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Making of Modern Ukraine, Lecture 1
"Ukrainian Questions Answered by Russian Invasion"
If Ukraine resisted on 24 February 2022, it must have existed the day before. Why has Ukrainian history been so hard to see?
In this lecture, the key question is the relationship between history and myth. I use Vladimir Putin’s notion of “historical unity” between Russia and Ukraine as an example of a political myth with political significance. The point is not only to show the problems within a particular myth, but to show the difference between myth and history. Myth closes down the questions that history is meant to ask. And it prevents us from learning almost anything of interest. In the case of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, myth is one cause of a war that is intended to exclude or eliminate the elements of the actual past that do not fit the framework most comfortable to a present-day tyrant.
Assigned reading: The following are the books the students were expected to have to hand: Ascherson, Black Sea; Plokhii, Gates of Europe; Snyder, Reconstruction of Nations; Snyder, Red Prince; Snyder, Bloodlands; Snyder, Road to Unfreedom; Pomerantsev, Nothing is TruRudnyts'kyi, Essays in Modern Ukrainian History; Shore, Ukrainian Night
For this lecture the assigned reading was a chapter from another book: Yekelchyk, Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation, chapter 1.
Kherson oblast, named after ancient Greek city
Kyivan Rus, Lithuania, Poland, Ottoman Empire
Genocide, Rafał Lemkin
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