Simone Attilio Bellezza
Title of Research
The Scholarly Dialectics of Nation Building: HURI and the Dynamics of Cultural Exchange between Diaspora and Homeland
The task of my research will be to study the history of the creation and management of HURI both as the result of the civic activism of the American-Ukrainian community and as an important major actor in the scholarly and political debate on Ukraine in the years after its creation. I would like to investigate the reasons that led the Ukrainian diaspora in the USA to create a center of Ukrainian studies at Harvard University, and how these plans were concretely carried out in the interaction between Ukrainian associations and the university faculty and management. I will then study how the Institute and the people who worked and studied at HURI contributed to the advancement and promotion of Ukrainian studies as a topic of scholarly research, as well as to awareness of the Holodomor in public opinion.
I will then examine how the memorialization of the Holodomor was transformed and transmitted to mainland Ukraine through Ukrainian dissidents (Plyushch, Moroz, Grigorenko, Svytlychna, Strokata and others), who embraced this new topic and integrated it in their own national narrative and political activity in the Ukrainian Helsinki Group abroad representatives. I will try to understand how the idea of a Ukrainian national tragedy filtered to Soviet Ukraine, where in 1986 another shistdesiatnyk, Ivan Drach, opened the public discussion comparing the famine to the Chornobyl’ disaster. This will be a fundamental part of my study on the dynamics of cultural exchange between Ukrainian emigration and mainland Ukraine during the Cold War.
Simone Attilio Bellezza is Assistant Professor of Modern History at the Department of Social Sciences of the University of Naples “Federico II.” The fil rouge of his work is the study of national belonging and its relationship with other kinds of loyalty (social, political, cultural, and religious). He is currently investigating, through the study of the Ukrainian case, the importance of the relationship between diaspora communities and their original homeland in the emergence of the human rights movement during the Cold War. His book The Shore of Expectations: A Study on the Culture of the Ukrainian Shistdesiatnyky is forthcoming from the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press.