Press release — 5 November 2014
Dr Andriy Portnov from the Humboldt University, Berlin will give a public lecture entitled
UKRAINE AS THE BATTLEFIELD OF CONTESTED MEMORIES IN CONTEMPORARY EUROPE
on November 13, 2014, 16.15-17.45 at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Education, Lossi 36-214
The ongoing war in Ukraine and the international conflict over Ukraine both have an extremely important symbolic dimension. Russia’s active involvement in Ukraine is justified by its “historical rights for the Crimea”, “the protection of the Russian population in the east of Ukraine” and “the necessity to fight against the fascist danger in Kyiv”. While Ukraine, at both the official and grass-roots levels, tries to ‘de-Sovietize’ itself (the removal of the Lenin monuments, discussing the issue of the official recognition of the nationalistic anti-Soviet underground). The last issue, for example, also has an important international dimension: the Polish controversy over UPA’s ‘anti-Polish genocide in 1943’ and comparisons with the Baltic states’ experiences in dealing with their memories of the Second World War. In my lecture, I will analyze all the above mentioned problems and try to show how competing historical narratives have been used during the most serious European conflict since 1989.
Andriy Portnov is Guest Professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He graduated from Dnipropetrovsk (M.A. in History) and Warsaw (M.A. in Cultural Studies) Universities. In the years 2006-2010 he worked as Editor-in-Chief of the “Ukraina Moderna” journal in humanities. During the years 2007-2011, he lectured or conducted research at the Universities of Cambridge, Helsinki, and Vilnius as well as at the Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam and the Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen (CERCEC) in Paris.
The majority of his publications are devoted to intellectual history, historiography, genocide and memory studies in Eastern and Central Europe. His publications include the books: Histories for Home Use. The Polish-Russian-Ukrainian Triangle of Memory (in Ukrainian, 2013; Yuri Sheveliov Prize); Historians and their Histories. The Faces and Images of Ukrainian Historiography in the 20th century (in Ukrainian, 2011); Ukrainian Exercises with History (in Russian, 2010); Between “Central Europe” and the “Russian World” (in Ukrainian, 2009); Scholarship in Exile. The Scholarly Activity of Ukrainian Emigration in inter-war Poland 1919-1939 (in Ukrainian, 2008; Jerzy Giedroyc Prize).
He is currently working on the biography of the city of Dnipropetrovsk in the context of Ukrainian, Soviet, Russian, Jewish, German and Polish history.