Year XV, Issue 7–8 (165–166)

July 2011
Ievhen Holovakha.Ukrainian Society: Wandering in the Desert (a Reduced Sentence)
Serhiy Kudelia. Effective Democracy Potion
Andrii Portnov. The Martyrdom of Millions: Some Theoretical Reflections
Serhy Yekelchyk. Writing the History of Ukrainian Culture before, under and after Communism
Olga Kyrylova. Cultural Studies in Ukraine in the Western and Eastern Contexts: an Attempt of Self-Reflection
James Gleick. How Google Dominates Us
Marius Ivaškevičius. Two Sides of Nostalgia
Maria Mayerchyk. Woman on a Patriarchal Leash
Maciej Matwijуw. A Polish Scholar in Soviet Serfdom
Alexander Kratochvil. Translator Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Ievhen Minko. After Life and Death


The July-August issue of Krytyka opens with three articles that examine the changes in Ukraine during the twenty years of independence. In “Ukrainian Society: Wandering in the Desert (a Reduced Sentence)” philosopher and sociologist Ievhen Holovakha of the Institute of Sociology sums up the survey results the Institute has been carrying out since 1992. Tracking the changes in the identities, priorities, and preferences of Ukrainians, Holovakha records a slow shift in mainstream thinking: from paternalist expectations to a critical approach to institutes and policies.

The historian Yaroslav Hrytsak in “Ukrainians: Who Are They, and What Do They Want?” explains why the main conflict within Ukrainian society is not the conflict between the two national projects, but the conflict of two types of modernity, and Ukrainians should change the agenda of national debates to focus on sets of values, not of identities. 

In his “No Parliament for Ukraine's Radical Right” Andreas Umland, DAAD Associate Professor of German and European Studies at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, examines the role of right-wing radicals on the Ukrainian political scene — and their surprisingly marginal nature.

In his “Effective Democracy Potion” Serhiy Kudelia of George Washington University, armed with Francis Fukuyama’s Origins of Political Order, examines Ukrainian political institutes and their capacity for building liberal democracy.

In his “The Martyrdom of Millions: Some Theoretical Reflections” Kyiv historian Andrii Portnov, continues Krytyka’s discussion regarding Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands. Serhy Yekelchyk of the University of Victoria provides in “Writing the History of Ukrainian Culture before, under and after Communism” an extensive review of various textbooks on the history of Ukrainian culture from Ivan Ohienko’s wartime (1918) Ukrainian Culture to various recent ones—all of which fall into similar ideological traps.

Olga Kyrylova, associate professor at the National Mykhailo Drahomanov Pedagogical University, begins where Yekelchyk stops: in her “Cultural Studies in Ukraine in the Western and Eastern Contexts: an Attempt of Self-Reflection” she deals with the issues of the genesis, the representatives, the academic scholarship and other works in the field of “Cultural Studies” (“culturology”) in Ukraine.

Krytyka has recently become the exclusive partner of The New York Review of Books in Ukraine. “How Google Dominates Us” by James Gleick is the first article Krytyka now provides in Ukrainian translation. A journalist and biographer, Gleick tries to grasp the Google phenomenon – along with the authors of various books on this topic, both rhapsodizing and demonizing the rise of Google’s power.

The Lithuanian novelist Marius Ivaškevičius reveals the palimpsest nature of Lithuanian everyday life in his essay “Two Sides of Nostalgia”, which takes a sad and ironic look at his Soviet childhood and several “lost generations” that he has seen. In her review “Woman on a Patriarchal Leash” Maria Mayerchyk, a social anthropologist from Kyiv, welcomes A Female in Traditional Ukrainian Culture by Oksana Kis, the first ethnographic study of females that deconstructs gender regimes in Ukrainian pre-industrial culture. Yet she questions how precisely the declared approach of social constructionalism is to be maintained.

In “A Polish Scholar in Soviet Serfdom” Maciej Matwijów of Wrocław Universty recounts the story of Polish academician Mieczysław Gębarowicz, and his struggle to maintain high academic standards under Soviet rule in post-War Lviv.

In his memorial essay “Translator Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary”. Alexander Kratochvil of Konstanz University, Germany, writes on the prominent translator Anna-Halja Horbatsch and her work in promoting Ukrainian literature in the German-speaking world. In July 2011 Ukrainian essayist Ievhen Minko visited the world premiere of “The Life and Death of Marina Abramović” at the Manchester International Festival.

In “After Life and Death” he provides an overview of the intellectual and art biography of Marina Abramović, “the grandmother of performance art,” and also ponders the paradox she faced at the height of her fame.

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