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HURI is looking forward to the 2019 Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) Convention, which begins tomorrow, November 23, in San Francisco, California. This year there are over 80 events related to Ukraine, many of which involve the participation of our faculty, staff, fellows, and associates. We're also showcasing our publications and those of some of our fellow Ukrainian organizations (such as Krytyka, the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter, and the Canadian Insitute of Ukrainian Studies) in the exhibition hall. Find us at Booths 118 and 120 to peruse our volumes, purchase books at a discount, and talk with our publications staff about your articles and book manuscripts.

The following is just a sampling of Ukraine-related events at ASEEES. We hope you're able to join us while you're at the convention!

Saturday, November 23

Visual Vocabularies of Early Modern Ruthenia | 12:00-1:45pm, Floor 5, Sierra A
Includes a presentation on miracle reporting by HURI monographs editor, Michelle Viise

This panel seeks to engage with the ways in which the idea of Ruthenia was revised and updated in response to the new cultural and political contexts of the seventeenth century. Of particular importance is how both Ruthenian identity and external identifications of Ruthenia were mediated and animated through the encounters, dialogues, and mutual collaboration between verbal and visual languages. How did Ruthenians claim a belonging to the wider Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth while simultaneously professing a form of cultural exceptionalism? And, more critically, what was “Ruthenia” in the seventeenth century; who were the Ruthenian artists and intellectuals; how do their visual and textual vocabularies fit into a larger European context?

Envisioning Change in the Religious Landscape in Ukraine after Autocephaly | 2:00-3:45pm, Floor LB2, Salon 7
Includes a presentation of MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine by Kostyantyn Bondarenko (MAPA project manager) and papers by HURI fellows Oxana Shevel and Viktoriya Sereda

After more than 300 years of unification, the Ukrainian Orthodox churches have split from their Russian counterparts to form the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Some have called this the most significant event in church history since the Great Schism. As both countries are engaged in armed combat in eastern Ukraine, changes in the religious sphere take on new motivations and meanings. From multiple disciplinary perspectives and using some of the latest technologies to envision change, this panel considers what the recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly means for Eastern Christianity and for geopolitics more broadly.

Book Discussion: The Post-Chornobyl Library by Tamara Hundorova | 2:00-3:45pm, Floor 4, Pacific D
This new book is co-published by HURI and Academic Studies Press; roundtable includes Oleh Kotsyuba (HURI manager of publications)

The Post-Chornobyl Library (2019) by Tamara Hundorova interprets the Ukrainian literary landscape of the 1990s as a carnivalesque space of postmodernist games that reveal and legitimize the imagination, privacy, and subjectivity of the post-totalitarian subject. The study discusses the subversion and rewriting of Soviet cultural codes and populist taboos in Ukrainian literature. The image of the post-apocalyptic library becomes the main metaphor of the postmodern condition representing the rhizomatic body of culture through a set of new authors, practices and minicanons. The book approaches the trauma of Chornobyl, which caused severe socio-cultural, psychological, and aesthetic deformations in the post-Soviet space, as the symbolic midpoint of this condition. Co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard and the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the US.

Meeting: American Association for Ukrainian Studies | 6:30-8:30pm, Floor 2, Foothill A
Followed by a reception sponsored by the Shevchenko Society

Sunday, November 24

Book Discussion: Courage and Fear by Ola Hnatiuk | 4:30-6:15pm, Floor 2, Foothill B
This new book is co-published by HURI, Academic Studies Press, and Kolegium Europy Wschodniej; roundtable includes HURI Director Serhii Plokhii

Discussing Ola Hnatiuk’s Courage and Fear (2019), this roundtable will examine the questions of pre- and post-war influence of beliefs on the history of the city of Lviv in the 20th century, misrepresentation of the history of the multicultural city in various national narratives, collaboration and its interpretations in such narratives, and the challenge of reconciliation of such contradictory accounts. Co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard and the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter.

Film Screening: The Trial by Sergei Loznitsa | 6:45-10:00pm, Floor LB2, Salon 8
Followed by a discussion with the director, Sergei Loznitsa; screening sponsored by HURI

The award-winning Ukrainian director will participate in a forum discussion following the screening with prominent scholars of Soviet and post-Soviet history and culture. The director and the discussion participants will take a closer look at the theatricality and the social, national and political components of the show trials of the 1930s, putting them in contemporary perspective and discussing their afterlife in today’s post-Soviet societies.

About the film: In clear reference to Franz Kafka’s allegorical novel of the same name, Sergei Loznitsa’s The Trial (2018) immerses theviewer in court hearings that were based on absurd charges and forced admissions of guilt in a trial whose true objective couldn’t lie any further from justice and whose punishment was death sentence. The show trial held in Moscow in 1930 was a portent of the state terror to come, when Stalin had millions of citizens executed or sent to prison camps between 1936 and 1938, in the course of the Great Purge. A group of economists and engineers were accused of being members of the Industrial Party and conspiring with the French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré to stage a coup. Loznitsa uses actual footage of the trial to lay bare the workings of the totalitarian justice machine. Given the recent rise in authoritarian tendencies across the globe and the reliance on “alternative facts,” an understanding of the nature of show trials acquires new urgency for our times.

