This year's Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute commenced on Thursday, June 17 with a brief orientation to welcome the class and offer initial guidance for the second year of virtual summer programming.
Even as Harvard prepares for a return to campus this fall, the Harvard Summer School is operating remotely. HUSI classes as well as supplemental programming, such as the Public Event Series, will take place online. Although we once again miss having the HUSI community on campus, we are grateful for the opportunity to welcome a large and diverse group of talented students.
The 2021 HUSI class comprises 28 students from around the world (quite literally). From Taiwan to California, our students are logging on from 10 countries (Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, Mexico, Sweden, Taiwan, Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine, and United States), representing nine different states in the US. We have 11 PhD students, six MA students, three undergrads, five professionals/ recent graduates, two scholars, and one ambitious high school student. In addition to their global distribution, our students have a wide range of academic and professional interest, including opera management and neuroscience.
During the summer, students will complete coursework, attend public events, contribute to the HUSI blog, and participate in other programming such as the TCUP Book Club. We're excited to work with this talented group as the summer unfolds.
Welcome, HUSI 2021!
Nina grew up in Central Ukraine and now lives in Kyiv. She graduated from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, where she earned a double Bachelor’s degree in French language, literature and translation and in Ukrainian language and literature. Her Master’s degree is in Francophone studies and English language.
Nina is a recent graduate from the College of Europe in Natolin, where she specialized in European Neighbourhood Policy. Her research was focused on the Ukrainian war with Russia and the Normandy format in particular, as an example of Franco-German relations’ influence on European neighboring countries and attempts at conflict resolution.
Inspired by history and politics classes, she maintains an interest in the history of memory, the Polish-Ukrainian relationship and its historical roots, as well as the post-communist democratic transition of the Central and Eastern European countries and how those changes influenced the modern democratic states. For this reason, she chose to take “Tradition and Modernity in Ukraine 19th and 20th centuries,” taught by Serhiy Bilenky, at HUSI in 2021. “Ukraine is the field of many changes before its independence and after,” she said. “I would like to dig deeper into the processes and experiences that made Ukraine the country it is now, to understand what challenges can be expected ahead and how to cope with them.”
Daniel will be studying Ukrainian Language at HUSI. Prior to this summer, his experience in Slavic studies was formed by the program in Russian Language and Literature at UNC Chapel Hill as well as service in Ukraine with the Peace Corps.
Daniel is attending HUSI's Ukrainian Language program to assist with his future graduate research, which will occur from 2021-2023 at Columbia's Harriman Institute. “Needless to say, I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to learn from Professor Dibrova, who in my opinion is the largest draw to attend HUSI,” he said.
A graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in European Union Studies, Lauren is developing a thesis on Ukraine’s potential to join the EU as a member state, given the Copenhagen criteria and existing policies related to their barriers to entry, such as the crisis in Eastern Ukraine.
Lauren’s love for studying the Slavic world began as a child growing up in Eastern Europe, coming to full fruition when I graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.
At HUSI, Lauren will take the Ukrainian language course with Professor Dibrova. “I am excited to learn Ukrainian for my research so I can better understand the current political climate in Ukraine, especially in the Eastern Neighborhood of the EU,” she said. “Having studied Russian, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia for the past four years, I’m thrilled to focus on a country I’ve developed a great passion for, and begin to understand Ukraine in its own tongue.”
Shawn is joining us from Blairstown, NJ and is taking the course “Tradition and Modernity in Ukraine: 19th and 20th Centuries.” He is a PhD candidate in Russian, East European, and Eurasian History at the Ohio State University. His advisor is Professor David Hoffmann.
During his summer at HUSI, he expects to gain a Ukrainian perspective on the history of eastern Europe and incorporate new insights into his studies. He will be on a Boren Fellowship to Ukraine for the 2021-22 academic year to conduct dissertation research on the intersections of center-region relations, president-parliament institutional rivalries, and political elites in the early years of Ukrainian independence.
Nataliia is taking HUSI’s subject matter courses: “Tradition and Modernity in Ukraine: 19th and 20th Centuries” and “Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Ukrainian Literature: Rethinking the Canon”.
Nataliia’s professional interests are governmental and social communications, public diplomacy, national image, and hybrid warfare, which were developed during her studies on International Communication at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Currently, Nataliia is a part of the communication team of the Ukrainian Institute which is a key player in the field of cultural diplomacy of Ukraine.
