January 6, 2017

Columbia’s Ukrainian Studies Program offers seven courses

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NEW YORK – In the spring 2017 semester, the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University will offer seven courses, including a new course focusing on the presence of Ukraine and Ukrainians in New York City. The program will also organize several events and will present the conference “Ukrainian Statehood 1917-1921: Institutions and Individuals” during the upcoming semester.

On Wednesdays at noon-2 p.m., Prof. Alexander Motyl will teach “Ukraine in New York” – a course that offers a multidisciplinary exploration of the Ukrainian American community in New York City from its beginnings in the late 19th century to the present. The course focuses on the history, demographics, economics, politics, religion, education and culture of the community, devoting particular attention to the impact thereon of the New York setting; shifting attitudes towards American politics and culture and homeland politics and culture; and the tensions encountered in navigating between America, Soviet Ukraine and independent Ukraine.

Dr. Mark Andrycyzk will teach the course “The Aura of Soviet Ukrainian Modernism” on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:10-2:25 p.m. This course studies the renaissance in Ukrainian culture of the 1920s – a period of revolution, experimentation, vibrant expression and polemics. Focusing on the most important developments in literature, as well as on the intellectual debates they inspired, the course will also examine the major achievements in Ukrainian theater, visual art and film as integral components of the cultural spirit that defined the era. The course treats one of the most important periods of Ukrainian culture and examines its lasting impact on today’s Ukraine. It will be complemented by film screenings, presentations of visual art and rare publications from this period.

Ambassador Valeriy Kuchynskyi’ will teach the course “Today’s Ukraine: Power, Politics and Diplomacy.” Ambassador Kuchynskyi, former permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, will examine what is to be done by the Ukrainian government to rebuff foreign aggression, eradicate corruption, improve the economic situation and implement reforms in today’s war-torn Ukraine. These, and other issues, including behind-the-scenes politics, power struggles and diplomatic activities, are dealt with in a newly designed course delivered by a career diplomat. The course will be held on Tuesdays at 2:10-4 p.m.

Dr. Yuri Shevchuk will teach “Postcolonial/Post-Soviet Cinema,” in which he will discuss how filmmaking has been used as a vehicle of power and control in the Soviet Union and in the post-Soviet space since 1991. A body of selected films by Soviet and post-Soviet directors that exemplify the function of filmmaking as a tool of appropriation of the colonized, and their cultural and political subordination by the Soviet center, will be examined in terms of post-colonial theories. The course will also focus on the often overlooked work of Ukrainian, Georgian, Belarusian, Armenian and other national film schools and how they participated in the Communist project, as well as resisted it by generating, in hidden forms and, since 1991, overt and increasingly assertive ways, their own counter-narratives. This course will take place on Tuesdays at 6:10-10 p.m.

Three levels of Ukrainian language instruction will be continue to be taught by Dr. Shevchuk in the spring: Elementary on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:40-9:55 a.m.; Intermediate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:10-11:25 a.m.; and Advanced on Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:10-2:25 p.m.

The conference “Ukrainian Statehood 1917-1921: Institutions and Individuals” will take place on February 24 and 25. Featuring scholars from the United States, Canada and Ukraine, the conference will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian Revolution and the creation of the modern Ukrainian state. It will focus both on the important institutions that were founded under the Ukrainian Central Rada/Ukrainian National Republic, the Ukrainian State of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, the Ukrainian National Republic under the Directory, and on the individuals that formed them. These state institutions proved to be essential in organizing and giving structure to Ukrainian political, educational, cultural and religious developments at that time. The successes and failures of these initiatives provided models that were both emulated and adjusted in subsequent years and that continue to inform Ukrainian nation-building efforts today.

The conference will close with a concert focusing on priest, composer and UNR government minister Kyrylo Stetsenko and the genre of the Ukrainian art song, which he developed at that time and which recently has been rehabilitated. The concert will take place at the Ukrainian Institute of America, which is a co-organizer of the conference.

Two other events have already been scheduled for the spring 2017 semester.

On January 31, there will be a screening of the film “An Aquarium in the Sea. The Story of the New York Group of Poets” by Oleksandr Fraze-Frazenko. The Lviv-based filmmaker will be present at the event. The screening is co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University, which will be featuring screenings of Ukrainian films throughout the semester.

On March 7, at 4:30 p.m., Dr. Nazar Kozak, senior research scholar at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, will address the topic “How Can Art Fight Back? Refugee Artists and the Ukrainian Crisis.” The talk looks at how refugee artists in Ukraine, while coping with the challenge of “unbelonging” to a new social environment with a failed state system unprepared to embrace them, used this situation to fuel their creativity and explore quite new and unusual forms of expression.

Both these events and the conference will be free and open to the public.

Courses at Columbia are open to students from other universities in the New York metropolitan area seeking credit. Readers are advised to 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 discount rate as Lifelong Learners. Visit the Columbia University School of Professional Studies (http://sps.columbia.edu/auditing) for more details.

January 17 is the first day of classes, and January 27 is the final day to register for a class. For more information about courses or the Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University, contact Dr. Andryczyk at ukrainianstudies@columbia.edu or 212-854-4697.