Social media allow for sharing stories about the past, indulging in nostalgia and constitute an important space for collective memorywork. Such nostalgic sentiments shape uncritical perceptions of the past and affect the processes of urban regeneration and mnemonic practices. Moreover, memory and nostalgia are used by political actors and serve as an important mobilising resource. The talk by Ivan Kozachenko will focus on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. This city, once the capital of the Soviet Ukraine, its scientific and industrial centre, has experienced a sharp economic decline in the post-Soviet period leaving many of its citizens with a strong longing for the past. Following the pro-European revolution of 2014, Kharkiv became the centre of the pro-Russian protests known as ‘Antimaidan’. But unlike Luhansk and Donetsk – two neighbouring regional centres that were seized by Russian-backed separatists – Kharkiv remained under the control of Ukraine. In the post-revolution years, the city has seen many of its Soviet-era monuments removed while its centre has undergone substantial regeneration. During this period divergent visions of the past were promoted on social media by local elites, urban social movements and ordinary citizens significantly affecting urban development and identity. Using an extensive ethnographic study, this talk will explore how the case of this Ukrainian city corresponds with social theorisations on memory, nostalgia, and conflict.
Ivan Kozachenko is a Prisma Ukraїna Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, with a scholarship by ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius. His research interests include nationalism and diaspora studies, memory and linguistic identities in the post-Soviet states, and the role of social media in social movements and cultural representations. His most recent publications appeared in Nations and Nationalism, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and the Journal of European Studies. Prior to his Prisma Ukraїna Fellowship, Ivan Kozachenko held research positions at the University of Cambridge and Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta. He received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Aberdeen.
In accordance with the measures against the spread of the coronavirus, this seminar session will be held virtually via ZOOM. Please register in advance via eume(at)trafo-berlin.de to receive the login details. Depending on approval by the speakers, the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available via the account of the Forum Transregionale Studien on SoundCloud.