In his speech on February 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin claimed that Ukraine is a fake state created by Bolshevik Russia. His revisionist historical narrative is not only an attempt to justify an unjust war against the sovereign country of Ukraine, but also a direct attack on Ukrainian Studies as a discipline. This round table offers a decisive scholarly intervention in defense of historical truth and a reflection on our renewed responsibility as scholars in the face of the Russian military attack on Ukraine. Presented by the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University.
Rory Finnin, University Associate Professor of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Cambridge
Valentina Izmirlieva, Professor of Slavic Literatures and Culture and Director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University
Vita Susak, art historian and expert at the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, Ministry of Culture of Ukraine
Frank Sysyn, Director of the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
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).
Rory Finnin is University Associate Professor of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Cambridge. He is the Founding Director of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies (2008–2018); former Head of the Department of Slavonic Studies (2014–18); and former Chair of the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES) (2011–18). Finnin received his PhD (with distinction) in Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He also holds Certificates from the Harriman Institute and from the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ukraine 1995–97) and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. Finnin is also convener (with Sander van der Linden in Social Psychology) of the University’s Disinformation and Media Literacy Special Interest Group, a community of scholars and practitioners committed to advancing creative interventions against disinformation and ‘fake news’. The DML SIG is part of Cambridge’s Trust and Technology Strategic Research Initiative. In 2015 Finnin won a Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecturer from the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), the representative body for all students at the University.
Valentina Izmirlieva is Professor of Slavic Literatures and Culture and Director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. Much of her research addresses cultural exchanges among Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the context of multi-ethnic, multi-religious empires and their successor states. She is author of All the Names of The Lord: Lists, Mysticism and Magic (University of Chicago, 2008), and co-editor of Translation and Tradition in Slavia Orthodoxa, Slavische Sprachgeschichte, vol. 5 (Lit Verlag, 2012). Her current book project focuses on Christian-Muslim cultural exchange in the Ottoman Empire during the 19th Century. She was a Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers (2012) and gave the inaugural Shevelov lecture in Ukrainian Studies in 2018. She founded and leads Black Sea Networks, a global initiative to investigate the Black Sea as a hub of cultural, political, and historical interest.
Vita Susak is an art historian, curator, and an expert for the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation at the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. She is a member of the Swiss Academic Society for East European Studies, the Polish Institute of World Art Studies, and the Ukrainian Committee at the International Council of Museums (ICOM). She is also a member of the board of the Memoriart 33-45 Association. Susak received her doctoral degree (History of Art) from the State Institute for Art Studies in Moscow (1997). In 1992–2016, she headed the Department of Modern European Art at the Lviv National Art Gallery, where she curated twenty-eight exhibitions. She also taught at the Ivan Franko National University in Lviv in 2011–2015. She is the author of numerous publications, among them two monographs: Ukrainian Artists in Paris, 1900–1939 (2010) and Alexis Gritchenko: Dynamocolor (2017). Susak’s research interests include Ukrainian, Jewish, and Russian avant-garde artistic emigration in the 20th century; the School of Paris; identities and identification in art. Her recently published articles include “Whose Malevich? Why Malevich?” in Divided Memories, Shared Memories, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Connexe 5 (2019), and “Memoire et monuments” in Histoire partagée, mémoires divisées. Ukraine, Russie, Pologne (2020).
Frank E. Sysyn is director of the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS), professor in the Department of History, Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Alberta, and editor in chief of the Hrushevsky Translation Project, the English translation of the multi-volume History of Ukraine-Rus’ (12 volumes). He is head of the executive committee of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) at CIUS, a member of the editorial board of Harvard Ukrainian Studies and East-West: A Journal of Ukrainian Studies, and head of the advisory board of the Ukrainian Program at the Harriman Institute. He has taught at the University of Alberta, Harvard University, Columbia University, Stanford University, and other institutions. A specialist in East Central European 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 Khmelnytsky Uprising, Ukrainian historiography, early modern Ukrainian political culture, modern Ukrainian religious history, and the Holodomor. He is also coauthor with Serhii Plokhy of Religion and Nation in Modern Ukraine (2003) and co-editor with Martin Schulze Wessel of Religion, Nation, and Secularization in Ukraine (2015). He is co-editor with Andrea Graziosi of Communism and Hunger: The Ukrainian, Chinese, Kazakh, and Soviet Famines (2016) and the recently published Genocide: The Power and Problems of a Concept (2022). He is editor in chief of three-volume collected work of Father Mykhailo Zubryts’kyi: Vol. 1 Scholarly Works (2013), Vol. 2 Materials toward a Biography (2016), and Vol. 3 Newspaper Articles, Ethnographic Works, and Archival Materials (2019).