Serhiy Synhaivs'ky's The Road to Asmara and the Question of Anti-Colonial Solidarity in Ukrainian Literature


Friday, July 9, 2021, 1:15pm to 2:30pm


Zoom (registration required) and YouTube (public)

Required for HUSI scholarship recipients. Open to the public.
Vitaly Chernetsky, professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas

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Serhiy Synhaivs'ky's novel The Road to Asmara, published in 2016, is a pioneering instance of a Ukrainian literary work seriously and deeply engaging with African themes. Much of the novel's action is set in the mid-1980s, observed through the eyes of a Ukrainian interpreter serving as a Soviet army officer. The novel's focus on the gradual emergence of a profound sense of anti-colonial solidarity places it in the company of such key texts as Taras Shevchenko's "Caucasus," with profound implications for Ukraine's cultural role in global contexts. This talk focuses on the key messages articulated in Synhaivs’ky’s novel and their potential resonance in global postcolonial writing.

About the Speaker

Vitaly ChernetskyVitaly Chernetsky is a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas. He is the author of Mapping Postcommunist Cultures: Russia and Ukraine in the Context of Globalization (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007; Ukrainian-language version, 2013) and of articles on modern and contemporary Slavic and East European literatures and cultures where he seeks to highlight cross-regional and cross-disciplinary contexts. A book in Ukrainian, Intersections and Breakthroughs: Ukrainian Literature and Cinema between the Global and the Local, is forthcoming  from Krytyka. He co-edited an anthology of contemporary Russian poetry in English translation, Crossing Centuries (2000), a bilingual anthology of contemporary Ukrainian poetry, Letters from Ukraine (2016), and an annotated Ukrainian translation of Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism (2007). His translations into English include Yuri Andrukhovych’s novels The Moscoviad (2008) and Twelve Circles (2015) and a volume of his selected poems, Songs for a Dead Rooster (2018, with Ostap Kin). He is a past president of the American Association for Ukrainian Studies (2009-2018) and the current vice president and learned secretary of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the U.S. 

Moderated by Serhiy Bilenky, Director, Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute.

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