in 2018 in Polish in the publishing houses "Pohranychchia" in Sejny, and "Austreria" in Krakow:  a monograph by Joanna Lisek "Kol isze – głos kobiet w poezji jidysz (od XVI w. do 1939 r.)" and an anthology "Moja dzika koza. Antologia poetek jidysz." The discussion will engage the author and the co-author of both publications, Dr. Joanna Lisek (Wroclaw University), a historian, Dr. Vladyslava Moskalets (Ukrainian Catholic University), prof. Mayhill Fowler (Stetson University / Fulbright Program).

The event is part of the 26 Book Forum in Lviv.

Working languages - Ukrainian, Polish

Joanna Lisek

Wroclaw University

researcher of Yiddish literature and culture, translator, research fellow and lecturer in Jewish literature in Yiddish on the Jewish Studies Program at Wroclaw University. The research focus is Yiddish literature and activities of Jewish creative milieus of the first half of the 20th century, activities of women in Yiddish culture. Author of books: “Jung Wilne – żydowska grupa artystyczna” (2005), “Kol isze – głos kobiet w poezji jidysz (od XVI w. do 1939 r.)” (2018), “Moja dzika koza. Antologia poetek jidysz” (2018). У 2010-2015 рр. She taught Yiddish and Introduction to Jewish Culture in the series of Summer Schools in Jewish Culture and History at the Center for Urban History in Lviv.

Vladyslava Moskalets

Ukrainian Catholic University

a historian, senior lecturer at the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of Ukraine at the UCU, and coordinator of the program of Jewish Studies at UCU. She defended her thesis on “Jewish Industrial Elites in Drohobych and Boryslav, 1860-1900” in Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Translator from Yiddish.

Mayhill Fowler

Stetson University

professor of history, and coordinator of the program of the Russian Studies, East European and Eurasian Studies in Stetson University. She teaches and researchers the history of culture of Eastern Europe, with a special focus on Ukraine. Author of the book “Beau Monde at Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine” (Toronto, 2017). In 2019-20, she was a guest researcher at Fulbright Program in Ivan Franko National University in Lviv and at the Center for Urban History with her project “Theater in the Forefront of Socialism: Military Entertaining Complex in Ukraine, 1940-2000”.


Olena Haleta – is a Doctor of Philology, professor at Ivan Franko National University in Lviv and Ukrainian Catholic University. She was teaching in Berlin, Zagreb, and Cracow. She did her research in the universities and scholarly institutions in Poland, Austria, Germany, Canada, and the USA. She authored the monograph "From Anthology to Ontology: Anthology as a Means to Represent Ukrainian Literature of the late 19th. – early 21th c.", and also multiple publications on literature as a means of creating new forms, senses, and values in the epoch of modernism and post-modernism, as well as on reading practices and ways of reading over.

Ostap Slyvynskyi (Lviv University), poet, translator, literary scholar, essayist, lecturer. As part of Lviv Publishers’ Forum in Lviv, he curated special projects such as "Literature Against Aggression," and "Histories of Otherness." He is member of the editorial board of the Polish-Ukrainian-German literary journal "Radar," a Polish-Ukrainian academic journal "Granice."



Сover Image: Debora Vogel, Kadia Mołodowska, Anna Margolin / czytelnicy.pl

Image Gallery by Vitaliy Solopchuk