And Summer Comes

Another long delay. Perhaps a good place to start would be a piece called “Kharkov motifs: Three variations” / “Харьковские мотивы в трёх вариациях” that appeared on Historians-in-UA this past April. It is written in Russian and Ukrainian. Here is a brief overview in English:

This text is an attempt to deconstruct the three main myths about the city of Kharkov (Kharkiv), a multicultural border zone which is often misconstrued and simplified due to its location and its Russian-speaking majority. The stereotype which gives rise to such one-dimensional perceptions is rooted in the good ol’ myth of Two Ukraines (the East-West dichotomy). In this piece, I analyse and tackle each of the following myths:

1) Kharkov as Russian
2) Kharkov as Russian-speaking
3) Kharkov as unattractive (a common view of East Ukrainian cities)

It is a zoomed-in glance at how complex and yet non-antipodal the actual cultural and linguistic realities of modern Ukraine are, with Kharkov serving as a well-known symbol for the country’s eastern metropolises.

This June I passed the annual second-year assessment, and have moved forward to this doctorate’s third (and possibly final) year. A timeframe of tasks for 15 months (from July 2012 to September 2013) now sits on my desktop, kicking up the usual doubts of a PhD candidate:

– is this interesting?
– does it make sense?
– can it be done?
– can I do it?!

… sometimes, pictures say more than words. :)


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