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Bridging East and West: Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, Ukraine’s Pioneering Modernist by Yuliya V. Ladygina

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute Columbia University for a discussion with Yuliya V. Ladygina, Assistant Professor of Russian and Global Studies at Pennsylvania State University, and author of Bridging East and West: Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, Ukraine’s Pioneering Modernist (University of Toronto Press, 2019). Moderated by Mark Andryczyk (Harriman Institute).

Bridging East and West: Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, Ukraine’s Pioneering Modernist explores the literary oeuvre of one of Ukraine’s foremost modernist writers, Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, who was a major contributor in the most significant intellectual debates of her time. Investigating themes of feminism, populism, Nietzscheanism, nationalism, and fascism in her works, the book offers an alternative intellectual genealogy in turn-of-the-century European arts and letters whose implications reach far beyond the field of Ukrainian studies. Rather than repeating various narratives about modernism as a radical response to nineteenth-century bourgeois culture or an aesthetic of fragmentation, this study highlights the aesthetic and philosophical fissures and fusions inherent to turn-of-the-century thought. For feminist scholars, Ladygina’s book makes accessible a thorough account of a central yet overlooked in Western criticism woman writer who served as a model and a contributor within a major cultural tradition. For those working in Victorian studies or comparative fascism and for those interested in Nietzsche and his influence on European intellectuals, Kobylians’ka emerges in this study as an unlikely, but no less active, trailblazer in the social and aesthetic theories that would define European debates about culture, science, and politics in the first half of the twentieth century. For those interested in questions of transnationalism and intersectionality, the book’s discussion of Kobylians’ka’s hybrid cultural identity and philosophical program and its evolution exemplifies cultural interchange and irreducible complexities of cultural identity.

Yuliya V. Ladygina is Assistant Professor of Russian and Global Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests center on East European literatures and cultures and include nineteenth-century Ukrainian and Russian literature, German and Russian intellectual history, Soviet and post-Soviet cinema, and state-sponsored informational warfare in contemporary Russia. Her current book project, preliminarily titled War on Reels. Cinematic Response to the Ukrainian Crisis, examines the legacy of Soviet and Hollywood war films in cinematic representations of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. Before joining Penn State, Ladygina was a Research Fellow at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian at Williams College, and a Teaching Assistant Professor of Russian and Humanities at The University of the South (Sewanee).

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