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Ukrainian Summer School 2016


Mirroring Europe in Ukrainian Literature (or Textualising a New Topology of National Identity)

Alessandro Achilli (Milano), Marco Puleri (Bologna)

At the dawn of the new millenium, Maria Zubrytska described Ukrainian literature of the past century as “an important way of envisioning national/European identities” (Zubrytska 2006: 405). Actually, the “very close correlation between the mirror/windows metaphors” in many of the Ukrainian literary works which most tellingly marked the XX century reflects a clear penchant for the European myth as an element of self-definition in Ukrainian cultural identity. Textualising Europe in Ukrainian literature entails the rise of new possible ‘national modernities’, because if “in a mirror one sees oneself, in a window one sees the world(s) of other(s), or Otherness”.

The seminar conducted by Alessandro Achilli and Marco Puleri will be focused on the alternative directions undertaken by Ukrainian literature before and after the national independence, going through the XX century till nowadays.

The Mythology of Europe outside the EU

Dr. Andrii Portnov (Berlin)

What does ‘Europe’ mean in various social contexts? Why and how the ‘European idea’ could serve as an instrument of political mobilization? To what persons, discussions and historical events could the genealogy of present-day debates ‘on Europe’ be traced back? How ‘positive’ (Europe as a space of human rights, economic prosperity, freedom of speech and movement) and ‘negative’ (Europe as a ‘declining continent’ because of the immigration and/or same-sex marriages) images of Europe co-exist and compete in the non-EU countries? What role does ‘Europe’ play in Polish-German, Ukrainian-Russian or Serbo-Croatian intellectual dialogue on common past and unknown future?
All those questions will be discussed on the variety of reading (literary texts, political speeches, historical publications) and visual materials (films, music clips) from post-Soviet Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Moldova. The comparative and transregional perspective will be respected by using the cases from Turkey, post-Yugoslav states as well as Poland and Lithuania (two new EU and NATO member states with controversial Soviet experience).

The School of Abducted Europe: Culture and Society in Post-Maidan Ukraine

Dr. Vasyl Cherepanyn (Kyïv)

The uprising at Maidan exposed Europe as a political and cultural entity to unexpected challenges and provoked the arrival of the new political realities. Maidan delivered what political movements and citizens in Europe itself lack: a strong belief in the idea of Europe as a vehicle for social transformation and progress.
'The School of Abducted Europe: Culture and Society in Post-Maidan Ukraine' seminar course approach is based on questioning the neocolonial mode of relationship between the European metropolis and its peripheries, discovering the potential for transformation of the European project under the pressure from the 'outside', in the context of 'the bigger Europe'.
A specific focus will be made on the issues and antagonisms that are of particular importance: the post-Soviet condition and European integration; exclusion of the European ‘Other’ and new post-Schengen walls; ‘the end of ideology’ and the rise of the far Right; the conflict of historical memories and the remaking of World War II; the hatred towards art, iconoclasm and image wars.

The seminar course is the continuation of The School of Abducted Europe conducted in the framework of The School of Kyiv - Kyiv Biennial 2015, organized by Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv).

Revolutionary cycles of contemporary Ukraine and experience of the Post-Communist Europe

Mykhailo Minakov (Kyïv)

This seminar will be dedicated to the analysis of Ukraine’s revolutionary events in 1991-1993, 2004-5, and 2013-14, in comparisons with the revolutionary events in the Post-Communist Europe.
During recent 25 years Ukraine have gone through two revolutionary cycles: in 1991-2004 that started with post-Soviet attempt of building democracy and finished by the Orange revolution; and in 2005-2014 when Ukraine evolved from one Maidan to another.
The case of Ukraine will help participants to understand:

1) what was the post-Soviet revolution of 1991-3 (in comparison with the revolutionary changes of post-Communist Central Europe);
2) how did the post-Soviet oligarchy develope and produce revolutionary events;
3) what is the political logic of post-Soviet vertical power and its internal contradictions;
4) what were the colour revolutions, and how they used the Central European experience of 1989;
5) how the Euromaidan developed and marked the tectonic shift in political development of the larger Eastern European region.