Prisma Workshop
Do 12 Dez 2019 – Fr 13 Dez 2019

The Cossack Myth in Eastern Europe in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries

Convener: Denys Shatalov (Prisma Ukraïna Visiting Fellow 2019)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

Ukrainian Honey Drink with Cossack Motives. Photo: G. Khalil

The Cossack Myth is probably one of the most powerful national myths in Central and Eastern Europe. The Ukrainian national activists promoted the key place of the Cossacks in the Ukrainian past and their permanent role as a model for the present since the middle of the nineteenth century. The Cossack Myth became the basis of modern Ukrainian identity. The power and versatility of the Cossack Myth made it prone to be actively used by Ukrainian progressionists and radical nationalists, and it also responded to the ideological needs of the Black Hundreds and the Bolsheviks. A new stage of the myth’s actualization took place in the twenty-first century during the events of the Maidan and the war in the east of Ukraine.

Considering its versatility and longevity, the Cossack Myth is an excellent example for exploring similar phenomena in a comparative perspective. Our workshop aims to discuss the wide chronological perspective of the development, transformation and use of the Cossack myth in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will focus on the following questions:

  • What is the place of the Cossack myth among other Romantic myths of Central and Eastern Europe?
  • Were there alternatives to the myth for the Ukrainian national movement?
  • How was the myth accepted in the regions of Ukraine where there had been no Cossack tradition?
  • How did non-Ukrainian forces use the Cossack theme in their propaganda?
  • What was the influence of the Cossack myth on the Ukrainian armies during the Revolution of 1917-1921?
  • How was the myth used for patriotic mobilization on the Maidan and during the war in Donbas?
  • Which place does the myth have in the politics of memory of the modern Ukrainian state?

The presentations and discussions will help the participants to understand better the essence of one of the key components of the Ukrainian national myth as well as the general mechanisms of the development and the use of such historical myths.

If you like to participate please register via prisma(at)

Please find the workshop program here.

The workshop is funded by the Regierender Bürgermeister von Berlin – Senatskanzlei Wissenschaft und Forschung.

The fellowship of Prisma Ukraïna Visiting Fellow Denys Shatalov is funded by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.

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