History of the Public Sphere in Ukraine and East Central Europe

Course director Ostap Sereda (Central European University, Ukrainian Catholic University)

The course aims at introducing and exploring the applicability of the concept of the public sphere for the analysis of intellectual and social life in Ukraine and its East European neighbors from both comparative and transnational perspectives since the end of the eighteenth century. Course participants analyze the transformation of urban social space and of imperial institutions that made the emergence of the public sphere possible, and the increasing “nationalization” of the public sphere through the long nineteenth century, with special attention to those milieus that continued to exist “beyond nationalism.” Turning to the 20th century, the course re-examines the main concepts of social and ethnic conflicts and mass violence in the region in an attempt to identify how the public sphere survived under totalitarian and authoritarian regimes and to situate these themes in a European comparative context. The final part of the course is devoted to the re-evaluation of the concept of the intelligentsia and public intellectuals in the region after 1991.