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Call for Papers: Between the Local and the Global: Unpacking Environmental History of Ukraine

The EnvHistUA Research Group is pleased to announce the call for papers for the conference “Between the Local and the Global: Unpacking Environmental History of Ukraine” to be held on 25-26 September 2024 at the Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia, Bulgaria.

The significant impact of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war on the environment of Ukraine has consequences far beyond the borders of the country which have gained visibility locally and globally. Scholars and practitioners across diverse disciplines have undertaken various projects intended to document environmental destruction and have organized a number of events. The media reports about the devastating impacts of everyday hostilities on flora and fauna, soil and water. NGO and state institutions collect data to recognize Russia’s actions towards nature as an act of ecocide. This unprecedented interest has brought the topic of Ukraine’s environment and ecological crises to the forefront of global media and scholarship. The Kakhovka dam disruption by the Russian military has uncovered deeper historical contexts of ecological issues. Unravelling current and similar historical relationships stand as the primary objective of environmental historians seeking to elucidate the complexity of the engagement of human with the surrounding environment.

EnvHistUA Research Group is organizing this scholarly conference in order to advance and consolidate the environmental history of Ukraine as a research field and address related challenges. The event aims to bring together scholars to discuss epistemological aspects and practical implications of researching and writing environmental histories of Ukraine that go beyond the realm of disasters and catastrophes. An imperative aspect of this endeavour involves writing, rethinking and diversifying the existing historical narratives about Ukraine’s environment. Our starting point is to expose, conceptualize and analyze the multifacetedness of nature–culture, human/society – environment interactions and developments through time and across Ukrainian lands. Secondly, we place great emphasis on transnational, trans-imperial, transborder, and global nexuses Ukraine’s environments were a part of. This epistemological approach holds the potential to unveil hitherto untold narratives, thereby enriching the fabric of history. Finally, the event engages with the question of what environmental history can offer to Ukrainian and European studies, as well as global studies, and vice versa. This knowledge is invaluable in addressing present and future environmental challenges sustainably and responsibly.

The workshop welcomes original papers on Ukraine’s environments across periods, which build on various methodologies and approaches and comprehensively engage with primary historical sources. Possible contributions may include, but are not limited to the following topics:

  • science-politics nexus and historiographical debates;
  • epistemologies, knowledge regimes and technologies;
  • methodological implications of Ukraine’s environmental history;
  • plants and animals;
  • agriculture and food systems;
  • diseases, epidemics, epizooties;
  • deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution;
  • ecology, geography, and climate,
  • landscapes and waterscapes etc;
  • colonial/imperial encounters, extractions, acts of violence and silence;
  • nature, nation and political imagination;
  • environment and culture;
  • transborder entanglements and circulations.

The workshop will bring together 15–20 scholars. To apply, fill in the application form by 15 May 2024. Organizers will notify authors about the acceptance of their papers by the end of May 2024. Accepted participants will be asked to submit a draft paper of approximately 3000 – 5000 words (not counting footnotes and bibliography) two weeks before the workshop to facilitate more in-depth discussions during the event. An edited volume drawing on workshop papers is planned. The organizers will cover accommodation and meals during the event. Travel expenses will be reimbursed only if participants do not have any other funding. Please, indicate that in the application form.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email [email protected].

EnvHistUA Research Group:
Dr. Anna Olenenko, Khortytsia National Academy, Ukraine; University of Alberta, Canada
Dr. Julia Malitska, Södertörn University, Sweden
Dr. Oleksii Chebotarov, University of Vienna, Austria

EnvHistUA Research Group
Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS)
European Society for Environmental History

The workshop is supported by:
Östersjöstiftelsen (The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, Stockholm, Sweden)
GCE-HSG (Center for Governance and Culture in Europe at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland)