Students of Slavic 290: Cultures of Ukraine explore and learn about the diverse cultural traditions of modern Ukraine through its history, literature, cinema, architecture, music, and art. By territory, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, and it is located on the crossroads between Europe and Asia. “Ukraine is the land,” wrote English historian Norman Davies, “through which most of European peoples went to settle in their final homeland, including the Kyivan Rus’ as the largest political and cultural dynasty in Europe in the Middle Ages.”
The cultural diversity of Ukraine will be introduced in this course through some uncommon topics, such as the Byzantium influence on the development of intellectual discourse, religion and cultural life in the region, and women’s equal rights in education during medieval times. We will also discuss the migration of Germans into the Volhynia region of Ukraine in the early 1800’s, the change of border between the Ukrainian SSR and Poland, and its effect on the population of the border areas, and more.
The course is intended to help students perceive how the cultural diversity of Ukraine has become one of the important components of the creation of the Ukrainian nation. Topics are presented as a “cultural mapping” of Ukraine, which was influenced by a variety of other cultures, yet never lost its own identity.