Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Ukraine
The Second World War played, and continues to play a major role in Ukrainian political, cultural, public, and scientific discourse. In the conditions of Russia's contemporary war against Ukraine, the memory of the Second World War, the previous destructive war on the territory of Ukraine, becomes even more relevant for the state, scientists, and the public. In this project, called 'Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Ukraine', Dr. Ihor Dvorkin plans to continue his research on the place of the Second World War in the contemporary Ukrainian discourse, after the Ukrainian independence in 1991. Since then, the coexistence of national and post-Soviet historical narratives in the political, scientific, and educational spheres was typical. However, after the Euromaidan and the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2014, and especially after the legislative changes of 2015, called "decommunization laws", the situation changed in favour of a national approach. These events had a significant impact on the humanitarian sphere in Ukraine, the politics of memory and historical politics. In his study, Dr. Dvorkin will assess the following phenomena:
- Soviet heritage and post-Soviet realities. The "Great Patriotic War" vs World War II (until 2014).
- Euromaidan (2014) and its impact on memory politics and historical politics. Legislative changes (2015). Changes in rhetoric, aesthetics and toponymy; the invention of new traditions.
- The impact of the full-scale Russian invasion (2022) on perceptions of World War II. Possible changes during and after the current war.
- Russian instrumentalization of the Second World War in the conditions of hybrid and full-scale wars and the Ukrainian response.
- "Memorial places" dedicated to the war in the Ukrainian city: Soviet and post-Soviet (memorials, monuments, commemorative practices).
- Memory of the war in the toponymy of the Ukrainian cities: dynamics of changes.
That war and this war: the entanglement and interaction of imagination, commemoration and memory of World War II and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Case of Kryvyi Rih
The majority of Ukrainians have grown up with the Soviet/post-Soviet tradition of World War II/“The Great Patriotic War” commemoration. For decades, this topic has been a central part of the politics of memory and family history in Ukraine. Everyone has knowledge about WWII, even those who might not be interested in history. It was this kind of knowledge that formed the general image of war as a phenomenon. But since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, people got a direct experience of the war in different roles: as a soldier, a refugee, a volunteer, or a bystander. How does the image of 'that war' overlap the image of 'this war'? How does the image of 'that war' change under the influence of the ongoing war? The main research question of this project is to examine how do the images of WWII and of the current war interact in Ukraine. How does the ongoing war affect the image, memory and commemoration of WWII? And, how do image, memory and commemoration of WWII influence the perception and expectations of commemoration of the ongoing war? The proposed research questions will especially focus on the local level in the city of Kryvyi Rih, and how 'this war' and 'that war' phenomena is reflected there.
Ukrainian Orthodoxy in the face of the challenge of war (February 2022 – August 2022)
In his project, Prof. Volodymyr Bureha plans to present life of the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine during the ongoing war - with a focus on the time period from February 2022 to February 2023. After the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, profound transformations took place in the Ukrainian Orthodox Community. These processes will have an impact on post-war Ukraine in the future.For his research, Prof. Bureha will consider the main official documents of the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, dedicated to the war. It is important to understand how the Churches viewed the war and how they carried out their ministry in the conditions of war. The study will tackle the fundamental difference between the position of the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, and the position of the Russian Orthodox Church, which fully supported the aggression.Special attention will be paid to the deep transformations within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which was part of the Moscow Patriarchate before the war started. During the first three months of the war, this Church severed all relations with Moscow and with Patriarch Kirill.Another aspect of this project is the evolution of relations between the Churches and Ukrainian state authorities. Special attention will be paid to the differences in the confessional policy of the central and regional authorities of Ukraine.
Switching to Ukrainian from Russian in Wartime: Linguistic Conversion in Eastern Ukraine
The protection of Ukraine’s Russian speakers was among the pretexts for the 2014 Russian invasion as well as the full-scale war unleashed by Russia in 2022. Russia’s claims of authority over the speakers of Russian have been based on simplistic equations of language and national identification. To show that these speculations bear little resemblance to how the things stand on the ground, Ukrainians have started the process of linguistic conversion. The years following the 2014 Russian invasion have seen a growing shift to Ukrainian from Russian whereby language choice is perceived as a social action with an existential effect. My project is an ethnographic study of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine who are involved in linguistic conversion. I concentrate primarily on those individuals who are switching to Ukrainian from Russian within grassroots Ukrainian language initiatives. Besides the motivations behind their language choice, I explore the reasons prompting them to invest in the language learning, as well as the process of education. I aim to establish the role of the war in the mass transition to Ukrainian from Russian, define its impact on Ukrainian language pedagogy, and also cast light upon the transformation of identities in eastern Ukraine.
The Bulgarian political and societal responses to the 1963 Skopje earthquake
26 July 2023 will mark the 60th anniversary of the calamitous earthquake that struck the Socialist Republic of Macedonia’s capital city of Skopje in 1963, taking the lives of 1070 persons and destroying more than two-thirds of the urban fabric. Building upon the memory- and critical disaster studies, I recently published several papers in which I argued that the natural disaster shattered not only the material reality of Skopjans but also the symbolic worlds they inhabited, thus influencing much of their imaginaries of the city and its future urban development.The present proposal aims at discussing the Bulgarian political and societal responses to the 1963 Skopje earthquake. In the midst of the present-day bilateral quarrel over history and memory, I postulate that the mid-1960s episode of multilevel solidarity and support – such as, inter alia, the Bulgarian calls for aiding Skopje within the framework of the UN as well as the citizen-to-citizen help – challenges the prevailing understandings of shared history and memory in both the societies: as exclusivist, politically-driven notions. I will develop this research into a working paper after researching at the Sofia archives, conducting several interviews with experts and history witnesses, and discussing it with the colleagues at CAS.
