Cold War Shevchenko, or How the Superpowers Built Statues to the Same Poet

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th St)

Please join the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University for a presentation by Markian Dobczansky, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute.

In 1964, in honor of the 150th anniversary of his birth, monuments to the nineteenth century Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko appeared in Moscow and Washington, D.C. While the statues portrayed the same historical figure, the political and ideological meanings attached to them were diametrically opposed. Nevertheless, both statues reinforced the idea that culture and historical memory mattered during the Cold War. This talk looks at these two statues in the context of the Cold War competition, situating them within a transnational argument about the fate of Ukrainian culture under Soviet rule.

Markian Dobczansky is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute. He received his Ph.D. in history from Stanford University and has held fellowships at the University of Toronto and the George Washington University. His interests include the politics of culture in the Soviet Union, urban history, as well as Russian and Ukrainian nationalism. He is currently working on a book about the politics of culture and local identity in Soviet Kharkiv from 1917 to 1991.