Workshop for Early Career Scholars

HREC gathered five talented early-career scholars for two days of intense discussion at the Holodomor Workshop on June 6-7. The event allowed these scholars to present preliminary findings and to benefit from in-depth engagement with peers and established experts. Established scholars provided them with valuable guidance, both in terms of theoretical and methodological approaches, including concrete advice on what to read and where to look. Workshop facilitator Olga Andriewsky, a professor of history at Trent University, explained the value of the workshop as “a place to test out ideas, to try out different concepts and approaches, and to discuss research strategies—all in a collaborative and supportive setting.”

Andrea Graziosi, University of Naples, served as co-facilitator. Professor Graziosi was one of the first historians to write about the genocidal nature of the Ukrainian famine. In addition, participants benefited from the expertise of Liudmyla Hrynevych, the leading Holodomor scholar in Ukraine, and her husband Vladyslav Hrynevych, a specialist on World War II on Ukrainian territory, who contributed valuable suggestions regarding specific archival sources.

The first paper, given by Olga Bertelsen, was entitled “The Politics of Silence during the Collectivization Campaign in Ukraine, 1928-1933.” She discussed silence as an element essential to authoritarian societies, concealing the truth about atrocities committed by the state. Dr. Bertelsen underscored the value as a historian in meeting scholars interested in the

Holodomor from the perspectives of oral history and memory politics. “Establishing new connections can lead to new collaborative projects, and our common experience can become the foundation for such projects in the future,” she said.

Kimberly St. Julian, Harvard University, presented on “Stalinism in the Countryside: Collectivization and the Famine in Soviet Ukraine as Formative Experiences.” She utilized diaries and letters written during the Holodomor to explore how peasants and local Communists perceived and understood the experience. The primary aim of her work is to locate the Holodomor within Soviet historiography and the peasantry as central to this analysis, she said. 

Diana Kudaibergenova, a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Cambridge, presented her paper “Articulating Cultural Trauma: The Holodomor, Social Suffering and Contemporary Nation-Building in Ukraine.” She assessed the concept of cultural trauma, analyzing the Ukrainian Holodomor and the formation of collective identity in the aftermath of the tragedy and after the fall of the empire that caused it. In evaluating the workshop, Ms. Kudaibergenova pointed to the unique blend of research in progress, the expertise of senior scholars, and hands-on advice on archival research in Ukraine. “By combining these three elements, the workshop was extremely helpful for young scholars who were able not only to share our findings and test hypotheses but also to learn from each other and our more experienced colleagues,” she said.

Daria Mattingly, a PhD candidate in Slavonic Studies, University of Cambridge, presented a paper on how perpetrators of the Holodomor are remembered and forgotten. She discussed her attempts to assess the relations the perpetrators had with their victims, their motivations for compliance, and their fates after the Famine. Ms. Mattingly is at the early stages of writing a dissertation, drawing on testimonies of both perpetrators and survivors, archival data and contemporary post-memory in three villages: Pidhorodne (Dnipropetrovsk province), Petrivtsi (Poltava province) and Toporishche (Zhytomyr province) developing a microlevel analysis to provide insight into what took place in the rest of the country. While looking through materials housed in the archives of the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre, Ms.Mattingly was pleased to find a survivor’s testimony from one of the villages she studies.

Marta Baziuk, Executive Director of HREC, noted that the gathering constituted a workshop in the truest sense. “Our five talented early career scholars shared information and challenged each other’s views, and our experts provided them with valuable guidance, both in terms of theoretical and methodological approaches, including concrete advice on what to read and where to look.”




Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta)