War and Violent Conflict in Socialist and Post-Socialist Societies

Du 3 au 9 juillet 2016, se déroulera, à Kharkiv, la 8e Ecole d'été internationale en sciences sociales et humaines en Ukraine. Elle sera consacrée à la guerre dans les sociétés socialistes et post-socialistes. Les chercheurs intéressés sont invités à envoyer leur proposition de contribution avant le 15 avril 2016.


A joint project of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa (Canada), the Center for Russian, East European and Caucasian Studies (France), the LabEx EHNE "Writing a new History in Europe", The Center for Slavic History at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne (France), the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine), the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy (Ukraine).

The Summer school is supported by the Wolodymyr George Danyliw Foundation (Canada), the LabEx EHNE – Writing a New History of Europe (France) , the Embassy of France in Ukraine and and the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine).


"Why about the war? Because we are people of war – we have always been at war or been preparing for war. If one looks closely, we all think in terms of war. At home, on the street (...) Everything is wartime."

Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Lecture, 7 December 2015

Is "everything wartime" in the former Soviet Union and former Soviet space, as Svetlana Alexievich suggests?

War was incontestably an ever-present feature of the Soviet State. Born during a war, and in major part, of the war, the Soviet regime overcame harsh periods of armed conflict. Even during periods of peace the state and the population always lived between past and future violence: the memory of the civil war and of foreign intervention; the threat of future wars during the 1930s; 1941-45 followed by the Cold War...

The Soviet Union unexpectedly collapsed without violence in Moscow, the imperial center. Yet the last two decades have been shaped by local conflicts and wars on the periphery of the former Soviet Empire, from the Caucasus to Eastern Ukraine.

War pervades public space and memories both public and private throughout the post-socialist region. From the ubiquitous monuments to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War to the more unseen ways that armed conflicts have transformed the social, cultural, political and economic structures of the region, war is central to understanding the post-socialist space today.

World War II and its memory (or rather, memories) have become weapons in the current conflict in Ukraine, as well as in Russia's relationship with the West. Yet while World War II may dominate political and social discourse, Afghanistan and the "forgotten wars" of Soviet-supported conflicts in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, too, have shaped the "people of war", to use Svetlana Alexievich's characterization.

The Eighth International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine welcomes proposals from many disciplines in the social sciences and adjacent fields, such as history, sociology, anthropology, political science, international relations or cultural studies. Our regional focus is the former Soviet Union, Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. While the primary concentration will be on the 20th and 21st centuries, 19th century proposals are welcome.

Topics of investigation could include

– Dynamics of war and conflict

"Old" and "new" wars
Imperial wars/ Civil wars / Defensive wars / Predatory wars
War and antiterrorism
War, wealth and the economy
War and political processes, political reconfiguration
War and political/social transformation

– Practices of war and conflict

Construction of the Enemy and the Hero during wartime
Wartime symbols, songs, and images
Materiality and objects of war
War and the environment
Heroic figures

– Combatants and belligerents

Trajectories of combatants
Mobilization and demobilization

– Societies transformed

Refugees and displaced populations
Social mobility
Civil populations at war
Society/civic mobilizations behind the front lines
Transformation of economic practices
Recreating everyday life after wartime
Retribution and postwar justice

– Gender at War

Masculinities in war
Women at war
War and the Body
Sexual violence

– The Vulnerable

Disabled people

– The Powerful

Corporate elites
The military/ paramilitary
Agents and institutions of state power: local administration, border guards, police, security services

– History and Memories of war

Historical narratives of war
Memorialization between state policy and civic action
Memorial places / Places of memory
Representations of war in the arts
War and wartime in popular culture
Additional sections could also be organized to include other papers on contemporary Ukraine or Ukrainian history.

Format: Workshop and Fieldwork

The Summer School follows a unique format that allows for developing participants' research projects, as well as exploring the theme of the School in the laboratory of the city. Participants leave the School with new colleagues, new ideas, and a better understanding of their own research in comparative context. The Summer School is explicitly interdisciplinary and follows a workshop format. Each participant will present a pre-circulated paper and receive extensive comments from a group of international faculty, as well as from other participants. Participants are expected to read each other's work, to contribute actively to discussions, and to participate in the extracurricular program throughout the city. The Summer School will include roundtables and presentations at the seminar, field visits, local interviews and excursions within the region. These off-site activities will contribute to our seminar discussions.

Location: Kharkiv (Ukraine)

The International Social Science Summer School in Ukraine takes place in a different city of Ukraine every year. Previous schools have been held in Uman (2009), Dnipropetrovsk (2010), Ostroh (2011), Zhytomyr (2012), Mykolaiv (2013), Lviv (2014) and Chernivtsy (2015).

This year's school will take place in Kharkiv, Ukraine. A university city and a city of industry in the Russian Empire, Kharkiv became the capital of the republic in the early Soviet period. The constructivist Derzhprom government building attests to its center as a place of radical social, political, and cultural transformation. Kharkiv then became Soviet Ukraine's second city, but a focal point because of its factories during World War II, as the Nazi and Soviet armies crossed back and forth across Kharkiv, whose citizens endured multiple occupations and atrocities. Kharkiv is a cultural and political center of Ukraine's east; its citizens have proven central to the 2004 Orange Revolution and the protests that began in fall 2013. Today Kharkiv is, in a sense, on the balcony of war once again, as a transit point for internally displaced people from conflict areas and combatants returning from the frontlines. Kharkiv is an ideal city to examine the dynamics and consequences of war and violent conflict in socialist and post-socialist societies.


One week, July 3-9. Departure from Kyiv on July 3, first day of work July 4, last day of work July 9.

Participants must attend the school for the entire week.


The Summer School is open to PhD students (or students enrolled in a kandidat nauk program) and young researchers (up to six years removed from their PhD or kandidat nauk degree). Proposals strong on theory and empirical research are particularly welcome. The working language of the Summer School is English. Participants must be comfortable working in English.

Program Costs

There is no program fee. The organizers will cover accommodation, meals, workshops and all excursions. The participants (or their institutions) must pay travel expenses from their home country to Kyiv; the transfer from Kyiv to Kharkiv will be covered.


To be considered for the Summer School, candidates must complete an application form (including a 500 word research project presentation) and send a CV. They may also send an additional written sample, such as a conference paper, a dissertation chapter, or a publication (optional).

Step 1 : Complete the application form online. We advise you to prepare the research project presentation in advance and to copy/paste it.

Step 2 : Send your CV and additional documents to ukrainesummerschool@gmail.com. Please don't forget to clearly mention your name in the subject line of the message.

Deadline for application is 15 April 2016.

The application will be reviewed by an evaluation committee and you will be notified of the results by email.

Click here for a printer-friendly version, or request it by email at ukrainesummerschool@gmail.com.

Photo : Commémorations de la Grande Guerre patriotique à la Forteresse de Brest (Biélorussie), 2014.