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Noted analyst to speak on Ukrainian identity

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

LAWRENCE — The Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) announces that Mykola Riabchuk, president of the Ukrainian PEN Center, will deliver the first of two Ukrainian Studies Fall 2016 Palij Lectures. Riabchuk's lecture, “Two Ukraines Reconsidered: Forging the National Identity in a War-Torn Country,” will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sep. 22, in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union. Also​, Natalka Bilotserkivets, a celebrated Ukrainian poet, will give a poetry reading at noon Friday, Sept. 23, in Jayhawk Ink at the Kansas Union. Both events are free and open to the public.

A Ukrainian public intellectual, journalist, political analyst, literary critic, translator and writer, Mykola Riabchuk is known for his analytical articles and essays on Ukrainian politics, national identity and analysis of Ukrainian history from a postcolonial perspective. Riabchuk is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Political and Nationalities Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and a member of the editorial boards of Krytyka, Porownania and Journal of South Eastern Europe.

Since 2014, he presides at the Ukrainian PEN Center and heads the jury of the Angelus international literary award and the national Yuri Shevelov award for the best essays. His books on civil society, state/nation building, nationalism, national identity, and post-communist transition include “De la petit Russie a l’Ukraine” (L’Harmattan, 2003), “Die reale und die imaginierte Ukraine” (Suhrkamp 2006), “Gleichschaltung. Authoritarian Consolidation in Ukraine, 2010-2012” (KIS 2012), and “Ukraina: syndrom postkolonialny” (KEW 2015). His work was distinguished with many fellowships and awards, including the Reagan-Fascell fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy and Bene merito medal of the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. Currently, he is a visiting Fulbright researcher at the George Washington University.

Natalka Bilotserkivets is a Ukrainian poet whose works have been published in a number of English language anthologies and magazines in the U.S. and Europe. She wrote her first book of poetry, "Ballad about the Invincibles," in 1976, while she was still a student. Her collections of poems "The Underground Fire" (1984) and "November" (1989) became hallmarks of Ukrainian poetical life of 1980s, and her "Allergy" (1999) received much praise. Her poem “We Shall Not Die in Paris” is perhaps the work most often associated with her name, and it is well known to an entire generation of Ukrainians born after the accident at Chornobyl.

CREES offers one of the leading programs in Ukrainian studies in the U.S. It includes all levels of Ukrainian language study, as well as courses in Ukrainian history, politics and culture. The CREES Palij Family Fund supports the annual visiting Palij Lecturer focusing on Ukrainian studies and provides the annual Ukrainian Studies Prize for an outstanding student specializing in Ukraine. The University of Kansas also offers an intensive summer study abroad program focusing on Ukrainian language and culture in Lviv, Ukraine.