“Work in the field of cultural diplomacy requires a wide range of skills and knowledge. Firstly, knowledge of Ukrainian history and culture, both classic and contemporary, to tell the stories about Ukraine to the world as well as to find common ground with other nations to build mutual relationships,” she noted. “A solid academic and professional background in these fields is of high importance as some issues require sensitivity in public communication.”
During HUSI, Nataliia looks forward to developing new ideas to present Ukraine as a part of global cultural and historical processes. “It will be a pleasure to connect with peers and have discussions on Ukrainian literature and history,” she added.
A second-year PhD student in Harvard’s history program studying the Soviet Union, Emma has a BA in History and Russian from Grinnell College and completed a Fulbright English Teaching grant in Saratov, Russia in 2018-2019. She is still figuring out the precise topic of her dissertation, but her research focuses on the social and cultural history of the 1970s-90s with interests in mysticism, spirituality, gender, sexuality, and the everyday – and how all these topics come together. “This subject matter has special resonance in Ukraine, where spiritual pluralism and the crashing together of ideas are major characteristics of the country’s Soviet past and post-Soviet present,” Emma noted.
She is taking the HUSI language course with the goal of broadening her research abilities so that, once international archival research is possible again, she will be able to explore research areas that are only accessible with the Ukrainian language. “Soviet historians can get pretty far with just Russian, but especially as the field attempts to decentralize its Russophone focus, other research languages are critical,” she explained. “I hope that this summer of learning Ukrainian will provide an immersive context for and pave a path towards future knowledge discoveries.”
Maria, a third-year graduate student in the Psychology & Neuroscience program at Duke University, is taking Professor Dibrova’s “Ukrainian for Reading Knowledge” course this summer. She is excited to improve her ability to read Ukrainian texts and to be able to more effectively engage with her family and culture.
Although she regrets that this year’s class will not be able to meet in person, Maria recognizes that the online format of the course provides several advantages. “If not for the ability to work remotely, I wouldn’t be able to attend HUSI. I’m thankful for the increased accessibility of the program and for the opportunity to meet fellow students from across the globe who might otherwise find it difficult or impossible to attend.”
Daria is currently pursuing her MA in European and Russian Affairs at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Born in Odesa, Ukraine, she is a native speaker of Ukrainian and Russian, moving to Toronto in 2015. Her undergraduate degree combined a specialization in human geography with a minor in history.
Daria holds a research assistant position at the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium. Her academic interests include urban history, Slavic literatures, and studies of national identities. Her current research is focused on the city branding and shifting urban mythology of Odesa.
This summer, Daria is taking the “Tradition and Modernity” course with Professor Bilenky and the “Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Ukrainian Literature” course taught by Professor Grabowicz. She believes that studying Ukrainian history and literature at HUSI will greatly contribute to her understanding of cultural trends and patterns of societal development in modern Ukraine. She looks forward to meeting other young scholars who are interested in Ukrainian studies.
Austin is currently a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies at Harvard University’s Davis Center. In addition to being a graduate student he is a Eurasian Foreign Area Officer serving on active duty in the United States Army. Prior to arriving at Harvard last summer, Austin spent 16 months traveling around Eastern Europe while working at various US embassies across the region.
Austin’s interest in Ukraine began with a visit to Lviv during a work trip in 2016. He enjoyed the opportunity to return to Ukraine in 2019, spending a week in Kyiv and three weeks in Odesa studying Russian. T
This summer at HUSI he will be taking Professor Bilenky’s course on tradition and modernity in Ukraine. “I hope to learn more about how Ukraine’s unique history has shaped its modern identity,” he explained. “Following the conclusion of my studies at Harvard in August, I will head to my next military assignment at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Washington, D.C. My long-term goal is to work on defense issues at the US Embassy in Kyiv.”
A native of Taiwan, Yu-Hsuan Hsu is currently a PhD student in Ukrainian History at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. He holds degrees in Slavic languages & literatures, translation studies, and international relations. Before moving to Ukraine in 2018, he spent the year 2010-2011 working on his Master’s thesis on the 19th-century Ukrainian national movement at the National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv.