Monday, November 25

New Directions in Challenging Entrenched Beliefs and Stereotypes in Interethnic Relations: Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter Case Study | 8:00-9:45am, Floor LB2, Salon 10
Roundtable includes HURI Director Serhii Plokhii

This roundtable will treat the theme of “beliefs” in the sense of deeply held convictions that are based on preconceptions, myths, generalizations, stereotypes, and partial truths. The focus will be on the expression of such “beliefs” in the folklore, literature, and historiography of both Jews and of Ukrainians, and their impact on Ukrainian-Jewish relations. Roundtable participants will be invited to reflect on the origins of such beliefs, the dynamics that sustained them and unique features in how they manifested in the Ukrainian-Jewish experience historically, the prevalence and contemporary impact of such beliefs, the extent to which the issue is being addressed in Ukrainian and Jewish public discourse today, and possible approaches to overcoming such “beliefs” in the public sphere at a popular level.

Contested Histories, Divided Loyalties, Uncertain Futures: Gender, Religion, and Identity in Soviet and Contemporary Ukraine | 8:00-9:45am, Floor LB2, Salon 15
Roundtable includes Emily Channell-Justice (director of HURI's Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program)

The five years that have elapsed since the events of Euromaidan have brought into sharp focus the social, political, cultural, and religious divisions, as well as clashing conceptualizations of the past and visions for the future, which have existed for centuries among the Ukrainian people. The current socio-political climate is defined by a multiplicity of competing emancipatory discourses that center on the imperative of creating a Ukrainian future that is free of the influence and control of various external and internal nations, movements, and individuals, including the Russian State, the Russian Orthodox Church, the European Union, domestic Left-and Right-Wing movements, and liberal Western cultural ideologies, as well as the legacy of the Soviet Union. The speakers in the proposed roundtable will explore the historical roots and contemporary development of these competing discourses, focusing particularly on conversations and controversies surrounding gender, sexuality, and religion in Soviet and post-Soviet Ukraine as elements of an overarching social debate about the essential substance of Ukrainian culture and tradition, the nation’s place in the world, and what constitutes individual, cultural, political, and national autonomy and independence. We believe that, given the rapidly-changing political and social landscape of Ukraine and the likelihood of significant developments in our work between now and the convention, and the necessity of examining both historical and contemporary Ukraine in an interdisciplinary framework, the roundtable will facilitate a more dynamic and productive discussion than a standard panel.

ASEEES Awards Ceremony & President's Address | 6:30-8:00pm, Floor LB2, Salon 7
Includes the first-ever Omeljan Pritsak Book Prize in Ukrainian Studies

About the book prize: The Omeljan Pritsak Book Prize in Ukrainian Studies, established in 2019 and sponsored by the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, recognizes a distinguished book in the field of Ukrainian studies that was published in the previous calendar year. The Pritsak Prize carries a cash award and is presented annually at the ASEEES Annual Convention.

The primary founder of Harvard’s Ukrainian Research Institute and the first Mykhailo S. Hrushevs’kyi Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard, Omeljan Pritsak was an esteemed scholar of broad scope and erudition, who treated Ukrainian history and culture in close connection with the history and culture of its neighbors.

Tuesday, November 26

A Clash of Beliefs: Diasporic National Faiths, Human Rights, and Soviet Transnational Counter-Activism during the Cold War | 12:00-1:45pm, Floor 4, Pacific B
Includes a presentation on HURI and other research centers by HURI Research Fellow Simone Bellezza

One of the fundamental components of the Cold War was the ideological confrontation between capitalism and socialism. This fundamental conflict, however, was made more complex by the addition of other clashes of beliefs: while the Soviet Union was the champion of internationalism, the United States presented themselves as protectors of the nations and of their right to self-determination. This dispute was also motivated by different conceptions of human rights, of who were the primary subjects of these rights (individuals, nations, classes), and of how these rights should be applied and defended. The differences grew with the increasing importance of the human rights debate after the Helsinki Accords.

This panel will illustrate how this battle for the hearts was conducted in the transnational space of Soviet diasporas. East European emigres in the West came to play a role of increasing importance in the international relations between the two blocs: their experiences and multiple national belongings allowed them to influence (and to be influenced by) both their original and new homelands. They were at the same time targets of propaganda and active political actors trying to foster their own goals and, in doing so, they expressed original interpretations of the concepts of nation, human rights, socialism, and liberism. This panel will include three specific cases illustrating how the Ukrainian, Baltic, and Jewish diasporas interacted with Western political authorities and one on how the USSR sought in a targeted manner to limit their action and influence.