War, Memory, and the City. Shaping Collective Remembrance and Re-Articulation of Past in Ukraine in European Contexts

Course Director Tetiana Vodotyka (Institute of History of Ukraine, NASU / Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

The course aims to examine how contested memory of the First and Second World Wars and mass violence was reshaped in Ukrainian and East European urban social space after 1989/1991, and how the Russian invasion of Ukraine and destruction of Ukrainian cities influenced the current cultural perception of the twentieth-century past. The course starts with an overview of the dominant theoretical concepts of memory studies and then re-examines them by discussing specific features of the politics of memory and commemorative practices. It also seeks to deconstruct identity-driven interpretations of past events which aim to neutralize accounts founded on truthfulness. The course addresses the role of the state, academia, public intellectuals, and new mnemonic actors (including new business elites) in the reshaping of collective memory and will focus on selected urban sites of memory in this process. Course participants also explore how historical memory could be instrumentalized and used as a weapon, and how the Russian state had managed to move the historical debates from the university to the real battlefield in Ukraine.