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  • 29
    OKT

    CANCELLED: Racial Anthropology and Ukrainian Nationalism (1900-1950)

    Advanced seminar arranged by the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University.

    This seminar is unfortunately cancelled.
     

    Speaker: Sofiya Grachova, University of Erfurt (Germany)

    Chair: Julia Malitska, Södertörn University.

    Discussant: Marco Nase, Södertörn University.

    The presentation explores a neglected but important entanglement of racial anthropology with Ukrainian nationalist ideologies in the first half of the twentieth century. I argue that the category of race was vital for the
    intellectual construction of modern Ukrainian national identity and for the ideological undermining of competing political projects, Russian and Polish nationalism above all. I focus on three anthropologists whose lives and careers were deeply intertwined with the history of the Ukrainian self-determination movement. The first of them is Khvedir Vovk (1847-191 8), a prominent ethnographer, also known as the founder of the Ukrainian school of physical anthropology. Vovk subordinated the authority of this discipline, considered highly modern
    and scientific at the time, to the agenda of Ukrainian identity building (which presumed the separation of Ukrainians from other Slavic populations into a separate national category), and to the project of creating Ukrainian science, both institutionally and epistemologically. Vovk claimed that racial differences, allegedly expressed in visible and quantifiable physical traits, superseded language and political allegiances as the ultimate identity marker.

    Due to his tireless efforts, by the time of the First World War, the language
    of racial anthropology was firmly incorporated into the rhetoric of Ukrainian self-determination movement. This entanglement continued throughout the interwar period, in spite of the failure of attempts to establish an
    independent Ukrainian state. My second case is the anthropologist Ivan Rakovskyi (1874-1949), a student of Vovk who spent most of his career in Lviv, then a part of the Polish Republic. Rakovskyi’s studies likewise utilized racial categories for Ukrainian identity building, but complemented them with the idea of racial inequality between the allegedly culturally advanced peoples of Europe and purportedly backward populations of other continents. Arguing that Ukrainians, in virtue of their racial stock, belonged to the former category, Rakovskyi aimed to bolster unsuccessful claims of Ukrainians for independent statehood and to delegitimize Polish rule in what is now western Ukraine.

    He was also instrumental in popularizing racial science through the network of the largest Ukrainian cultural association “Prosvita”. In the next generation, represented by the anthropologist Rostyslav Yendyk (1897-1974), racial science merged with the politics of resentment into a radical nationalist and racist program, which represented ethnic Ukrainians as the only legitimate citizens of the future Ukrainian state and other groups as inferior and harmful aliens. A member of a relatively minor nationalist organization, Yendyk had no authority to enforce his proposed policies. However, his thought signifies the prominent role of race in the radicalization of Ukrainian nationalism in the 1930s and 40s and thus is important for understanding the ideological spectrum and evolution of this movement.

     

    Sofiya Grachova received her PhD in History from Harvard University in 2014, focusing on the history of Jewish medical anthropology in Russia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her research interests stand at the intersection of science and the history of interethnic relations in Modern Eastern Europe. She is currently finishing a monograph titled “Pathologies of Civility: East European Jews, Health, Race & Citizenship, 1830-1930.” Most recently, she has also started a project examining the history of racial anthropology in Ukraine. She has published on a variety of topics pertaining to the history of interethnic relations in Ukraine and the USSR, including articles “Writing on the margins of an empire: the beginnings of Ukrainian-Jewish historical scholarship,” in Jewish Culture and History, 18:2 (2017), and “Between History and Nature: Mendelism and the Concept of Jewish ‘Race’ in Russian Medicine, 1900-1930,” (Max Weber Working Papers, European University Institute, 2015). Grachova has held, among others, a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European
    University Institute (Florence), a GEOP Postdoctoral Fellowship at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Warsaw), a Research Fellowship at the German Historical Institute (Warsaw), as well as a Herzog Ernst Fellowship at the Gotha Research Center of the University of Erfurt. Currently, she is a fellow at the Katz Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and in the academic year of 2018-2019, she will be a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Erfurt. 

    Tid och plats

    När: måndag 29 oktober kl. 13:00-14:30

    Vad: högre seminarium

    Var: Room MA 796, CBEES, Södertörn University

    Arrangeras av: The Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University

    Evenemangsspråk: engelska