Viktoriya Sereda, Research Fellow, Imre Kertesz Kolleg, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Senior Researcher, National Academy of Science, Professor, Department of Sociology, Ukrainian Catholic University

This course aims at interactive collaborative discovery of how public history functions in the time of political transformations and war-related crises. In this course we will explore how new and re-emerging contested historical memories have redefined cultural space after the fall of the Soviet regime and later, after the beginning of Russian-Ukrainian war, by studying developments in Ukraine and neighbouring countries in a comparative perspective. We will start from the dominant theoretical concepts of memory studies and then re-examine them through the discussion on the specific features of the politics of memory (for instance, decommunization practices), in its everyday, local, national, and global dimensions, by examining the role of institutions (like museums, cinema, media), public performances (such as parades or re-enactment), literature and art in shaping society’s attitudes towards the past.

The purpose of this course is to introduce the practices of public history and its intellectual foundations. Course structure is aimed at the comparative analysis of a wide range of social and cultural production spheres, where history plays an important role. In addition to looking at the many areas of public history, we will examine related theoretical constructs like heritage, community, commemoration, and memory, and we will explore some practices for engaging audiences. During the class discussions we will also examine the activities of public historians and the issues they face in their work.