Ukraine in Focus – Lecture Series and GWZO Annual Lecture

Since 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation has been waging a war against Ukraine aimed at destroying Ukrainian statehood. This shows the brutality of warfare combined with sharp rhetoric that denies the existence of an independent Ukrainian culture and history. The lecture series on the literature, culture and history of Ukraine sees itself as a scholarly intervention against this war and aims to give continuing visibility to research on Ukraine. It also aims to contribute to a better understanding of historical and current developments in Ukraine. In the summer semester, the focus of the lectures was on questions of literary and cultural studies; in the winter semester, the historical perspective will move more into the foreground.

The series will resume on 19 October with a prominent panel discussion on questions of international law in the current war of aggression against Ukraine. The speakers in the following weeks and months will then use such things as wine consumption, grain, battles, music and monuments as lenses to introduce the complex history of the region. A special feature of the lecture series in the winter semester 2022/23 is that the lecturers from the GWZO and the University of Leipzig mostly lecture together with Ukrainian women academics who have fled and are temporarily resident in Leipzig. This is another reason why the series is presented in German and English.

Please see the online registration for the hybdrid lecture series.

A highlight of the event series is this year’s Oskar Halecki Lecture of the GWZO, which will take place on the evening of 27 October (6 pm c.t. CET) in the Institute’s rooms (GWZO, Specks Hof (Eingang A), 4. Etage, Reichsstraße 4–6, 04109 Leipzig). For the English-language lecture „Choosing Freedom in Ukraine: Historical Roots and Contemporary Meaning“, the GWZO was able to win the British-Ukrainian author and historian Olesya Khromeychuk. She asks about the historical roots of the understanding of freedom in the invaded country. Her research focuses on the history of Eastern Europe and Ukraine in particular in the 20th century. Originally from L’viv, she moved to the UK in 2000 and currently runs the Ukrainian Institute in London. She is also part of the theatre group Molodyi Teatr London, which stages documentary plays on current social and political issues such as immigration, displacement and war. Her very personal book „A Loss: The Story of a Dead Soldier Told by His Sister“ (Stuttgart, Ibidem 2021; German translation 2022), in which she writes poignantly about the death of her brother, who was killed in eastern Ukraine in 2017, in a combination of personal memoir and essay, has attracted considerable international attention.

The lecture will be framed literarily by Andrii Rymlianskyi (Augsburg/Černivci), who will read from works by Serhij Zhadan in Ukrainian and German, and musically by lona Smolyanchuk (Kyïv), who will sing and play the bandura.