During Fall 2022, Oksana Dudko, a Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow, participated in two international conferences: the 54th Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies Annual Convention (ASEEES) in Chicago and “The Global History of War and Empire” at the University of Amsterdam. Oksana presented her research about Ukrainian Galician soldiers during the typhus epidemic of 1919 and Ukrainian soldiers’ interactions with the White and Red Armies during the violent wars that unfolded in Ukraine after the Russian and Ukrainian revolutions.
At ASEEES, Oksana also participated in the round table “Diversifying and Decolonizing: Teaching, Access, and Academic Cooperation with/in Eastern Europe.” In her talk, Oksana noted, “I think that decolonizing the study and teaching of Eastern Europe has to begin with the acknowledgement that it is extremely hard, and we are all tired. Yet despite this, I believe that there is space for some radical optimism. I do believe that bringing Ukrainian and Eastern European studies into focus can give us a lot more than just knowledge about one more region in the world. I think that Ukraine and Eastern, Southern, and Central Europe are precisely the regions where the new writing of European history of the 20th and 21st centuries should begin.”
Oksana further added that “It is high time to change our perception of the history of the region as a dystopic unimportant space squeezed in between Western Europe and Russia—always on the margin, always a borderland. Instead of understanding the history of the region as the history of the margins, borders, splits, and shuttered zones, we have to shift the focus and see it as a history of a core that connects, unites, and links (albeit sometimes through violence) different parts of the world. It’s the place where Catholicism, Islam, and Orthodoxy interacted and coexisted. And it’s where capitalism and communism, democracy and dictatorship, and nationalism and imperialism came together and shaped one another.”