aaus-list @ ukrainianstudies.org -- [aaus-list] Fwd: Re: Ukrainian Studies


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Dear Natalie,

Point definitely taken. I was thinking only of language-teaching and 
praxis oriented issues (i.e., preparation as a linguist/pedagog). I 
was not saying that there is no one doing Ukrainian studies 
professionally or even gaining professional recognition for it. In 
language studies, however, I'm not sure that anyone has gotten a 
tenure-track or tenured job first and foremost as a Ukrainianist in 
this country (save the positions here; maybe Michael Naydan is the 
exception, but I thought his position is in literature; George 
Perfeckyj at LaSalle was another exception, but Slavic has been cut 
there and he's teaching Spanish now). My original post indicated the 
different places where Ukrainian is taught; obviously people are 
there to conduct the instruction (sometimes instructors or 
preceptors, sometimes department professors).

Social anthropology seems to me a different ball of wax, because it 
valorizes all cultures if the scholar maintains a certain level of 
excellence (as you have), irrespective of where her/his field 
studies are conducted. (I'm aware of regional constraints though, 
and the fact that North Americanists get many more jobs than 
Eurasianists...) I know that you, Anne, Alex Hrycak, Laada Bilaniuk, 
and, now, Sarah Drue Phillips all make a formidable contingent of 
anthropologists looking at everything from language usage to gender 
roles to folkways studies. And the young people have good chances of 
tenure while retaining their primary focus on Ukraine. The same is 
true of a number of political and social scientists and contemporary 
historians. (There was a huge increase in Ukie studies publications 
between '89 and '94, so obviously a lot of people have increased 
their work in the field or come into the field from elsewhere.) But 
introductory language and culture instruction still is the domain of 
the Slavic or Modern Language departments--and it is that 
preparatory work that I had in mind.

I'm not aware of Michael's pedagogical work, but it was an oversight 
not to mention his translation activities. (I think he's bringing 
out three books this year!) I really don't know about his 
dissertation or work previous to tenure, so I cannot speak to it. I 
don't know enough about Luba Litus, either, but would mention Vera 
Andrushkiw at the same time--although she's gone to the private 
sector (like Anne). I'm pretty sure George did most of his 
publishing on Chekhov while working toward tenure and is just in the 
past two years turning to Ukrainian subjects.

As for the axis you talk about--I've tried to avoid that for AAUS. 
Most recently, I wrote a strong letter of support for Ukrainian 
studies at U of Pittsburgh (at Anna Chumachenko's request). 
Ukrainian studies has been included in their current capital 
campaign subsequently. Whether my letter made any difference, I 
don't know, but the effort was made...

I haven't announced it publically yet, but we've received a grant 
for website development for AAUS and one of the first things I 
intend to develop is a clickable map that will list local 
Ukrainianists throughout the country (with their specialties) for 
networking within the field and for the public (and media) outside 
the field to find "talking heads" as necessary. Hopefully the 
diversity of our current board (2 in Cambridge, one in DC, one in 
Kansas, one in Ontario) will help overcome the organization's past 
Cantabrigiocentrism. :)

As for the numbers, I hope that in the course of putting the "Why 
Study Ukraine" booklet together we can get a better sense of them. 
Still, what departments report is significant, since that is what 
administrators look to when assigning weight to individual requests 
to establish courses. There probably is a lot of "gray market" 
Ukrainian language teaching, but that's hard to get at. Do you want 
to do a section of the book on the demographics of Ukrainian studies 
in the US? If it included an analysis of valorization of the field 
and individual interaction with their respective disciplines, I 
think it would be fascinating. It would be very interesting to see 
what the difference is between anthropology and literature studies 
and why it is so (or maybe I'm way off base in thinking that they is 
a difference).

Respectfully and with warm greetings,

Rob D.


>At the risk of being immodest, I would like to point out that I
>publish almost exclusively on Ukrainian topics and that I have
>tenure.  It is true that getting tenure was not easy and
>getting promoted to full professor on the basis of a book on
>Ukrainian folklore, even though it was a prize-winning book,
>was even more difficult, but all these things did come to
>pass.  Even better, I think, one of my grad students, Anne
>Ingram, learned Ukrainian, did field work in Ukrainian villages
>and wrote a dissertation based entirely on Ukrainian data.  She
>now has a lovely job in academic computing where her knowledge
>of Ukrainian is very helpful - she is a specialist in non-Latin
>fonts.
>
>I write all of this to ask you not to forget us, not just Anne
>and me, but all of the people who are not part of the
>Boston/New York Ukrainian center.  I think our lives here would
>have been easier if we did get more recognition from the center
>- I mean that it would be easier to convince our colleagues
>that we do something important.  Also, recognizing all of us in
>the "provintsii" would give a truer picture of the extent of
>interest in Ukrainian topics and might even convince deans to
>support courses in Ukrainian language.
>
>Natalka Kononenko
>
>PS What about Michael Naydan?  This is another person who
>writes extensively on Ukrainian topics, teaches the language on
>occasion, and tries to bring recognition to the field.  Come to
>think of it, there is Luba Litus, George Mikhaichuk, and many
>others.  Maybe we should draw public recognition to the success
>of the many Ukrainianists instead of drawing attention to the
>small number of students.  And, frankly, I think the numbers
>are wrong.  I think there are far more students.


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