Late Soviet and Post-Soviet Counter-Cultures in Ukraine and East Central Europe

Bohdan Shumylovych, Head of Public History Programs at the Center for Urban History, Lviv

Balazs Trencsényi, Professor, CEU History Department, and lead researcher of CEU Democracy Institute

The course intends to give an theoretically informed overview of counter-cultures in Ukraine before and after 1991 in a regional context. It will start with a historical and conceptual overview of key analytical notions like subculture, counter-culture, or underground, and will test the relevance and the underlying assumptions of these notions, usually linked to Western experiences, on Ukrainian and Eastern European materials. Then it will proceed to a number of case studies of counter-cultural phenomena during late socialism in the broader region, with a special attention to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary and the Baltic countries. We will look at different creative networks from rock music to visual arts, experimental cinema, literature and also religious and alternative life-style subcultures. The second half of the semester will be devoted to Ukrainian phenomena, bridging the communist and post-communist contexts, with invited guests who are both experts and often former participants of these circles.