Workshop
09 Dec 2022

Decolonizing Ukrainian Studies

Venue: Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Aufgang B, 3. Et.
Research project(s): World Fiction, Post/Socialist

The rhetoric of decolonization has been used increasingly with respect to Ukraine since 2014, and even more so after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion on 24 February 2022. In public and academic discourse, decolonization of Ukraine predominantly means resistance to Russian (and, less often, western) imperial powers that deny Ukrainian agency and its cultural and political self-determination. Examples of this approach range from the military struggle against the Russian hegemonic aspirations to widespread calls to “cancel the Russian culture,” that is, to cleanse Ukraine from the influence of the “russkii mir” (“Russian world”). While the latter is perceived as Ukraine’s toxic and destructive Other, its main obstacle “on the way to Europe” or implementation of “European values”, there is also growing criticism of western academic and human rights institutions for “westsplaining” the war or denying Ukraine’s agency and subjectivity.

Following these debates, the workshop seeks to relate the contemporary discussion on the decolonization of Ukraine to the conceptual apparatus developed within transnational postcolonial and decolonial studies. In doing so, we hope to explore its analytic potential with respect to Ukraine and develop new ideas and theoretical models for understanding the current war. Keeping in focus the complexity and dynamic character of global colonial relations, the workshop aims to facilitate scholarly dialogue about the prospects of Ukrainian Studies’ decolonization project, given the growing political instrumentalization of the decolonial terminology.

Please register in advance with Alexander Chertenko, oleksandr.chertenko@slavistik.uni-giessen.de.

The workshop is organized by the project (Un)Disciplined: Pluralizing Ukrainian Studies – Understanding Ukrainian War (UNDIPUS) funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) in collaboration with the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) and the ZfL.

On 8 December 2022, a panel discussion on Navigating Ukrainian Studies in Time of War will be held at ZOiS as part of the workshop.