Tetiana Onofriichuk studied at the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (Kyiv, Ukraine) and Central European University (Budapest, Hungary) and she received in 2017 a PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). She has been a postdoc researcher at the Gotha Research Center of the University of Erfurt and worked as a teaching assistant at the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla academy” (Kyiv, Ukraine).
Period of affiliation:
2020 - 2021
Define the Distinction: Natural History and Society in the Polish Provinces of the Russian Empire, 1790s-1840s.
This project is about discovery of natural history by the educated residents, petty nobility and gentry ( szlachta), in the Volhynian and Podolian provinces of the Russian empire in the late 18th – first third of the 19th century. Following the incorporation of these lands into the administrative structure of the empire, local amateurs unveiled their interest and contemplated the necessity to study the natural world of their provinces. In order to do so, they turned to the well-known works on natural history by the French, German, and Swedish scientists. However, Volhynian and Podolian provincial botanists not only appropriated foreign knowledge but also laid emphasis on promulgation of local natural novelties for the benefit of the world, an emphasis they believed necessary given the social and political reality of their region – the annexation, Napoleon’s presence, and continuous military upheavals. Through discussing practices and agendas of local naturalists in the most western provinces of the Russian empire, the project tackles the problem of (un)equal distribution of knowledge, the problem of the transfer of ideas and their cultural (dis)placement in the long 18th – first third of the 19th century. Examination of scientific pursuits in the Polish provinces also exposes the many (re)presentations of the global Enlightenment in Eastern Europe, uncovering the regional dynamics of this movement through the lens of natural history and science.