Ukrainian Studies Symposium

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Ukrainian Studies Symposium
Young scholars exchange ideas at Toronto conference
By Or est Zakydalsky
On March 17-19, an international graduate student symposium entitled New I'erspeclives on I ontemporary Ukraine: Politics, History and Culture took place at the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto. The event was sponsored by the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine, the Wolodymyr George Danyliw Foundation, the Connaughl Committee at the University of Toronto, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Department of Political Science, School of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts and Science, and the Graduate Students' Union at ³ he University of Toronto.
This symposium brought together young scholars in the field of Ukrainian Studies from all over the world.
The first panel was titled Literature Revisited. Amy Moore (University Participants at the of Berkeley) spoke about the concepts of poslcolonialism and postmodernism in literature. She argued that while these terms arc useful in the study of literature, in order to analyze postmodern or postcolonial writers, the particular historical, sociopolitical and cultural context within which they work must be considered. Moore Used the Ukrainian writer Yuri Andrukhovych as her case study. Roman Ivashkiv (Perm State), who also spoke about Yuri Andrukhovych. argued that he and other postmodern Ukrainian writers awakened Ukrainian literature from its "Soviet coma," revitalized and depoliticized it. Finally. Yulia Tkacluik (University of Illinois) spoke about the representations of nation-building in Ukrainian literature. He examined Askold Melnyczuk's novel What Is Told (1994) and Vasyl Kozhelyanko's novel. Tcrorium (2001). arguing that both show that Ukrainian nation-building projects arc doomed to failure if there is no bonding among individuals based on national identification.
The second panel, Rewriting the Past, focused on history. Serhiy Bilenky (University of Toronto) spoke ;ibou! tiie different interpretations of the city of Kyiv in Polish, Russian and Ukrainian discourse, pointing that ail three created a vision of Kyiv that made tic city uniquely "theirs," Peter Roilgcrs (University of Birmingham) spoke about die changing nature of post-Soviet interpretations of history un Ukraine's eastern borders, in the oblasts of Luhansk, Kharkiv and Sumy. He noted that, to varying degrees, a
decidedly 'Soviet' interpretation of the Second World War continues to be salient in eastern Ukraine.
The evening's keynote address, delivered by Alexander Motyl (Rutgers University), was entitled Looking Back and Squinting Ahead: Ukrainian Studies, Ukraine, and a Few Other Things. He traced the development of Ukrainian Studies to its early days in the 1970s, when (here were few academics, mostly Ukrainians. He noted that since Ukraine's independence, the field has
way that citizenship is defined. The Georgian government's policy actively discriminates in favour of the titular majority, while Utc Ukrainian policy has been more open, and national identity is defined civically, as opposed to ethnically. Olha Zazuiya (Laval University) spoke about the construction of Ukrainian identity. She argued that while the Orange Revolution showed that the nature of Ukrainian identity continues to be disputed, it has also provided an opportunity for building a civic and
New Perspective^ on Contemporary Ukraine graduate student symposium
grown exponentially. He also said thai it's a "very healthy tendency," that a significant portion of academics have no Ukrainian background whatsoever.
Motyl also noted that Ukrainian Studies is no longer a male preserve. There is now also a lively exchange of scholars between East and West. He further argued that the Orange Revolution marked another fundamental break. "...The Orange Revolution, despite all the ambiguities that have subsequently emerged, transformed Ukraine into an unconditionally good Uiing," he said. Subsequent disappointments, he said, huvc had the salutary consequence of forcing us to appreciate that there arc no simple answers to complex problems. Thus, for those in Ukrainian Studies, the important question is how to combine the passion fell for their work with a removed objectivity that allows for an accurate and constructive interpretation and evaluation of the realities facing Ukraine.
The second day of the symposium began with a panel on Identity and Regionalism. Kristin Cavoukian (University of British Columbia) compared the repatriation processes of Crimean Tatars in Ukraine and Mcskhadan Turks in Georgia. Both groups were deported by Stalin during the Second World War. While almost 250, 000 Crimean Tatars have returned to the Crimea, almost no Meskhatian Turks have returned to Georgia. Cavoukian argued that this is due to the way that Ukrainian and Georgian nationalities are constructed and the
inclusive conception of the Ukrainian nation. Gennadi Pobcrczny (Rutgers University) spoke about separatist tendencies in eastern Ukraine, arguing that government decentralization is the best way of addressing this issue.
The next panel was entitled Ukraine and the World. Svillana Kobzar (University of Cambridge, UK) asserted lhat the attraction of the European Union is one of the most important indirect factors in stimulating the democratization process in Ukraine. Elena Kropachcva (Hamburg University) spoke about the conflict between Lfkraine's Western aspirations and its need to maintain close relations wiih Russia. She argued that the worsening relationship between Russia and the F.U has exacerbated this conflict in Ukraine. Natalia Shapovalovu (International Centre for Policy Studies. Ukraine) argued that Russian political and economic elites continue to pursue a "penetration strategy" in their bilateral relations with Ukraine, attempting to manipulate Ukraine's domestic affairs through business, cultural, media and religious institutions, with the goal of bringing Ukraine back more firmly into Russia's sphere of influence. Marc Berenson (Princeton University) provided a comparative study of tax morale in Ukraine. Russia and Poland, arguing that Ukrainians' low level of willingness to pay taxes is related directly to the lack of trust in their government. Russia, despite the authoritarian leanings of its government, enjoys higher levels of government trust, and higher
levels of tax morale than does Ukraine.
During the lunch break, participants were treated lo a reading by Alexander Motyl from his novel. Whiskey PriesL, a spy^crime thriller sen in post-Soviet Ukraine.
The day's final pane! focused on the Orange Revolution. Anastastya Salnykova (Simon Frascr University) spoke about nationalism in the 2004 elections, arguing that ihe existence of a strong national movement in Ukraine allowed for the creation of a feeling of community and provided the social capital necessary for the victorious collective action. Per Anders Rudling (University of Alberta) argued that anti-Semitism has been on ihe rise in the last year, identifying Ihe Mizhrchional'na Akademiia Upravlinnia Persnnalom. or the InterRegional Academy ot Personnel Management (MAUP), as the main culprit in promulgating anti-Semitic vitriol. While the activities of MAUP are well-known and deplorable, it was unclear from Rudling's paper, entitled Anti-Semitism and ihe Orange Revolution, what connection MAUP has with the Orange Revolution DniylK' Hubenko (California State University) presented a comparison
of Ihe coverage of the Orange Revolution in the New York Times and Izvestia. Both framed the Orange Revolution in terms of  conflict, he argued, but the former presented the main problem as being the fraudulent election of November 22, while Izvestia focused on ihe Easl-West divide in Ukraine. In Izvestia the West was perceived as interfering in the domestic affairs of Ukraine
Next, there was a general round-table discussion about Ukrainian Studies. Paul Magocsi (Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Toronto) said thai interest in Ukraine has risen exponentially and that most who lake his survey course on Ukraine are not Ukrainian Maxim Tamawsky (University of Toronto) said, however, that the study of the Ukrainian language lags behind. The main reason for this, he argued, is that there is no agreed-upon approach þ the study of ihe language. Thus, it is hard for professors to discern what should be laught at various levels.
Finally, on the last day, there was a workshop entitled Doing Fjcldwork in Eastern Europe.
The quality of the presentations al l\\c symposium was outstanding. If the scholars who participated are any indication of the level of scholarship in Ukrainian Studies as a whole, the future of ihe field is indeed in very good hands.
Orvst Zakydalsky is a graduate student at the Centra for European Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto. He is studying institutional changes in the democratization process in Ukraine.
; A.¦ ; \r, È ØËßÕ Òåä. (416) 960-3424 Ôàêñ (416) 960-1442 Åë. ïîøòà npwegkly@look.eaïó

Original Document

Ukrainian Studies Symposium
Original document preserves Ukrainian (Cyrillic) text and typographic formatting.