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Fellows for Academic Year 2012-2013

Shklar Fellows for 2012-2013

Agnieszka Matusiak

Agnieszka Matusiak

Professor of Ukrainian Literature and Chair of Ukrainian Studies, Institute of Slavic Studies, The University of Wroclaw

Area of Study:

Ukrainian literature and culture

Title of Research:

“The Discourse of Masculinity in Ukrainian literature of the 20th and 21stCentury”


The purpose of the proposed research is a synthetic and multi-dimensional investigation of the impact of modernist and postmodernist strategies about the discourse of masculinity in conceptualization and introvertisation of Ukrainian national-cultural identity that has been created by Ukrainian literature of the 20th and early 21st centuries. The main research hypothesis of the project assumes that masculinity, defined as a transgressive type of critical self-awareness of intellectual discourse --- based on spiritual, as well as corporeal, values --- is aimed at the conscious process of creating the postcolonial national character and postcolonial Ukrainian culture and literature, as well as securing the national instinct of self-defense.
Matusiak stresses that it is crucial to note that in traditional Ukrainian culture and literature which was formed on the values of the patriarchal rural world, the discourse of masculinity was deformed. It was different from Western patterns of hegemonic masculinity which were synonymous with power and dominant position. The Ukrainian discourse of masculinity was clearly weakened by the external discourse of imperial masculinity and imbued Ukrainians with a feminized character of their masculinity. Simultaneously, as a result of this "soft patriarchy" Ukrainian culture and literature became marginalized, making them subordinate to the discourse of the empire. The active and anarchic counter-discourse of modernism and later postmodernism has led to the amending of existing traditional paradigms of thought.