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Fellows for Academic Year 2012-2013

Mihaychuk Fellows for 2012-2013

Maria Sonevytsky

Independent Scholar ( Completed PhD at Columbia February 2012)

Area of Study:

Ethnomusicology/Cultural Anthropology

Title of Research:

“Wild Music: ideology of Exoticism in Two Ukrainian Borderlands”


This research project will expand upon prior PhD research that focuses on the embodiment of dominant stereotypes of otherness in two Ukrainian borderland collectivities: the Tatars of Crimea, and the Hutsuls of the Carpathian Mountains. Hutsuls embody the stereotype of the ideal Herderian, "romantic" folk. Crimean Tatars embody the stereotype of the menacing, mysterious, "oriental" other.
Sonevytsky’s research traces how the historical stereotype for both groups as "wild" has shaped their contemporary expressive cultures. Specifically addressed is the question of how hegemonic conceptions of "otherness" manifest on the ground within the communities who bear the stigma of such entrenched histories of exoticism. Sonevytsky’s project also focuses on music as a medium for challenging and reinforcing ideologies of exoticism, demonstrating how insiders and outsiders in both cases draw upon indigenous musical tropes to express, reinforce or subvert stereotypes of "wildness." By analyzing how music energizes social and political agendas for borderland groups such as the Hutsuls and Crimean Tatars, the project emphasizes the co-presence of alternate subalterities within the nation-state, demonstrating the degrees to which a post-socialist, diverse and fractured state such as Ukraine is constructed through imaginings of its internal, peripheral Others.