Ukraine and Russia: the Imagination of a Region

Identities

Do countries have their own unique identity? How do identities on geographical maps relate to identities on our mental maps of the world? Where is Ukraine (and where Russia) on the mental map of public and academic communities? How are assumptions about cultural and local identities deployed in political domains? And what role do these assumptions play in international relations? These old questions achieve new meaning in the Russian war in Ukraine. We investigate them with renowned European scholars and writers, who each have special personal and/or family ties with Central and Eastern Europe.

This English speaking event is part of the lecture series Oekraïne en Rusland: de verbeelding van een regio. All other episodes will be in Dutch.

About the speakers

Olesya Khromeychuk is director of the Ukranian Institute London. She is a historian of twentieth-century Europe, specializing in Ukrainian history. She has a PhD in History from University College London and she has taught at King’s College London, University College London and the University of Cambridge, among other institutions. She is the author of ‘Undetermined’ Ukrainians (Peter Lang 2013) and of the internationally acclaimed memoir/essay A Loss: The Story of a Dead Soldier Told by His Sister (Columbia UP 2021).

Arent van Nieukerken is a lecturer at the Chair of Slavic Studies of Amsterdam University and foreign member of the Polish Academy of Science (PAN). He has been a visiting professor at Warsaw University and The Nicolas Copernicus University of Toruń (Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika). An important part of his current research focuses on Polish, Ukrainian and Russian literature and their relation with national and regional identities. He is author of Ironiczny konceptyzm – nowoczesna polska poezja metafizyczna w anglosaskim kontekście (Ironic concetti – modernist Polish metaphysical poetry in an Anglo-Saxon context; Kraków 1998) and Perspektywiczność sacrum – szkice o Norwidowskim romantyzmie (The Holy in perspective – essays about Norwid’s romantism; Warszawa 2007).

Ellen Rutten (moderator) is Professor of Literature at the University of Amsterdam and editor-in-chief of the journal Russian Literature. Her interests include Eastern European contemporary literature, art, and media. She is author of Sincerity after Communism (Yale UP 2017; Russian translation: Iskrennost’ posle kommunizma, NLO 2022) and co-editor of Memory, Media and Conflict (Routledge 2014), Poetins rechtbank (Nieuw Amsterdam, 2018), and Imperfections (Bloomsbury 2021), among other publications.

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