Announcing the publication of "Donbas Imaginaries: Heritage, Culture, Communities," a special issue of Region: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, edited by Victoria Donovan and Iryna Sklokina, with contributions from Yulia Abibok, Volodymyr Kulikov, Irina Kuznetsova, Vadim Lurie, Mykola Riabchuk, Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Iryna Shuvalova, Marta Studenna-Skrukwa, Danylo Sudyn, and Darya Tsymbalyuk: https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/46997
This special issue joins an established body of academic and, more broadly, journalistic and creative work that has explored the cultural status of Donbas within the Ukrainian, Soviet, post-Soviet, and Western geopolitical imaginations. This scholarship bears a particular burden of responsibility in the current political climate, when competing myths, narratives, and (mis)information are contending for dominance in the transnational economy of cultural meaning-making. This collection is consequently informed by a number of values and ethical positions that reflect our own political priorities with regard to the presentation of what has become a highly contentious set of topics. These values have informed our selection of contributors to this series, most of whom are Ukrainian women who have been conducting long-term, culturally sensitive research with local communities in the Donbas region. These voices, we believe, are some of the best placed to communicate the nuanced historical and cultural realities that inform the current situation in Donbas, without recourse to sensationalizing, exoticizing or Othering discourses. As Andrii Portnov has pointed out in his important article on this topic, these discourses have and continue to color the perceptions of and political interactions with the Donbas region both within Ukraine and abroad. We intend this collection as a research-rich challenge and corrective to these ongoing tendencies.