Taking both the history and literature courses at HUSI this summer, he is looking forward to discussing his dissertation project with fellow students and leading experts from the HURI community. His doctoral dissertation investigates the institutional mechanism, intellectual history, and cultural politics of VUFKU within the political and cultural context of the 1920s Soviet Ukraine.
Annika is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She sees her work as contributing to investigating how species live (and die) on a damaged planet. Her dissertation project will be a multispecies ethnography in the Carpathian Mountain region of western Ukraine, focusing on the human and nonhuman animal lives shaped by these forests and their loss to the timber industry. She is spending five weeks in Ukraine this summer, returning just before HUSI begins.
Annika is studying Ukrainian language this summer to build communication skills before undertaking long-term fieldwork. She is excited for the opportunity offered by the virtual format—to bring a diverse group together who may not have otherwise been able to participate. She has also been studying Russian online for the past year and has been pleasantly surprised at the level of language instruction possible via this format.
Kateryna is a contemporary art researcher, art critic, and journalist, as well as a current Fulbright Student Research Fellow at the Shevchenko Scientific Society in NYC. Her current research interest touches on art during political transformations and war and explores female and gender optics in visual culture. She was the editor of the books Gender Studies by Donbas Studies Research Project (Izolyatsya, 2015) and Why There Are Great Women Artists in Ukrainian Art (PinchukArtCentre, 2019), and she co-edited Curatorial Handbook (Izolyatsya, 2020) and a special issue of Obieg magazine titled “Euphoria and Fatigue: Ukrainian Art and Society after 2014.”
At HURI, Kateryna will take Prof. Grabowicz’s course “Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Ukrainian Literature: Rethinking the Canon.”
"I see HURI as an opportunity to look at Ukrainian literature from a perspective of current challenges such as war and propaganda, equal rights, control of discrimination, violence, inclusion, and technological expansion. I am wondering how contemporary literature and authors reflect this topic and what words they use to talk with an audience.
“The online format helps me better organize my time and participate in the course while staying in another city. For me, this is an opportunity for communication with interesting young professionals who are open to humanitarian knowledge and discussions."
Currently a PhD fellow in cultural history at Lund University, Sweden, Anna is developing a dissertation on Kyiv’s ethnic minorities during the First World War and Revolution, their relations, and understandings of the concept of citizenship. She holds an MA in History from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and an MA in Eastern European Studies from Warsaw University. One of her research interests is the Jewish history of the region. In order to be able to include original language sources in her research, she studied Yiddish at Tel-Aviv University and at the YIVO Institute in New York.
“I heard about HUSI summer school from my former classmates and have been on the lookout for a chance to participate ever since,” she said. “Sadly, the pandemic makes personal interaction with professors and fellow students impossible. Still, I am excited to take part in this summer’s courses at HUSI.”
Anna’s motivation for participating in the program is both professional and personal. Professor Bilenky’s course on Tradition and Modernity has a direct connection to her dissertation topic and appeals to her love of urban history. “The literature course is more a call of the heart,” she explained. “I am looking forward to rediscovering Ukrainian modern literature under such great guidance. Last but not least – the summer program is a unique opportunity to connect with people from around the world who share our rather specialized set of interests.”
As a JD/PhD student at Northwestern University, Alisher focuses on the interaction between law and politics in countries of the former Eastern Bloc. His current work examines foundations of judicial independence, corruption in the judiciary, and rising populist challenges to liberal democracy.
Alisher holds a BA from Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. He grew up in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan and has a first-person appreciation of the complexity behind the politics of language and identity in countries of the former Soviet Union.
As a native speaker of Russian, Alisher hopes that the HUSI language course will empower him to read in Ukrainian, and set him on the path to be a proficient Ukrainian speaker. He hopes these language skills will not only enable him to read government documents and understand court proceedings, but also to gain more from interpersonal experiences during his future fieldwork in the country. He believes that knowledge of Ukrainian is essential for any scholar conducting ethnographic work in Ukraine and seeking to get a fuller picture of complex social dynamics at play, be it in or out of the courtroom.
Coming from Ukraine, Yuliya holds an MA in Literary Studies from Kyiv Mohyla Academy and a PhD in English from the University of Leeds in England. She is a Chartered Linguist at CIOL with extensive experience in Ukrainian and Russian translation. Yuliya is currently teaching Russian at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and pursuing her research interests, which include twentieth-century English fiction and contemporary Ukrainian literature within the framework of memory studies.
She is looking forward to taking Prof. Grabowicz’s course on Ukrainian literature of the 20th and 21st centuries, in order to acquire a more holistic historical and theoretical perspective on modern and contemporary Ukrainian literature, which would inform and enrich her research.
“Due to my family commitments, I would not be able to move to Cambridge for the duration of the summer school,” she observed. “The online format for me was a unique opportunity to join a vibrant student and scholarly community at Harvard University and benefit from its world-class research.”
Danylo is a senior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, studying History and Political Science with a certificate in Security Studies. His Honors Thesis project will examine the structures of Jewish national-personal autonomy in the Ukrainian National Republic (1917-1921). He is taking the Tradition and Modernity course with Dr. Bilenky.
At HUSI, Danylo hopes to learn more about the cultural and historical trends which shaped the policies of the UNR and the actions of politicians such as Symon Petliura, Arnold Margolin, and Volodymyr Vynnychenko. He is excited at the chance to explore the sources in the Harvard libraries. After a full year of virtual education, Danylo feels ready to tackle whatever challenges may arise during the next six weeks at HUSI.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Cooper is a PhD student at the University of California, Los Angeles studying Slavic, East European and Eurasian languages and cultures. He completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University in 2017, where his thesis dealt with contemporary Russian émigré culture. His areas of interest include nineteenth-century Russian feminism, memory studies, and postcolonial interpretations of East European literature. At HUSI this summer, he is taking Professor Dibrova’s course on Ukrainian for Reading Knowledge.
This summer, he is excited to improve his language skills and learn more about Ukraine’s unique and complex situation between empires in the nineteenth century. He looks forward to immersing himself in Ukrainian literature and culture as he begins preliminary research for his dissertation on historic conceptions of the body and bodily autonomy in East Europe. He recognizes the challenges that come with a digital format, but finds a silver lining in the geographic diversity of his classmates: this summer offers a rare opportunity to connect with peers around the world in a truly international setting.
Lucy is an American graduate student at Harvard University, where she is earning her Master’s degree in Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia (REECA). From September 2019-March 2020, Lucy served as a Fulbright Ukraine Student Research Fellow, during which time she lived in Odesa, Ukraine and worked at the Odesa Center for Nonproliferation and Ukraine Crisis Media Center’s Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group in Kyiv, Ukraine. She has studied Russian for six years and took Ukrainian language lessons while living overseas. Lucy is passionate about diplomacy, public service, and U.S. relations with the former Soviet Union.
“This summer, I will be completing HUSI’s “Ukrainian for Reading Knowledge” course. I am looking forward to advancing my language skills, expanding my knowledge of Ukraine, and being able to incorporate Ukrainian-language sources into my research.”
César Octavio Moreno Zayas
César is an opera scholar and director of the Mexican organization Opera in Movement. He completed his PhD in Music at the University of Nottingham in 2020 with a research focus on opera audience and management. He has presented papers at international congresses on opera studies, e.g. The Sibelius Academy and University of Copenhagen. He collaborates with the University Anahuac and the Music College Fausto de Andres Aguirre on specialized courses on opera. With an international team, he produced the world premiere of Armando Ortega's Eugenia, a chamber opera that toured in rural Mexico; this project received support from CASCADE UK in 2015. In 2019, he produced the Latin American premiere of Georg F. Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, which took place in the city of Orizaba, Mexico.
This summer César will be in the Ukrainian for Reading Knowledge course at HUSI. “I am happy to participate and am thankful for the opportunity,” he said, “because it will help me to approach the history of Ukrainian opera so I can explore its development from the 18th to 19th century. I will be able to explore the history from Bortniansky to Lysenko.”
Aliide enrolled in Volodymyr Dibrova’s "Ukrainian for Reading Knowledge" course with the intention of broadening both her linguistic capabilities and her capacity to establish greater nuances between Russia and Ukraine. After studying, working, and living in Russia between 2011 and 2015 (with trips to Ukraine during Euromaidan in 2013-2014) she developed a strong grasp of the Russian language but wishes to expand her understanding of “former Soviet” nations (despite their widespread distaste at being described as such). British, with Baltic roots, she has some personal interest in the countries on Russia’s western border, too.
