EUME Berliner Seminar
Wed 14 Dec 2022 | 17:00–18:30

War, Migration and Memory

With Prisma Ukraïna Fellows 2022-23 Mykola Homanyuk, Alina Mozolevska, Viktoria Sereda, Denys Shatalov

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin & online via Zoom

In cooperation with Prisma Ukraïna – Research Network Eastern Europe

Unprecedented Russian full-scale attack on Ukraine was accompanied by mythologized historical claims and thus brought memory politics in the region and Ukraine into the focus of international audience. Since then, the collective and individual memories were reshaped when used for interpreting the shocking realities of the current war, and memory was mobilized on a personal and collective level in order to deal with the ruptures and threats posed by the war. The mass displacement also exposed millions of Ukrainians to many new challenges that triggered intensive re-interpretations of the past, both distant and very recent, and a reevaluation of cultural memory through these new experiences.
In the seminar, these aspects of memory changes will be discussed through the prism of three case studies. The first addresses changing representations of the Second World War at the local level after the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian war. We will discuss how different war narratives are merging in the symbolic spaces of war memorials. The second case seeks to explore visual representations of war over space as a construction of new reality. It aims to study the role of visual means in conceptualization of main narratives of war as well as their potential to provide alternative interpretations in Russian and Ukrainian social media. The third case focuses on the little known ethnic group of the Meskhetian Turks (Ahiska) who since 1944 experienced five forced relocations including the recent one caused by the Russian full-scale invasion. This study explores how these experiences influence identity shaping and reevaluation of cultural memory.


Mykola Homanyuk graduated from Kherson State Pedagogical Institute in 1996 and defended his PhD thesis in sociology at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in 2008. Currently, he is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Ecology at Kherson State University, where he teaches human geography. He is also a chairperson of the NGO Kherson Entity of the Sociological Association of Ukraine and runs the independent theater company Totem Theatre Lab. In 2003/04, he was a fellow of the Lane Kirkland’s Fellowship in M. Coure-Skłodowska University (Poland). In 2018, he won the ADAMI Media Prize for Cultural Diversity in Eastern Europe. In 2022, Homanyuk got the Virtual Visitorship Grant from Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs (USA). His current research is dedicated to ethnic minorities, the transformation of war memorials, modern toponymic practices, and problems of social representation in contemporary documentary theater. In the academic year 2022/23 he is a non-resident Fellow of Prisma Ukraïna.

Alina Mozolevska is a linguist and cultural studies scholar from the Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University in Mykolayiv (Ukraine) where she is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Philology. Her research interests include Media Studies, Discourse Analysis, Border Studies, and Political Discourse Analysis. Her PhD is in Linguistics with a major in Romance Languages from Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv, Ukraine (2015). Alina was a visiting professor at the UniGR-Center for Border Studies at Saarland University (Germany). Currently she is a 2022/23 non-resident Prisma Ukraïna Fellow, based in Saarbrücken. 

Viktoriya Sereda is a sociologist, 2022/23 Senior Fellow of the Forum Transregionale Studien and the director of the project “Prisma Ukraïna: War, Migration and Memory”. Prior to this, she was a fellow at the Imre Kertesz Kolleg at the University of Jena. Since 2020, she has also been a senior research fellow at the Institute of Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and a professor in the department of Sociology at the Ukrainian Catholic University. In the spring semester of 2021, she was a visiting lecturer at the University of Basel. Sereda has either led or participated in over 30 sociological research projects on Ukrainian society and its regional dimensions. From 2011 to 2017, she was the head of the sociological team for the project “Region, Nation and Beyond: An Interdisciplinary and Transcultural Reconceptualization of Ukraine”, organized by the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. In 2016/17 and 2019/20 she was the MAPA Research Fellow at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, where she developed a digital atlas of social changes in Ukraine after the Euromaidan.

Denys Shatalov obtained his PhD in History in 2016 from Oles Honchar Dnipro National University, Ukraine, with a thesis on Ukrainian Cossacks in public discourse during the second half of the 18th to the first half of the 19th century. Since January 2015, Denys has been a Research Fellow at the “Tkuma” Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies and the Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine Museum; now he is independent scholar. In his studies, he focuses on representations of WWII in the Soviet memories published after the war. Along with his engagement in memory and memory politics studies, he also conducts research on the history of the “Cossack Myth”. His recent publications include: The city of the one-eyed Cossack Rih. The Cossacks Myth on the local level: the case of Kryvyi Rih (2021) and On German Orders. The Volhynian Massacre in Soviet Partisans’ Memoirs (2019). Denys has been a Prisma Ukraïna visiting fellow in 2019/20, and is currently a non-resident fellow of Prisma Ukraïna in 2022/23.


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