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Ukraine. A European history

Event Type: 
Online Debate
Event Category: 
Our Events
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What can Ukraine tell us about Europe? Since the start of the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world has learned that Ukraine means ‘borderland’ and that official Russian propaganda claims that Ukraine and Ukrainians do not really exist. Yet we are faced with everyday proof of the opposite. During this online event, we will ask academics from the fields of history, sociology and memory to reflect on the questions of Ukrainian identity(ies), culture, values and divisions, both historical and more recent. What does Ukrainian identity mean today, and how did it evolve over the last two hundred years?

The event will amplify the voices of scholars of and from Ukraine and centre the conversation firmly on Ukraine and its rich, diverse history and culture. Instead of approaching Ukraine through the lens of its relationship with Russia, we are going to ask the speakers to explain how Ukrainian history and the more recent developments fit or do not fit into European patterns. How would our understanding of Europe change if we place Ukrainian experiences firmly within the European realm? What does Ukrainian identity mean today? How did it develop, and what historical and cultural diversities does it include? If we are ready to listen, what can Ukraine tell us about Europe?

Live on the House of European History’s YouTube channel

Register for this online event

The debate will last approximately 90 minutes and will be recorded.

Introduction by Constanze Itzel, museum director, House of European History


Dr Maria Falina, Assistant Professor in European History, School of History and Geography, Dublin City University

Dr Falina is a scholar of modern and contemporary East-Central Europe. Her research interests include comparative intellectual history, history of political thought, nationalism, and history of religion. Dr Falina co-authored the first synthetic overview of the history of modern political thought in East-Central Europe published in two volumes by OUP in 2016 and 2018.


Dr Uilleam Blacker, Associate Professor in the Comparative Culture of Russia and Eastern Europe, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies  

Research expertise includes literature and culture of east-central Europe, focusing on problems of cultural memory. The main focus is Ukraine. As well as literary and artistic representations, Dr Blacker researches memory politics and broader commemorative practices in the region. His two other areas of research interest are the legacies of multicultural literary heritage on the territories of contemporary Ukraine and cultural representations of the war in Donbas.

Professor Oksana Mikheieva, Professor of Sociology, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv and DAAD Professor at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

Author or co-author of five books and many articles, Prof Mikheieva researches a wide range of areas, including the historical aspects of deviant and delinquent behaviour, urban studies, paramilitary motivations, the social integration and adaptation of internally displaced persons, resettlement strategies, and the adaptation of the last wave’s Ukrainian migrants.

Professor Andriy Zayarnyuk, Professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg

Author of Lviv’s Uncertain Destination: A City and Its Train Station from Franz Joseph I to Brezhnev (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020) and Framing the Ukrainian Peasantry in Habsburg Galicia, 1846-1914 (Toronto: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 2013) and numerous research articles. His research interests include modern Ukrainian and Polish history, Habsburg Galicia, urban history, nationalism and identities, and class formation.

Image credit: Valentin Kundeus via Adobe Stock "Monument of Independence of Ukraine in front of the Ukrainian flag"