"A Hetman Worthy of the Name": Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Early-Eighteenth Century Ukrainian Historiography

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 IAB)
Please join the Harriman Institute for a lecture by Professor Frank Sysyn (University of Alberta).
In the early eighteenth century, the cult of Bohdan Khmelnytsky as the founder of the Cossack Hetmanate and the liberator of his people from “Polish bondage” took full shape. The most important text in disseminating this image of the hetman is conventionally called the Hrabianka chronicle  because some of the more than 60 extant manuscripts of the work attribute its authorship to the Cossack colonel Hryhorii Hrabianka. In fact the attribution is questionable and the two differing forms of the work, the long and the short redactions, point to multiple-authorships during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. More certain is the impact of the work in elevating the person of the hetman to a central status in the history of the Cossack Hetmanate and in defining that polity’s relation with the Russian tsar. The talk will discuss the significance of the work in the creation of the Khmelnytsky myth and its impact on the Ukrainian historical narrative.
Frank E. Sysyn is director of the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, professor in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta, and editor in chief of the Hrushevsky Translation Project. A specialist in Ukrainian and Polish history, he is the author of Between Poland and the Ukraine: The Dilemma of Adam Kysil, 1600–1653 (1985), Mykhailo Hrushevsky: Historian and National Awakener (2001), and studies on the Khmelnytsy Uprising, Ukrainian historiography, and early modern Ukrainian political culture. He is also coauthor, with Serhii Plokhy, of Religion and Nation in Modern Ukraine (2003). Professor Sysyn, who has taught frequently at Columbia University, heads the Advisory Committee of the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute.