Lesia Ukrainka Symposium


Monday, November 15, 2021, 5:30pm to 6:45pm


Zoom Webinar and YouTube

Marko Pavlyshyn, Monash University
Discussant: Yuliya Ladygina,Pennsylvania State University
Moderator: George Grabowicz, Harvard University

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Poster including event information listed on website



For this year’s Krawciw Memorial Lecture, HURI is hosting the Lesia Ukrainka Symposium, featuring a lecture by Marko Pavlyshyn: “The Limits of Universalism: Lesia Ukrainka, a Foreigner in Egypt.” Following some introductory remarks on the nature of, and reasons for, Lesia Ukrainka’s place in the canon of Ukrainian literature, Pavlyshyn will reflect on the cycle of lyrical poems “Spring in Egypt”, composed in 1910 during the poet’s first sojourn in Egypt. Profoundly aware of her beleaguered position as a Ukrainian writer and intellectual in a Russian imperial context, Lesia Ukrainka was sensitive to analogous predicaments endured by others similarly marginalized. The poems of the cycle express solidarity with colonially oppressed Egyptians while confidently asserting the capacity of a foreign observer to comprehend Egypt and to make judgments about its people. The exception is the cycle’s opening poem, “Khamsin,” which, Pavlyshyn contends, formulates an insight into the contingent and fragile nature of European claims, in the spirit of the Enlightenment, to cross-cultural knowledge and, indeed, to objective knowledge itself. Yuliya Ladygina will provide a response, followed by discussion lead by George Grabowicz.

About the Speakers

Marko PavlyshynMarko Pavlyshyn is an emeritus professor of Ukrainian Studies at Monash University. He is the author of Ol’ha Kobylians’ka: Prochytannia (2008), Kanon ta ikonostas (1997), editor and co-editor of scholarly collections including, with Giovanna Brogi and Serhii Plokhy, Ukraine and Europe: Cultural Encounters and Negotiations (2017), and author of articles and chapters on modern and contemporary Ukrainian literature, many from the perspective of postcolonial studies. He was the founding president of the Ukrainian Studies Association of Australia and president of the Australia and New Zealand Slavists’ Association. Marko Pavlyshyn is a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and an international member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Yuliya LadyginaYuliya V. Ladygina is the Helena Rubinstein University Endowed Fellow in the Humanities and Assistant Professor of Russian and Global Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests center on East European literatures and cultures and include nineteenth-century Ukrainian and Russian literature, German and Russian intellectual history, Soviet and post-Soviet cinema, and state-sponsored informational warfare in contemporary Russia. She is the author of Bridging East and West: Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, Ukraine’s Pioneering Modernist (University of Toronto Press, 2019). Her current book project tentatively titled The Reel Story of the Russian-Ukrainian War, 2014-2024 examines the legacy of Soviet and Hollywood war films, as well as the influence of contemporary media practices in (mis)representing war, terror, and terrorism, in cinematic depictions of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war. Her two articles related to this project are forthcoming in the East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies and East European Jewish Affairs.

Moderator: George Grabowicz, Dmytro Čyževs’kyi Research Professor of Ukrainian Literature, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University

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Persons with disabilities who wish to request accommodations or who have questions about access, please contact Megan Duncan Smith, HURI Programs Coordinator, at duncansmith@fas.harvard.edu in advance of the session (at least two weeks prior, if possible).

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