NEW YORK – Columbia University’s Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute will offer six courses focusing on Ukrainian political science, literature, language and visual art for the spring 2022 semester. The program will also organize and host a series of lectures throughout the semester.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the university has mandated that all courses be held online for at least the first two weeks of the semester. Events will also be online, but they will be open to the public upon registration.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:10-2:25 p.m., Dr. Mark Andryczyk will teach the course “Brand New: Creating Identity in Contemporary Ukrainian Culture.” Throughout the course, which will present and examine post-Soviet Ukrainian literature, students will learn about the significant achievements, names, events, scandals and polemics in contemporary Ukrainian literature and they will see how these writers have contributed to Ukraine’s post-Soviet identity.
Students will also examine how Ukrainian literature became an important site for experimentation with language, for providing feminist perspectives, for engaging previously-banned taboos and for deconstructing Soviet and Ukrainian national myths. The course will focus on writers Serhiy Zhadan, Yuri Andrukhovych, Oksana Zabuzhko and Taras Prokhasko.
Centered on the most important successes in literature, the course will also explore key developments in music and the visual art of this period. Special focus will be given to how the 2013-2014 Euro-Maidan revolution and the subsequent ongoing war are treated in today’s literature.
By also studying Ukrainian literature with regard to its relationship with Ukraine’s changing political life, students will obtain a strong understanding of the dynamics in today’s Ukraine and the development of Ukraine as a nation in the 21st century. The course will be complemented by audio and video presentations. It will be taught entirely in English with a parallel reading list for those who read Ukrainian.
Dr. Olena Martynyuk, the Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University, will teach a course titled “Agents of Change: Ukrainian Art Between Revolutions.” The course will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:10-2:25 p.m. It will trace the appearance of the avant-garde on the territory of the Russian Empire with a focus on Ukrainian art as compared to Russian.
In examining art that aspires not only to reflect but to alter the reality originating both in the center and the periphery, the class will explore the array of strategies employed by art for that end. The foundational theories of avant-garde, non-conformism and dissident art will be studied alongside the most celebrated and influential examples of innovative and radical art from the region.
Beginning with socially minded realist practices, the class will consider the impact of the collapse of the Russian and then Soviet empires on art and reflect on how societal upheavals affect understanding of the function and definition of art. The appearance of Socialist Realism and the versions of opposition to it will be studied, from dissident undermining to neglect and escapism of the second avant-gardes. Ukrainian art of recent decades will be studied in the context of several revolutions (Granite, Orange, Euro-Maidan) that defined its contemporary history. The class is offered for graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian is not required.
In Spring 2022, for Ukrainian ambassador Valeriy Kuchynskyi will teach a course titled “Ukraine: Power Politics and Diplomacy,” which will be held on Tuesdays from 2:10-4 p.m. The seminar-like course will consist of three parts: historical background, thematic and political issues and conclusions. It will provide historical perspectives on the development of today’s Ukraine, analysis of the evolution of its politics since independence and its quest for Euro-Atlantic integration.
While providing an assessment of political, social and economic transformations, the course will also examine the major causes of the Euro-Maidan and the Revolution of Dignity. The current political situation in the country and Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine will also be thoroughly investigated. The results of the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections and their impact will also be analyzed in detail.
The class will also tackle the following questions: What are the chances the new government will eradicate corruption, improve the economic situation, implement reforms and reach a peaceful solution in the Donbas? Is there a future for the Minsk accords? What’s the significance of the Normandy Summit? The newly-revised course, led by a career Ukrainian diplomat, will also explore behind-the scenes activities in Ukraine, as well as power struggles and diplomatic activities.
The format of the course will encourage active dialogue and analytical reflection on the part of the students. The professor regularly provides articles and reviews on the latest political developments in Ukraine. During the course, each student will be expected to prepare mid-term and final papers that explore the prospects of Ukraine becoming a free, prosperous, democratic state that is a member of European institutions, or whether they believe Ukraine will remain in Russia’s sphere of influence.
Three levels of Ukrainian language instruction will be taught this Spring by Dr. Yuri Shevchuk: Elementary II on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:40 a.m.-12:55 p.m.; Intermediate II on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10:10-11:25 a.m.; and Advanced Ukrainian Through Literature, Media and Politics on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:40-3:55 p.m.
A series of events have already been scheduled for the Spring 2022 semester. On February 4, a presentation of the book “Contemporary Ukrainian and Baltic Art: Political and Social Perspectives, 1991–2021” (ibidim, 2021), featuring several of its contributors, will take place.
February 16 will feature a book presentation and reading by Anna Frajlich-Zajac and Vasyl Makhno of the volume “Imię Ojca/Im’ia Bat’ka” (Krok, 2021), a bilingual volume of Frajlich-Zajac’s Polish-language poems and their Ukrainian-language translations by Mr. Makhno.
On March 9, in commemoration of Taras Shevchenko’s birth, Volodymyr Dibrova will present his latest book, “Svizhym okom: Shevchenko dlia suchasnoho chytacha” (Bilka, 2021), and on March 21 there will be a round table on contemporary Ukrainian music organized as part of the Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival 2022.
All of these events will be moderated by Mr. Andryczyk and will be held virtually at noon as Zoom webinars and streamed via YouTube Live. They will not be in-person events. Registration will be required. Please see the Ukrainian Studies Program web page (https://harriman.columbia.edu/research-regions/ukraine/) for more details. Also, the Ukrainian Film Club will present films throughout the semester. More information about those film screenings will be posted as events on the Ukrainian Studies Program webpage once dates and times are confirmed.
Courses at Columbia are open to students from other universities in the New York metropolitan area seeking credit. Readers should contact the university at which they are enrolled to determine whether their school participates in this manner with Columbia University.
Some courses are open to outside individuals interested in non-credit continuing studies. Additionally, through the Lifelong Learners program, individuals over age 65 who are interested in auditing courses may enroll at a discounted rate. For more information, readers may visit the Columbia University School of Continuing Education, http://www.ce.columbia.edu/auditing/?PID=28.
The first day of classes is January 18. For more information about courses or the Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University, readers may contact Mr. Andryczyk at email@example.com or 212-854-4697.