January 8, 2021

Columbia University’s Ukrainian Studies Program to offer five courses in spring 2021 semester


NEW YORK – Columbia University’s Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute will offer five courses focusing on Ukrainian political science, language and visual art in the spring 2021 semester.  It will also organize a series of lectures in Ukrainian studies at the university. Due to the pandemic, all courses and events for the semester will be held online. The online events will be open to the public, but registration will be required.

Dr. Olena Martynyuk, Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute, will teach a new course in the spring titled “Agents of Change: Ukrainian Art Between Revolutions.” The course will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:40-3:55 p.m.  The course will trace the appearance of the avant-garde on the territory of the Russian Empire with a focus on Ukrainian art as compared to Russian.

Examining the art aspiring not only to reflect but to alter the reality originating both in the center and the periphery, the class will explore the array of strategies employed by art for that end. The foundational theories of avant-garde, non-conformism, and dissident art will be studied alongside the most celebrated and influential examples of innovative and radical art from the region.

Beginning with socially minded realist practices, the class will consider the impact of the collapse of the Russian and then Soviet empires on art and reflect on how the societal upheavals affect the understanding of the function and the definition of art. The appearance of Socialist Realism and the versions of opposition to it will be studied, from dissident undermining to neglect and escapism of the second avant-gardes. Ukrainian art of recent decades will be studied in the context of several revolutions (Granite, Orange, Euromaidan) that defined its contemporary history. The class is offered for graduate and advanced undergraduate students.

In Spring 2021, Ambassador Valeriy Kuchynskyi will teach a course titled “Ukraine: Power Politics and Diplomacy,” which will be held on Tuesdays from 2:10-4 p.m. Ukraine is at war; the country is in turmoil. What are the chances that the new government will reach a “peaceful solution” in the Donbas, eradicate corruption, improve the economic situation in Ukraine and implement reforms? Is there a future for the Minsk accords? What is the significance of the Normandy Summit? These and other issues, including behind-the-scenes politics, power struggles and diplomatic activities, will be addressed in the newly revised course delivered by a career diplomat. The course is aimed at both graduate and advanced undergraduate students.

Three levels of Ukrainian language instruction will be taught this spring by Dr. Yuri Shevchuk: Elementary II on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:40 a.m.-12:55 p.m.; Intermediate II on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:10-11:25 a.m.; and Advanced Ukrainian Through Literature, Media and Politics on Mondays and Wednesdays 2:40-3:55 p.m.

Several events have already been scheduled for the Spring 2021 semester. On January 28, Dr. Kate Brown (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) will present her monograph “Manual for Survival: An Environmental History of the Chernobyl Disaster” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2020).  On February 10, Dr. Yuliya Ladygina (Assistant Professor of Russian and Global Studies, Pennsylvania State University) will present her book “Bridging East and West: Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, Ukraine’s Pioneering Modernist” (University of Toronto Press, 2019).  On March 10, Dr. Oksana Reme­niaka (National Academy of Arts of Ukraine; University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy) will give a talk entitled “Nigra sed Formosa: Immersed in Sadness However Beautiful: The Problem of Returning Lost Artifacts.” All of these events will be moderated by Dr. Mark Andryczyk and will be held virtually at noon as Zoom webinars and streamed via YouTube Live. They will not be in-person events. Registration will be required. Please see the Ukrainian Studies Program web page (https://harriman.columbia.edu/programs/ukrainian-studies-program) for more details. Also, the Ukrainian Film Club will present films throughout the semester and will post its events on the Ukrainian Studies Program web page once dates and times are confirmed.

Courses at Columbia University are open to students from other universities in the New York metropolitan area seeking credit.  Please contact the university at which you enrolled to determine whether it participates in this manner with Columbia University.  Some courses are also open to outside individuals interested in non-credit continuing studies. Additionally, through the Lifelong Learners program, individuals over age 65 who are interested in auditing courses may enroll at a discounted rate as Lifelong Learners. Please visit the Columbia University School of Continuing Education (http://www.ce.columbia.edu/auditing/?PID=28) for more information.

January 11 is the first day of classes. For more information about courses or the Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University, readers may contact Dr. Andryczyk at ukrainianstudies@columbia.edu or 212-854-4697.