Aliide has vast regional experience, having published her first book, The Shadow in the East: Vladimir Putin and the New Baltic Front in early 2020 (Bloomsbury). She has been working as a freelance journalist, editor, and translator for several years now, with clients ranging from Freedom House to DK Eyewitness Travel to the Guardian, New Statesman, and Vice, and she has spent time at both Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT and independent daily The Moscow Times.
Aliide is torn between chasing a PhD program and the pipe dream of establishing her own deeply unprofitable news organization. Perhaps HUSI will help her decide.
Daniel graduated with the Harvard College Class of 2019, returning to Harvard this year for a Master's degree at the REECA Program. He lived in Russia for one year as part of a study-abroad program; however, looking ahead he would like to expand his knowledge of other Eastern European countries.
“Ukraine is one of my principal areas of interest for graduate study, and I'm taking Professor Dibrova's Ukrainian language course this summer to allow me to start primary research on Ukraine as early as possible,” he explained. “In addition to acquiring new language skills, I'm excited to broaden my knowledge of the culture and history of Ukraine, as well as gain more insight into present-day international affairs involving Ukraine. I'm very happy that Harvard is continuing the Ukrainian Summer Institute despite pandemic constraints.”
Khrystyna is a researcher in literature, culture, and the media, a journalist, an expert in culture & creative industries and gender equality for the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, expert for the Ukrainian Book Institute, and chief editor of the Geopoetical Studies academic journal. She has also been a member at the Ukrainian Association for Jewish Studies since 2019. She has been a university lecturer and worked with an international team in the field of Holocaust education. Khrystyna has volunteered for the Red Cross Ukraine and Ukrainska blahodiinytska merezha.
Born and raised in the Ukrainian Carpathians, Khrystyna obtained her BA in Philology & Creative Writing in 2016 and MA in Philology in 2018 from the National University of Ostroh Academy. Since 2019 she has been enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Literature. Between 2016 and 2017 she held the Scholarship of the President of Ukraine. By June 2021 she participated in 18 international scientific conferences in Ukraine, Austria, and Poland, and won a dozen of national research competitions. She currently runs a cooking blog on Facebook and a few social pages of diverse projects. Her research and journalistic interests include Jewish studies, ethnic minorities, women’s experiences, gender equality, identity, the Holocaust and the Holodomor, social and vulnerable themes, geopoetics, cultural memory, science and academic virtue, and infomedia literacy.
Taking Prof. Grabowicz’s “Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Ukrainian Literature: Rethinking the Canon,” Khrystyna is excited to re-read classic texts in an insightful way distanced from post-Soviet customs and dated patterns. She is curious about learning a new vision of the literary process, literary theory tools, and interpretation models. “Nowadays Prof. Grabowicz is believed to be among the most prominent scholars in Ukrainian studies,” she noted. “Moreover, many of my works deal with issues associated with Prof. Grabowicz’s scholarship in literary studies and cultural studies, and my early pieces are partially fueled by his classic works.” Therefore, she awaits the classes with great anticipation.
Devon Sereda Goldie
Devon is an MA Candidate in Applied Theatre and Ukrainian Studies at the University of Victoria. Her research, “Пам’ять/Pam’yat (Memory): Theatre as a Vehicle for Healing Intergenerational Trauma within the Ukrainian Canadian Experience,” yielded a theatrical production entitled "Pam'yat." Written, directed, and produced by Devon and informed by interviews with members of the Ukrainian Canadian community, the play tells the story of a multi-generational Ukrainian Canadian immigrant family. She has presented this research at numerous conferences, including the Second International Conference on Canadian Studies (Chernivtsi), the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and the Canadian Association of Theatre Research.
Additionally, she was a speaker at the Forum on Antiracism in the Ukrainian Diaspora, the inaugural event of the Ukrainian Antiracist Community. In 2021, she co-taught a special topics theatre course with Dr. Warwick Dobson entitled "Exploring the Holodomor." Currently, Sereda Goldie is one of thirty participants in the "i am ..." Digital Storytelling Research Project of the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University, in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival. Her short film, which premiered in June 2021, explores her identity as a Ukrainian Canadian.
