Scholarship in Service to the People: Father Mykhailo Zubryts'kyi (1856-1919) and the Study of the Galician Ukrainian Village

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (Room 1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join the Harriman Institute for a talk by Professor Frank E. Sysyn (University of Alberta, CIUS).

In 1905, Father Mykhailo Zubryts’kyi, pastor of Mshanets’, and Ivan Franko, the leading Galician Ukrainian writer, engaged in a polemic about the purpose of scholarship. While Franko, the L’viv intellectual, argued for “scholarship for scholarship’s sake” (nauka dlia nauky), Zubryts’kyi, the village activist, advocated “scholarship for living”(nauka dlia zhyttia). In reality both scholars had national objectives for scholarship. Franko saw it as a way for the Ukrainian nation (natsiia) to affirm its position in the family of enlightened nations. Zubryts’kyi, who used the term narod both for the nation and the common people, saw it as a way to uplift the simple folk and forge ties between the Ukrainian intelligentsia and the popular masses.

In the period from the 1880s to World War I, Zubryts’kyi was one of the most prolific collectors of oral traditions and material culture in the Ukrainian countryside. He also published one of the most complete documentary collections on a Ukrainian village. As a commentator on rural life, he wrote hundreds of articles on the Staryi Sambir and Turka regions. His contemporaries held him up as the model of a Ukrainian national populist clergyman. The talk will deal with Zubryts’kyi’s intellectual formation and scholarly oeuvre.

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.