"Material and Immaterial Revolutions: Reflections on Kateryna Ruban’s Talk on Ukraine’s Decommunization Laws and 'Soviet Exorcism'" by Sandra Joy Russell

Sandra Joy RussellHow have decommunization efforts participated in a larger Ukrainian history? In what ways have they shaped Ukraine today, and to what extent have they become part of its memory politics?

These were some of the questions posed by Kateryna Ruban in her talk, “Ukrainian Decommunization from Above and Below: Lenin’s Heads, Ideological Exorcism, and Demons of the Soviet Past,” on Wednesday, July 11th, 2018. A PhD Candidate in History at New York University, Ruban’s presentation explored some of the ways in which decommunization laws have sought to provide a moral framework for a post-Soviet Ukraine.

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"Rebels of 18th Century Venice: Casanova and Aristocratic Daughters Consorting in Convents" by Ozlem Eren

Özlem ErenGondolas glide along the canal with an air of excitement, because it is carnival time in Venice! Handsome young men in masks approach the nunnery and pick up young women dressed in delicate silk gowns under the watchful gaze of the mother superior. The dresses are cut in the latest fashion from the most luxurious Venetian brocades and silks, embroidered with pearls. In the women’s hands flutter diamond and gem-crusted fans, which by this time have become serious flirtation devices…

HUSI student Özlem Eren examines Casanova's legacy in light of her recent visit to the Museum of Fine Art's 18th century exhibition.

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"A Counterbalance to 'Dark Tourism' in Eastern Europe" by Alex Bernosky

Alexandra BernoskyIf “dark tourism” is not an entirely new phenomenon, I would guess it has at least become more popular in the twenty-first century. The subject has stuck in my mind since last week’s HUSI lecture on Chernobyl given by Dr. Plokhii, after which one of our Summer Institute students spoke up about foreign tourism to Chernobyl’s exclusion zone. The student said that the Chernobyl disaster is the only thing some tourists know about Ukraine and raised the question of whether this kind of tourism should be encouraged. Such a question is commonly posed in the face of dark tourism to all sorts of places, from creepy abandoned towns like my native Pennsylvania’s ghost town Centralia, to more politically and emotionally charged sites like Ground Zero in New York City and various sites of genocide around the world.

Maybe I care about this question because I know that I am not immune to the attraction of dark tourism.

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