The Social History of Fruit Farming in Cheju Korea
This project examines the social history of tangerine trees imported from Japan to Cheju Island (South Korea) from the1960s to the 1980s. From the colonial era all the way to the April 3 Incident of 1948, hundreds of thousands of Cheju islanders went into exile and migrated to Japan in order to avoid political turmoil and economic hardships but were unable to return to their devastated homeland. These people sent money collectively to build Cheju infrastructures and shipped tens of thousands of tangerine trees for Cheju farmers to transform their farming lands from subsistence farming to growing cash crops. These tangerine trees have played a crucial role in rapidly increasing the farmers’ income and reshaping the ecology on Cheju, an exemplary tourist destination with a culture, history, and ecology distinct from the rest of Korea. By situating Cheju in the context of East Asian post-colonial / Cold War development, I develop a book project centered around three main points related to tangerine trees: 1) as gifts; 2) as commodities; and 3) as state projects. This project revisits the gift-commodity relationship and the governance of nature through the lens of tangerine trees, highlighting how Cheju has been controlled by, and has controlled, nature as a means of future-making.
Roland Barthes and Julia Kristeva’s Personal Turn, 1975-1983
My project, titled “Roland Barthes and Julia Kristeva’s Personal Turn, 1975-1983,” examines a moment in the history of French thought when the certainties of Marxism and Structuralism were collapsing. In the last half-decade of the 1970s and first years of the 1980s, Barthes and Kristeva, leading intellectuals on the French Left, began to break from this political formation towards a new kind of apparently a-political thinking. Following a trip together to Mao’s China, which Barthes dismissed as a failure and Kristeva initially celebrated as a utopian experiment (before rejecting it in favor of a new appreciation for capitalist democracy, inspired by the United States, in the late 70s), each turned to writing about intimate emotional processes rather than political struggle. Barthes gave a series of lectures on ‘the lover’s discourse,’ culminating in a book on the subject; Kristeva prepared a book on ‘abjection,’ Powers of Horror, followed by her own analysis of love. And yet, I argue, their mutual turns to the personal were not only shaped by their different political reactions to Communist China, but represented a common project of rethinking the foundations of Western politics from a post-utopian vantage, founded on a careful analysis of psychic life.
Growth and Trust in the Experience of Literature. A Philosophical Defence of Literary Reading
The project concerns the cognitive value of literature. Is literature an effective cognitive medium? What sort of knowledge literature provides? How is this knowledge justified? These themes have constituted the focus of my recent research, which has already resulted in publications in significant journals. During my fellowship period, I will compose two articles on these themes. The first one defends the idea that literary works can give knowledge of what it is like to have a certain kind of experience, usually termed “experiential knowledge” in aesthetics. The second paper deals with the issue of justification. How can the reader draw valid conceptions and perspectives on what it is like to have a certain kind of experience from literary works? Drawing on esteemed research on epistemic trust, authority, responsibility, and virtuosity, I argue that many literary works meet the same conditions that social epistemologists have thought to lie behind valid epistemic trust. Together with my previous publications, these articles form the basis of a monograph the manuscript of which I plan to finish by the end of 2024. The results of the project are important for understanding the threats related to the global decrease of literary reading witnessed in recent decades.
The Russo-Ottoman War of 1828-29 and its Impact on the Balkans and the Caucasus
The project is about writing a book on the Russo-Ottoman War of 1828-1829, focusing on its long-term impact on the Balkans and the Caucasus. In the scholarly literature the war has been studied from narrow and nationalistic agendas, without using the Ottoman archives and with little use of the archives of Georgia and Armenia. The proposed research and ensuing monograph will develop a synthetic and comprehensive narrative and a more objectively balanced view of the war, without being drowned in technical details. Research questions: What was the impact of the 1828-29 Russo-Ottoman War on the European balance of power, the Eastern Question, the Balkans and the Caucasus? Why were Russian military authorities reluctant to use Balkan irregulars in this war? Were the Bulgar volunteers similar to the Greek klephti? Why was Russia more successful than the Ottomans in gaining the neutrality of Kurdish tribes along the Caucasian borderlands? Why did Russia set up an Armenian province out of the khanates of Erivan and Nakhichevan, ceded by Qajar Iran in 1828? Apart from the Greek independence and autonomy of the Danubian principalities, what was the legacy of the war?
Medical Culture and Learned Society in the High Roman Empire: Knowing the Body, Curing the Mind
This project aims to develop an innovative approach to ancient medicine, based on how non-experts interacted in its history. The project is provocative in its ambition to take the study of ancient medicine away from the professionals by introducing a lay perspective. In so doing, it calls for a more inclusive, less hierarchical approach to the available sources, which will further expand our knowledge of the ancient medical market place and the ways in which lay authors, as key stakeholders, tapped into it. Medicine was held in high regard in the High Roman Empire. Numerous eminent learned authors (including sophists, philosophers, politicians, even emperors) wrote extensively about medicine/health related topics, both in Greek/Latin, and expected their readers to share that interest. The time is right for a revaluation of this fascinating phenomenon based on a contextual reading of the available sources against the intellectual background of the Imperial period. By studying the human body as an object of elite knowledge and as a marker of societal normativity (along the fault lines of gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, religion), the project aims to make a meaningful contribution to the wider socio-cultural and intellectual resonance of ancient medicine in Graeco-Roman Antiquity and beyond.