A Laboratory of Transnational History. Ukraine and Recent Ukrainian Historiography

By Granville, Johanna | Canadian Slavonic Papers, September-December 2010 | Go to article overview

A Laboratory of Transnational History. Ukraine and Recent Ukrainian Historiography


Granville, Johanna, Canadian Slavonic Papers


Georgiy Kasianov and Philipp Ther. A Laboratory of Transnational History . Ukraine and Recent Ukrainian Historiography. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2009. 318 pp. Index of names. Index of places. $40.00, cloth. $24.95, paper.

How do you write a history of a country that for centuries was split between several empires, lacked both an uninterrupted tradition of statehood and an established high culture with a standardized language, and was inhabited by several ethnic groups (the dominant one, the "little Russians" or "Ruthenians," being mostly illiterate peasants who were concentrated in rural areas and who left no written records for wide swaths of time and lacked any national consciousness until World War I)? How does one write about the history of these people who, even when they became literate, were forbidden to publish literature in Ukrainian (within the Russian Empire), and when Ukrainian history did not even exist as a field of study in universities? The answer, according to an international consortium of historians, is to write "transnational history," which they generally define as the study of relations between cultures and societies, focusing on "agents of cultural exchange" (pp. 3, 86). The purpose of this book, A Laboratory of Transnational History , edited by Georgiy Kasianov (Institute of Ukrainian History of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Kyiv) and Philipp Ther (European University Institute, Florence), is to contemplate alternative, more accurate, ways of interpreting Ukrainian history, by eschewing "linear and longue durée causal explanations, as well as teleology," and "speculating freely about conjunctures and contingencies, disruptions, and episodes of 'lack of history'" (p. 2). The book is divided into two sections. The first, titled "National versus Transnational History" contains four essays by Kasianov, Ther, Mark von Hagen, and Andreas Kappeler. The second section, "Ukrainian History Rewritten," consists of six essays by Natalia Yakovenko, Oleksiy Tolochko, John-Paul Himka, Yaroslav Hrytsak, Roman Szporluk, Alexei Miller, and Oksana Ostapchuk. The essays in the first section fit together well. In the first chapter, Kasianov establishes the basic principles of nationalized Ukrainian history, which he explains evolved in two stages. The first began in the mid nineteenth century, culminating in Mykhailo Hrushevsky's History of Ukraine-Rus' . Although supplanted by the Soviet paradigm of Ukrainian history, which denied autonomy to events in so-called "southern Russia," the Hrushevsky \^ersion was further nurtured by the Western diaspora and popularized by books such as Orest Subtelny' s Ukraine: A History and Paul Robert Magocsi's^4 History of Ukraine (p. 39). The second stage, which began in the late 1980s, continues to the present under state sponsorship. As Kasianov points out, this traditional, nationalized history is both ethnocentric and teleological. Characterized by a tendency to "sovereignize" national history, it generally "ignores the presence of other ethnoses or nations in what was actually a common space and time" (p. 17). In his essay, Kappeler explains that recent historical surveys "combine the history of the Ukrainian people with that of the present day territory of the Ukrainian state" (p. 59). Moreover, the premise of many Ukrainian historical studies written today is that "the Ukrainian nation and state arose naturally and were 'objectively determined' or programmed" (pp. 16-17). Centring mainly on Stalin's crimes and national traumas, the national paradigm exaggerates Ukrainian victimhood and lionizes individuals and groups like Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Ivan Mazepa, Stepan Bandera, Symon Petliura, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) (pp. 7, 9). The implicit equation of the famine of 1932-1933 ("Holodomor") with the Holocaust is a key element in Ukrainian national martyrology (pp. 9, 59).

To some extent, every country needs a nationalized history much like an individual person needs a raison d'être or positive self-image to survive. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Laboratory of Transnational History. Ukraine and Recent Ukrainian Historiography
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.