Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore

By Nahachewsky, Andriy | Ethnologies, Spring-Fall 2007 | Go to article overview

Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore


Nahachewsky, Andriy, Ethnologies


The "Peter and Doris Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore" is a research centre affiliated with the Ukrainian Folklore programs at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Course offerings lead to BA, MA and PhD degrees in Ukrainian Folklore. The Kule Folklore Centre is the most important centre for Ukrainian folklore and ethnology outside of Ukraine, and the largest folklore research group in western Canada. The mandate of the Kule Folklore Centre is expanding beyond Ukrainian studies to include Canadian folklore more generally. The Faculty of Arts and the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, in which the Kule Folklore Centre is based, are open to the growth of additional folklore studies.

The Ukrainian Folklore program started with one introductory course in 1977 by Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky. It has now developed into a series of fifteen dedicated undergraduate and graduate courses, each offered either annually or biannually. Undergraduate courses include one course in general folklore, introductions to Ukrainian culture and to Ukrainian Canadian culture prior to 1930. Core courses for undergraduate and graduate students together include studies of Ukrainian folk song, prose, beliefs, rites of passage, calendar culture, material culture and folk arts, as well as dance. Graduate seminars are offered on the history of Ukrainian folkloristics, Ukrainian Canadian folklore, theory and methods.

A series of undergraduate and graduate awards recognize top students in various categories each year. Graduate students are particularly well supported with Ivan Franko research and teaching assistantships, an essay award, and travel bursaries. The Kule Postdoctoral Fellowship program has recently been established, allowing for a recent PhD graduate to work in the Kule Folklore Centre for up to three years.

Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky founded the Ukrainian Folklore programs, and served as core faculty member until his retirement in 2002. His research specializations included Ukrainian Canadian oral traditions (particularly proverbs), and the history of Ukrainian folklore studies. He was very active in development activities, raising funds to establish the Huculak Chair of Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography, which was occupied in 1990 by Dr. Andriy Nahachewsky. This was the first endowed professorial Chair in the Faculty of Arts, and led to significant expansion of the Ukrainian Folklore programs.

Dr. Nahachewsky completed his PhD at the University of Alberta under Dr. Medwidsky in the Department of Slavic and East European Studies. His dissertation, supported by a prestigious Isaac Walton Killam scholarship, tracked changes in Ukrainian Canadian participatory and theatrical dance forms over the twentieth century. His MA was also granted at the University of Alberta (1985), and he studied previously at the Oleksandr Korniichuk Institute of Culture (Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, 1981), York University (BFA in Dance, 1982) and the University of Saskatchewan (BA in Ukrainian Studies, 1979).

Over his career, Dr. Nahachewsky has completed field research in folklore, dance and Ukrainian culture in Ukraine, Bosnia, Slovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, France, Italy, Romania, the United States and across Canada. He has written numerous articles, chapters, reviews, proceedings, and research reports on Ukrainian and Canadian folklore, and particularly dance, for Ethnographica (Athens); Studia Musicologica (Budapest); Rodovid (Kyiv); Dance Research Journal, Journal of American Folklore and other publications. Research interests include vernacular dwelling architecture, folk arts and crafts, western Canadian local culture, ethnic identity, and ethnographic methodology. He has been editor for numerous books and multimedia projects.

Nahachewsky has made nearly one hundred presentations at conferences, symposia and workshops on ethnology, folklore and dance in China, Romania, England, Italy, Croatia, Slovakia, Ukraine, as well as across Canada and the United States. …

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