Prisma Ukraïna – Research Network Eastern Europe (Forum Transregionale Studien), “Tkuma” Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies, Center for Governance and Culture in Europe/University St. Gallen, German Historical Institute Warsaw, European University Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder, and the Centre for Applied Anthropology (Kyiv) invite doctoral and postdoctoral scholars to apply for the Transregional Academy “After Violence: The (Im-)Possibility of Understanding and Remembering”.
Our Transregional Academy will address issues related to the understanding
and remembering of traumatic experiences of physical and symbolic violence
that occurred during the 20th and 21st centuries. This violence was prolonged
by the erasure of memory, through silence, oblivion, fear, indifference, and manipulation
of the public consciousness. The Academy will consider problems of
representation and the silencing of traumas in various kinds of narrative texts
(memories, fiction, journalistic texts, historiography, cinema, graphic arts, paintings,
monuments and other symbolic structures). The Transregional Academy
will predominantly focus on Ukraine, which became one of the main battlefields
of the 20th century, profoundly affected by revolutions, the two world wars, and
the Holocaust. Ukraine now represents a space of both military and symbolic
conflict. The Academy additionally wants to explore studies covering the wider
Eastern-European region, seeking original and productive comparisons with
similar phenomena beyond Ukraine. Researchers engaged in interdisciplinary
work in the humanities and social sciences are highly welcomed.
The Transregional Academy aims to reflect upon the following themes, among
others, in discussion:
Experiencing and witnessing traumatic events
What are the limits of reasoning a continued traumatic experience and how can
we approach the moral dimension of such a mental act? Is it possible to create
intellectual distance and, at the same time, maintain moral sensitivity to ongoing
violence, when it has already become entrenched in everyday practices, and
when the language of hatred has become a completely “natural” expression?
How can the logic behind decisions of those people that are recruited to commit
violence and kill their own compatriots, neighbors, or even friends and relatives,
be explained (but not excused)? How could victims be perpetrators at the same
time? What can we learn from analyzing the strategies of perpetrators to rationalize
and self-justify their behavior? What traps could someone encounter from
trying to comprehend the actions of a perpetrator?
Living and dealing with memories of a traumatic past
What kind of experiences and memories could be provoked despite or because
of silencing the trauma? How did preserving and disseminating the knowledge
about “unsanctioned” and unspoken traumatic experiences during Soviet era
function? What are the long-lasting effects of living in a society of victims and
perpetrators without any public reflection on the violence that once took place?
Commemoration, practices of forgetting and/or forgiving, and discourses
Do commemorative practices bring us closer or further away from a deeper understanding
of violence? Is it possible to recall knowledge and experiences of
violence one did not suffer from? What kind of experience cannot be covered
by commemorative practices? How can commemoration become a self-negating
practice? How can the process of forgiving contribute to reconciliation?
Interacting with the City
The Transregional Academy will be held in Dnipro (Ekaterinoslav-Dnipropetrovsk),
Ukraine, where Cossack, Polish, and Russian imperial traditions compete
with respect to the city’s origins. The city holds a special character from its
closed status after the Second World War due to its production facilities for
The Academy will not only include lectures and discussions on the participants’
projects, but also organize anthropological fieldwork in various urban areas.
This part of the Transregional Academy is aimed to encourage reflection on the
possible reasons behind the exclusion of certain actors and traditions from the
urban collective memory. It also aims to direct participants to thinking of how
the past becomes a concern of the present through the planning and opening of
different memorial sites.
The Transregional Academy will gather 18-20 doctoral and postdoctoral scholars
from various social sciences and humanities disciplines (including, but not
exclusive to, history, literature, social anthropology, social psychology, sociology
and political sciences) whose studies relate to the Academy’s above-mentioned
topic(s) and questions.
Our Transregional Academy will take place at the “Tkuma” Ukrainian Institute
for Holocaust Studies and the Museum “Jewish Memory and Holocaust in
Ukraine”, located at the Menorah Dnipro Multifunctional Center.
Steering Committee: Iuliia Buyskykh (Kyiv), Susi K. Frank (Berlin), Andrii
Portnov (Frankfurt/Oder), Ulrich Schmid (St. Gallen), Igor Shchupak (Dnipro),
Viktoriia Serhiienko (Kyiv), Denys Shatalov (Dnipro), Annette Werberger
Scholars to be Invited to Give Guest Lectures: Korine Amacher (University of
Geneva), Jan C. Behrends (Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF) Potsdam), Serhii
Plokhy (Harvard University), Miloš Řeznik (German Historical Insitute Warsaw),
Carmen Scheide (University of Bern), Alexander Woll (University of Potsdam).
Academy language: English (successful applicants are expected to be intermediate
in Ukrainian or Russian).
How to Apply
The Transregional Academy is targeted at doctoral and postdoctoral researchers
wishing to present their current projects that concentrate on the themes relevant
to the questions raised above. Although the Transregional Academy focuses on
Ukraine and Eastern Europe, comparative perspectives on the above-mentioned
issues from other regions are highly welcomed.
— A CV (max. 3 pages);
— A three- to five-page outline of the project the applicant is currently working
on, with a brief introductory summary thereof;
— A sample of an academic writing (in any language);
— The names of two university faculty members who can serve as referees (no
letters of recommendation required).
The application should be written in English and sent via email as one pdf file to
Please specify the topic of the Academy: “After Violence” in the subject line of
Deadline for applications is 14 January 2019. Those who send their applications
after the deadline will not be considered. Notifications of acceptance will be sent
by mid-February 2019.
For more information, please visit: