Past and Present: Ukrainian Nationalism, Subject of the 2016 Mohyla Lecture

Professor Myroslav Shkandrij of the University of Manitoba delivered the 19th annual Mohyla Lecture – Ukrainian Nationalism, 1929-1956: Academic Judgements and Popular Perceptions, a presentation loosely based on his 2015 book Ukrainian Nationalism: Politics, Ideology and Literature published by Yale University Press.


Prof. Shkandrij opened his talk by noting that the subject of Ukrainian nationalism is much discussed in the context of the recent conflict in Ukraine. References are made to radical nationalist forces operating in Ukraine that are said to have drawn inspiration and ideological sustenance from the experience and ideas associated with Ukrainian nationalist ideology of the interwar period. Outlining the complex debates between national democrats, radical ideologues and proponents of fascism during the interwar years, Prof. Shkandrij pointed to the current trend toward over-simplification, which glosses over important distinctions that existed at the time between the various tenets of nationalist thought. He argues that greater scholarly inquiry is needed to highlight the layered and textured nature of the Ukrainian nationalist experience of the interwar period in order to dispel the romanticization and demonization, which has accompanied the discourse on present-day nationalism in Ukraine.


The Mohyla Lecture was delivered February 11, 2016 in the Great Hall of the Shannon Library. The event and reception was co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Saskatchewan Provincial Council.

PCUH Co-Sponsors Community-University Roundtable on Documenting the Prairie Churches of the Eastern Rite

At STM on February 4, a roundtable – Documenting the Prairie Churches of the Eastern Rite: Where Are We Now and What Is Next? – was held to discuss the state and fate of rural churches of the Eastern Rite on the Canadian prairies. Presentations were made by a team from the University of Alberta, Professors Natalie Kononenko and Frances Swyripa and researcher Eva Himka, who talked about their findings from a multi-year research initiative – ‘Sanctuary: The Spiritual Documentation Project.’


The ‘Sanctuary Project’ is conducting fieldwork across the Canadian prairies, documenting, through photography and other methods, Byzantine rite churches of Ukrainian origin. This work comes at a crucial time. Ukrainian religious faith and sacral culture is manifested in hundreds of distinctive, onion-domed buildings across the prairie landscape. This is the most significant post-Byzantine cultural expression anywhere in the New World. Yet it is under threat as demographic changes lead to the closing and destruction of churches. The research team has been recording structures and artefacts that hold tremendous emotional importance to various rural communities as well as documenting the sacred rituals that bring life to these buildings. The goal is to produce a digital database of unprecedented size and detail that will allow scholars and the wider community to better understand this rich tradition in Canada.


The PCUH has been instrumental in funding the research work being undertaken in the province of Saskatchewan, which will continue for the next two years.

Documenting both tangible and intangible cultural heritage the team hopes to make the data as useful as possible to all. To this end, the roundtable sought to bring together the Sanctuary research team, church representatives, museum workers and interested community members to discuss the findings and how the research will be made available. An important of the exchange is to learn from Saskatchewan professionals so that the formatting and presentation of the project data can be made more relevant and useful to potential users.


Organized by PCUH Associate Prof. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen, the roundtable was sponsored by the PCUH in cooperation with STM’s Department of Religious Studies and Culture, the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Musée Ukraina Museum, and other community partners.

PCUH Currency Exhibition on Final Stop of Western Canadian Tour

January 11 – February 20, 2016 | Godfrey Dean Art Gallery, Yorkton, Saskatchewan

 The PCUH travelling exhibit on currency from the 1917-20 revolutionary period is on the last leg of the Western Canadian tour. The final stop on a seven city tour, the exhibition has been travelling since 2013. Don Stein, Executive Director of the Godfrey Dean Gallery, has worked with the PCUH to bring a number of the Centre’s exhibitions to Yorkton. “We have worked with the PCUH in the past. It is always a pleasure. The programming made available to us helps us connect with the large Ukrainian community in southeastern Saskatchewan. We are delighted to host this exhibit, which is visually appealing and particularly relevant in light of the recent events in Ukraine. It speaks to an audience eager to know and learn more about Ukraine’s historical and artistic past.”

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The exhibition is on display at Yorkton’s Godfrey Dean Art Gallery from January 11- February 20, 2016. The bilingual catalogue accompanying the exhibit – Money, Sovereignty and Power: The Paper Currency of Revolutionary Ukraine, 1917-1920 – is available at the gallery or can be purchased directly through the PCUH.

