Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage ST. THOMAS MORE COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN

Gate-crashing “European” and “Slavic” Area Studies: Can Ukrainian Studies Transform the Fields?

Oksana Dudko, a Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow in Ukrainian Studies, recently published a peer-reviewed article titled “Gate-crashing ‘European’ and ‘Slavic’ Area Studies: Can Ukrainian Studies Transform the Fields?” in the journal Canadian Slavonic Papers. Published as part of a journal forum on “Approaches to Decolonization,” the article discusses the current state of Slavic and European studies in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In particular, it focuses on the role that Ukrainian studies can play in transforming the fields to make it more inclusive and diverse.

Professor James Krapfl, editor of Canadian Slavonic Papers, underscores that “The crisis of “Slavic” and “European” area studies is Dudko’s central theme, and she questions how helpful or oppressive prevailing categorizations are. As she points out, Ukrainian studies are like an airplane passenger assigned to the seat between “European studies” and “Russian studies” – a seat that happens to be already occupied by “East European studies,” which have not traditionally included Ukraine. How can we make room for everyone at a time when humanities budgets – like aircraft legroom – are shrinking? Dudko proposes shifting the discussion from one about boundaries to one about connections, emphasizing the way Ukraine, for example, has historically not just lain at the boundaries of empires, but linked them. She also suggests that we can foster “pluriversality” by recognizing so-called peripheries as centres in their own right.”

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