Ukrainian artists have been addressing Russian aggression in their country since the war between Russia and Ukraine began in 2014. Jolted by the illegal annexation of Crimea and by the invasion of the Donbas region, for years Ukrainian creative individuals have been developing innovative and challenging art that explores themes such as memory, gender, and displacement. The all-out attack on Ukraine’s existence begun on February 24th has further challenged these artists to respond creatively and to ensure the country’s survival. This round table examines the ways that Ukrainian music, film, literature, and visual art are engaged to counter the attack on Ukraine. Presented by the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute.
Olena Martynyuk, Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute
Yuri I. Shevchuk, Lecturer in Ukrainian at Columbia University
Maria Sonevytsky, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Music at Bard College
Kate Tsurkan, writer, editor, translator, and PhD candidate at New York University
Moderator: Mark Andryczyk, Associate Research Scholar and administrator of the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute
Mark Andryczyk has administered the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University and has taught Ukrainian literature at its Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures since 2007. He has a PhD in Ukrainian Literature from the University of Toronto (2005). His monograph The Intellectual as Hero in 1990s Ukrainian Fiction was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2012. A Ukrainian edition of that monograph, Intelektual iak heroi ukrains’koi prozy 90-kh rokiv XX stolittia was published by Piramida in 2014. He is a translator of Ukrainian literature into English. In 2008–2016 he organized the Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series (cosponsored by the Harriman and Kennan Institutes), which brought leading Ukrainian literary figures to audiences in North America. Andryczyk is editor and compiler of The White Chalk of Days, the Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series Anthology (Academic Studies Press, 2017). He has translated eleven essays by Yuri Andrukhovych for the publication My Final Territory: Selected Essays (University of Toronto Press, 2018). His latest publication is a translation of Volodymyr Rafeyenko’s novel Mondegreen: Songs about Death and Love (Harvard Library of Ukrainian Literature, 2022). He has recently guest-edited a special issue of East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies (vol. 9, no. 1, 2022) focusing on Ukrainian culture and the Donbas war. Also a musician, Andryczyk, under the name Yeezhak, has recorded three studio albums in Ukraine (1996, 1998, 2006) and has performed a series of concerts in support of these recordings, most recently at Pidzemnyi Perekhid Vagabundo (Ivano-Frankivsk, 2019).
Olena Martynyuk is an art historian with an interest in art theory and philosophy. Her research focuses on Ukrainian and Russian art from the late 20th century to the present. She graduated with a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University in January 2018. She is presently the Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University.
Yuri I. Shevchuk, Ph. D., lecturer of Ukrainian at Columbia University in the City of New York since 2004, is a leading specialist in Ukrainian-English lexicography. From 1990–2012, he also taught Ukrainian at Harvard University Summer School. His published translations include George Orwell’s Animal Farm, (1990, 2015) and Orest Subtelny bestselling Ukraine a History (1991). He authored Beginner’s Ukrainian with Interactive Online Workbook (2011, 2013, 2016), a popular textbook for American college students and independent learners worldwide, also published by Hippocrene Books. He writes and speaks on issues of language, identity, culture and Ukrainian cinema. His forthcoming publication is the first ever conceptual study of the use of language in Ukrainian Soviet and post-Soviet cinema.
Maria Sonevytsky is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Music at Bard College. Her research focuses on post-Soviet Ukraine, where she has pursued interests including folklore revivals after state socialism and the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on the revival of rural musical repertoires. In 2011, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, she founded the Chernobyl Songs Project: Living Culture from a Lost World, a public ethnomusicology program that sought to broaden awareness about the cultural impact of nuclear disaster by reviving ritual song repertoires from rural communities near the accident site that had dispersed after 1986. The project culminated with multimedia performances in four cities and a Smithsonian Folkways recording. She is the author of Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine (2019), winner of the Lewis Lockwood Award from the American Musicological Society; journal articles in Music & Politics, Public Culture, The World of Music, and Journal of Popular Music Studies; and several book chapters. Other areas of interest include critical organology, the science of musical instruments; and Soviet children’s music. Sonevytsky is also an accordionist, vocalist, and pianist. She taught at Bard for several years beginning in 2014 and then taught in the Music Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
Kate Tsurkan is a writer, editor, and translator. In 2017 she co-founded Apofenie magazine, an online journal that publishes mostly Central and Eastern European literature in translation. She is a PhD candidate at NYU specializing in 19th-century science-fiction.