Ambiguities of the Ukrainian Women's Experiences of the Holodomor 1932-33: Victimhood, Agency, Perpetration

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Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Monday, December 3, 20184:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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Although the tragedy of the Holodomor (the Great Famine) of 1932-33 figures prominently in public discourse and scholarship in Ukraine today, its gender dimension remains understudied. This talk is based predominantly on an analysis of personal narratives of female survivors of the Holodomor, which allows exploring peculiarities and controversies of women’s experiences of survival under the genocidal circumstances. It focuses on women’s coping strategies and life-saving practices under conditions of total starvation. It also exposes a spectrum of women’s agency aimed to protect family possessions and food supplies from violent expropriations by authorities. The social characteristics, motivations, and roles of local female perpetrators of the famine will be discussed as well.

Dr. Oksana Kis is a historian and anthropologist, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (in Lviv). She obtained her academic degree “kandydat nauk” (Ph.D. equivalent) from Ivan Krypyakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 2002. In April 2018, she completed her habilitation (“doctor nauk” degree). Since 2010, Dr. Kis has served as a President of the Ukrainian Association for Research in Women’s History. She is also a co-founder and a vice-president of the Ukrainian Oral History Association. Oksana Kis is an Editor-in-Chief of the academic web-site Ukraina Moderna. Her research interests include women’s history, feminist anthropology, oral history, and gender transformations in post-socialist countries. Dr. Oksana Kis will be at CERES in October-November 2018.


Olga Kesarchuk


Oksana Kis
A Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (in Lviv)

Lynne Viola
Professor of History, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine


Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

Holodomor Research and Education Consortium, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta

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