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Cambridge Ukrainian Studies


International Conferences and Symposia

Cambridge Ukrainian Studies Conferences and Symposia

Cambridge Ukrainian Studies hosts regular international conferences and symposia that seek to advance the field of Ukrainian Studies and to promote intellectual exchange about Ukraine around the world.


Ukraine and the Challenges of International Law

On 4 December 2017 Cambridge Ukrainian Studies and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) hosted the international conference Ukraine and the Challenges of International Law: Annexation, Aggression, Cyber Warfare. The conference addressed the crises in Ukraine -- the annexation of Crimea, the war in eastern Ukraine, and cyber attacks against Ukraine’s infrastructure -- and the major implications that they have had for international law. The event brought together scholars, international lawyers, civic activists, and practitioners in an attempt to answer these critical questions: How can international law help us make sense of the developments in Ukraine since February 2014? What language can and must we use in our discussions of these developments? How have these crises, in their turn, affected the system of international law itself?


Crimea: Centre of Gravity in the Black Sea

In 2014 Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea dominated headlines around the world. Since then it has largely receded from view – despite an ongoing Russian military build-up on the peninsula and crackdowns on Crimean Tatar civil society. On 21 April 2017 the international workshop ‘Crimea: Centre of Gravity in the Black Sea’ returned the peninsula and its environs to the centre of attention.

The event was an exciting collaboration between Cambridge Ukrainian Studies and Black Sea Networks, a research project at Columbia University led by Professor Valentina Izmirlieva.


Past as Prelude: Polish-Ukrainian Relations in the Twenty-First Century

An international conference seeking to develop new directions for the complex relationship between Poland and Ukraine, which has become more important than ever in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. 

Speakers included Michał Boni, Norman Davies, Ola Hnatiuk, Yaroslav Hrytsak, Paweł Kowal, Serhii Plokhii, Mykola Riabchuk, Sławomir Sierakowski, Frank Sysyn, and Karolina Wigura, among others.


Ukraine and the Global Information War

Held in partnership with the Legatum Institute, this Cambridge Ukrainian Studies international conference explored the dynamics between the politics of representation and international security through the lens of the geopolitical tumult in Ukraine, or what might be termed 'MCD' (Maidan-Crimea-Donbas).

It posited that MCD marks a critical and instructive juncture in the evolution of modern journalistic practice, featuring, among other things, a burgeoning social 'media-ization' of the news and an extraordinary collision between state propaganda and public ignorance of a country in crisis. The conference sought to examine the civic, Internet-based and crowd-sourced media initiatives that have accordingly emerged as alternatives to state and corporate media outlets in Ukraine and beyond.


Making and Remaking History: A Symposium on Mykhailo Hrushevsky

Mykhailo Hrushevsky was a historian of genius, a man who irrevocably changed our understanding of Eastern Europe. How does this change resonate today? In what ways has the scholarship of Mykhailo Hrushevsky influenced cultural memory and historical thought and practice in Ukraine, Russia, Poland and beyond?

In the best traditions of the symposium, a group of international scholars addressed these questions in free, informal conversation. The discussion was divided into two parts, each exploring different aspects of Hrushevsky's role in 'unmaking' Imperial Russia and 'unmaking' the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The event culminated in a presentation to mark the launch of the English-language History of Ukraine-Rus', Volume 6: Economic, Cultural, and National Life in the 14th to 17th Centuries, published by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press.


Independent Ukraine: Twenty Years On

On 8-9 December 2011, a group of noted international scholars convened at the University of Cambridge to chart Ukraine's complex trajectory since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Focusing on the concept and the challenge of independence, the participants explored the ever-evolving opportunities -- and dangers -- facing the largest country within Europe.

The event sought to offer a multi-faceted and comparative analysis of today's Ukraine by orienting discussion broadly on the notion of independence, in all its senses. What did 'independence' mean for the Ukrainian electorate in 1991? What does it mean today? In what ways is the country politically, economically, and culturally free to pursue its own interests? Does this independence conduct or inhibit democratic freedom(s)? Does Ukraine's pivotal geopolitical position -- its 'inbetweeness' -- impose by necessity a condition of dependency? How is 'independence' invoked in the discursive spheres of Ukrainian politics, economics, and culture? How has it influenced the representation of Ukraine's past -- and future?

A Hidden History of Soviet Cinema: The Legacy of Ihor Savchenko

Sponsored by Cambridge Ukrainian Studies, this symposium brought together scholars from Ukraine, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States to discuss diverse oeuvre of filmmaker Ihor Savchenko (1906-1950), a prolific and influential near contemporary of Dovzhenko and Eisenstein whose body of work remains little known in the West. 

Born in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, Savchenko started his filmmaking career in Baku before moving to work in major studios in Moscow and Kyiv. His films include the first Soviet musical, light romantic comedies, wartime epics, and controversial biopics. Among the students in his directing master class at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) were some of the most celebrated filmmakers of the post-Stalin era: Marlen Khutsiev, Sergei Parajanov, Aleksandr Alov and Vladimir Naumov.

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Ukrainian Independence: 100 Years On

5 February 2018

One hundred years ago, amid the frost of 1918, the world witnessed the emergence of an independent Ukraine. This winter, the University of Cambridge explores the dynamics and implications of this emergence with prominent public lectures by renowned scholars Mykhailo Minakov (8 February) , Mark von Hagen (23 February) , and...

Five Questions about the Upcoming Conference, 'Ukraine and the Challenges of International Law'

20 November 2017

On 4 December 2017 Cambridge Ukrainian Studies and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) host the international conference Ukraine and the Challenges of International Law: Annexation, Aggression, Cyber Warfare . CRASSH asks us five questions about this special event.