On July 1, 2013, after three consecutive terms as HURI’s director, Professor Michael Flier passed the baton to Professor Serhii Plokhii.
During Professor Flier’s tenure, from 2004 to 2013, HURI hosted conferences, symposia, and art and photo exhibits on subjects as diverse as the Great Famine, post-Soviet energy politics, and Ivan Mazepa as a legend in world culture. Among the monographs and books published during Professor Flier’s directorship, some of the most notable are The Origin of the Igor Tale by Ned Keenan; Defter: The Ottoman Survey Register of Podolia by Dariusz Kołodziejczyk; Poltava 1709: The Battle and the Myth; and Ukraine under Western Eyes: The Bohdan and Neonila Krawciw Ucrainica Map Collection by Steven Seegel.
The global financial crisis of 2008 presented one of the biggest challenges of Professor Flier’s directorship. He worked to ensure the presence of Ukrainian studies at the university in the course offerings of the Department of History, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute. He also oversaw the relocation of the Institute to its current address at 34 Kirkland Street in Cambridge.
HURI’s new director, Professor Plokhii, is the Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University. He has lived, taught and conducted research in Ukraine, Russia, Canada, and the United States. Professor Plokhii’s career as a historian began in Ukraine. He received his doctorate in history from Taras Shevchenko State University of Kyiv in 1990. He served as the chair of the Department of World History at Dnipropetrovsk University from 1990 to 1992. He then conducted research at the Institute of Archeography and Source Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, where he headed the Department of the History of Culture.
After coming to North America Professor Plokhii served as professor of history at the University of Alberta. He was also the associate director of the Peter Jacyk Center for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS).
Professor Plokhii’s research interests include the intellectual, cultural, and international history of Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on Ukraine. He conducts courses and seminars on early modern and modern East European history, focusing upon the history of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Lithuania.
He is a leading authority on the history of Eastern Europe, with publications that include The Cossack Myth: History and Nationhood in the Age of Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2012); Yalta: The Price of Peace (Viking/Penguin, 2011); The Origins of the Slavic Nations:Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (Cambridge University Press, 2006); Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History (University of Toronto Press, 2005).
We all wish our new director many years of successful leadership and productive scholarship!