Politics of History. Collective Memory and Competing Media Representations: World War II and Displaced Ukrainians

Thursday April 19

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Thu Apr 19 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM 108N, North House

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Svitlana Frunchak


History is often political. As Martin Conway noted, the struggle for memory is a mechanism by which political forces compete for the present and the future. (Conway, 2004) History remains an important battleground in today’s globalized world and certainly in the Post Communist space. This symposium presents new perspectives on the debates by bringing together an international, inter-disciplinary panel. The focus will be on World War II and Ukraine. However, rather than trying to determine who were the ‘heroes’ and who were the ‘villains,’ the speakers will explore the international context of the history and memory of millions of ordinary Ukrainians uprooted during the course of the war. They will discuss how experiences were politicized during the Cold War, how debates are changing after the collapse of communism, and the importance of mass media in this process.


Marta Dyczok, Dphil, Oxford, Associate Professor, Departments of Political Science and History, University of Western Ontario, Fellow, CERES, Munk School of Global Affairs Adjunct Professor, National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Harvard Shklar Fellow 2011. She will speak about her new research project which is the starting point: how competing media representations of Ukrainians displaced during World War II shape collective memory, and how this story challenges dominant narratives. The interdisciplinary project builds on her two previous studies: The Grand Alliance and Ukrainian Refugees (2000) and Media, Democracy and Freedom (2009). During her summer 2011 research trip to Ukraine she conducted numerous interviews, and brought together a research team. Two of these research collaborators will be invited to participate in the symposium, since each brings a unique point of view to the issues.

Vladyslav Hrynevych, Doktor Istorychnykh Nauk, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Associate Professor, National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, formerly of the Ukrainian Institute for National Memory. One of Ukraine’s top scholars of memory politics, he contextualizes the story of displaced people in the larger debates surrounding World War II and collective memory. In addition to conducting research, publishing scholarly works, including Social and Political Moods and Morality of the population in Ukraine during the Second World War (2007), speaking at international conferences on the politics of memory in Ukraine, Hrynevych regularly comments on the subject in Ukrainian and international media outlets.

Journalist Andriy Kulykov, brings a different kind of perspective. BBC trained in England, he is one of Ukraine’s top journalists. Host of a live, weekly TV political talk show, Svoboda Slova z Andriem Kulykovom: http://svoboda.ictv.ua/, which was named political talk show of the year in June 2011, he also lectures at various Ukrainian universities and supervises graduate students. A graduate of Kyiv University’s Faculty of International Relations and Law, during the Soviet era worked as deputy editor of News From Ukraine, a publication aimed at Ukrainians living abroad. Thus he brings the viewpoint of a media practitioner, as well as a non-academic angle on how Ukrainians in the country and beyond its borders view each other, how media represents this, and how this has changed over time.