Holodomor Awareness Week: A PCUH and USUSA Collaboration

For the past several years the PCUH and the University of Saskatchewan Ukrainian Student’s Association (USUSA) have sought to promote awareness of the tragedy of the Ukrainian Terror-Famine or Holodomor, which claimed millions of lives in Ukraine during the period of Soviet collectivization, 1932-33. This year was no exception with an invitation being extended to Ms. Andrea Chalupa of New York. Ms. Chalupa is a journalist and the author of Orwell and The Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm. She has written for TIME, The Atlantic, Daily Beast, and Forbes and is a founder of DigitalMaidan – an online movement that made the Ukrainian protests a trending topic on Twitter worldwide. More recently, she completed a film screenplay, Man Made, a work inspired by her grandfather’s memoir about Stalin’s artificial famine.

Andrea Chalupa at J.S. Wood Library

Andrea Chalupa at J.S. Wood Library

On November 16, the PCUH and USUSA co-hosted a lecture delivered by Ms. Chalupa in STM’s Father O’Donnell Auditorium, where she discussed the famine in the context of Soviet rule in Ukraine and its subsequent denial and cover-up, assessing the experience with reference to the current conflict in eastern Ukraine. On November 17 at the J.S. Wood Branch of the Saskatoon Public Library, Ms. Chalupa read excerpts from her book Orwell and the Refugees, describing the importance of Orwell’s work for the generation of post-war refugees who fled Soviet repression and sought to convey their own lived experience under Soviet rule by way of memoirs and personal accounts.

USUSA members with Ms. Chalupa at the Holodomr Lecture

USUSA members with Ms. Chalupa at the Holodomr Lecture

The USUSA will hold a vigil at the Lesya Ukrainka Garden on the UofS campus, November 26, 2015, 12:30 pm to commemorate the Holodomor.

PCUH Director Participates in Internment Film Project

The Saskatchewan Railway Museum, located 5 kilometers west of Saskatoon, is the original site of a WWI internment camp. The camp, in existence February-March 1919, was part of Canada’s first national internment operations and the only one of its kind in Saskatchewan. The PCUH Director, Dr. Bohdan Kordan, who has written a short history of the camp and was instrumental in creating a memorial at the site, was asked to participate in a feature length documentary and webseries titled “The Camps” produced by Armistice Films of Toronto. The goal of the film project is to survey all of 24 WWI internment camps in Canada, providing a narrative of this relatively unknown page in Canadian history. Filming took place November 4, 2015 at the site under the direction of Mr. Ryan Boyko of Armistice Films.

Prof. Kordan and Ryan Boyko, director, on film location at the Eaton Internment Memorial site.

Prof. Kordan and Ryan Boyko, director, on film location at the Eaton Internment Memorial site.


2015 Ukrainian Studies Reception

The PCUH was proud to co-host the annual reception for Ukrainian Studies at the U of S with the STM Dean’s Office on Thursday, October 29th. The reception featured an overview of Ukrainian initiatives and programs on campus, including the work of the PCUH, the Ukrainian language program, the Minor in Ukrainian Studies, scholarships and awards in Ukrainian studies, the Spring Session in Ukraine study-abroad program, and the activities of the U of S Ukrainian Students’ Association. Many students were in attendance this year, along with STM colleagues, former faculty, and community supporters. 20151029_155923


PCUH at the Manitoba Legislature Internment Symposium

Dr. Bohdan Kordan, PCUH Director, was invited to present his paper “The Internment of Enemy Aliens In Canada During the Great War: Rights, Obligations and Diplomacy” at a symposium organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Manitoba Provincial Council. The symposium held October 24, 2015 at the Manitoba Legislature was part of a program that included the unveiling of a commemorative monument on the legislative grounds. The work of the Dutch-Canadian sculptor John Boxtel, the monument, dedicated to the memory of those unjustly interned in Canada during the First World War, was by commissioned the UCC Manitoba Council. The figure of an internee is featured prominently atop a granite pedestal with the words “Remember, learn, never forget” inscribed in fourteen different languages.

Prof. Kordan’s participation in the symposium and unveiling is part of the PCUH’s mandate, which is to work with various communities in promoting Canada’s Ukrainian heritage.

internment symposium


Dr. Khanenko-Friesen’s ANTH 236 class hosts guest speaker from Australia

The course ANTH 236 Ethnicity in Action: Ukrainian Canadian Experience (taught by Dr. Khanenko-Friesen) was pleased to host a speaker from Australia in an open lecture format. Dr. Sonia Mycak (Centre for European Studies, Australian National University) shared her research on Ukrainian-Australian creative writing as a means of community building in post-WW II Australia. In addition to the students, the presentation was attended by the members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community of Saskatoon.