Outside academia, she works for the Ukrainian World Congress as a Social Media/Admin Assistant and serves in a variety of leadership roles in the Ukrainian community. In 2019, she was awarded the Ukrainian Canadian Congress National Youth Leadership Award for “outstanding leadership which significantly contributed to the broader Ukrainian community and the betterment of Canada.” At HUSI, she will take Professor Bilenky’s history course on tradition and modernity.
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon
Kimberly is a doctoral student in History at the University of Pennsylvania. She is studying Ukrainian for Reading Knowledge with Professor Dibrova. She earned her Master’s degree in Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia from Harvard’s Davis Center in 2014.
Her current research interrogates how race, ethnicity, and nationality functioned in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Specifically, she examines how the experiences of Africans and African Americans in these countries illustrate everyday understandings of race and ethnicity in officially “race-less” states. She has written and spoken about issues of race and discrimination in Ukraine and Russia.
Kimberly is excited to build her formal knowledge of Ukrainian. Her master’s thesis examined subjectivity in the countryside during the Holodomor. She did archival research in Kyiv and Odesa, Ukraine, and her dissertation research will take her back to Ukraine. “I was drawn to HUSI because, as a MA student, I enjoyed the Ukrainian Research Institute’s programming and the vibrant and supportive atmosphere the HURI scholars created,” she said.
“While I understand the COVID precautions,” Kim added, “I just wish I could study in the bright and welcoming HURI building again and work with my classmates in person.” HURI hopes she’ll visit our building again when conditions allow.
A native of Kharkiv, Daryna has enjoyed the opportunity to travel and live in other cities. She lived in a small village with a population of 90 people - Olefirifka, Poltava region - while she studied at Ukrainian Leadership Academy. She moved to Lviv to study Political Science at Ukrainian Catholic University, and then studied International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University.
“My aim of enrolling in the course "Tradition and Modernity in Ukraine, 19th and 20th Centuries" is to understand the origins and evaluate the socio-cultural impact on the formatting of Ukrainian identity today,” she said. “For example, to assess the Soviet legacy without prejudice and find its part in constructing modern Ukrainian society.”
Daryna sees both benefits and challenges in the virtual format for HUSI. She’s looking forward to the diverse viewpoints of a global community, while anticipating the novel experience of navigating across time zones. She’s excited and ready for the challenge!
Chase Way is a completing PhD candidate in Religion at Claremont Graduate University (CGU). She also holds an MA in Religion from CGU and an MA in Philosophy from Holy Apostles College & Seminary. Chase’s current academic home is the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Fullerton College, where she teaches both disciplines. In addition, she co-chairs the Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence (CARV) Unit at the American Academy of Religion.
Chase specializes in the history of world philosophy and theology, with a focus on philosophies and theologies of securitization, criminalization, extremism, and violence. The overarching theme throughout all of her work is an interest in how diverse socio-political, philosophical, and religious forces combine to legitimize (or delegitimize) different forms of knowledge and categories of identity, and the political consequences which inevitably attend these epistemic developments. Her dissertation, entitled “Where God is Warlord: A Philosophical Archaeology of the Euro-American Radical Right,” unpacks contemporary white supremacists’ links to Counter-Enlightenment, Anti-Enlightenment, neo-pagan and occult intellectual movements. It also explores how illiberal socio-political convictions are being popularized through alternative forms of religio-philosophical discourse - including music, fantasy role-playing games, and the revival of early medieval Norse writing - with particular attention to links between extremists in the American Pacific Northwest, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine. She is thrilled to take the history course at HUSI, which she expects will help her learn more about far-right, fascist, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist factions in Ukrainian politics and the Ukrainian armed forces.
Paulina is from San Diego, California, born to a Mexican mother and Ukrainian-descent father. At age 18, she graduated high school and received her Associates Degree in Political Science. In the fall, she will be majoring in International Studies with a European focus at American University’s School of International Service as an Honors student.
“When I lost my connection with my father in my early teen years, I resorted to learning about his heritage on my own. It started by watching videos of Ukrainian parliament with subtitles and led to me creating proposals meant to stabilize the region with North Atlantic Treaty Organization amendments and renewable energy,” she said. “This summer I get to formally dive into Ukraine’s history at Harvard. I am bilingual in Spanish and English, and the goal is to additionally learn Ukrainian to better connect with the region I spend so much time researching.”