SEE NEXT Working Group: Yaroslav Hrytsak: “Center, Periphery and the Habsburg Dilemma: The Case of Ivan Franko”

How intellectuals articulate their cultural identities depends to a great degree on whether they live  in the center or on the periphery. According to Ernest Gellner, nowhere else the conflict between different ways of identifying oneself was as acute as in the late Habsburg empire. In my talk, I explore different versions of Habsburg identities and different scenarios of living them out using the case of Ivan Franko, an intellectual from peripheral Galicia who has contributed enormously to making the modern Ukrainian identity. Regardless of his status as a Ukrainian literary icon, the repertoire of identities which he tried out in the course of his life ranged from Jewish to German to Polish, and to hybrids of those, however his final choice was made in favor of a really marginal at the time Ukrainian scenario. I place this fascinating biography in the context of Franko’s encounters with Viennese modernism of the 1890s, and explore the impact these encounters had had on his life and on Ukrainian intellectual history.

YAROSLAV HRYTSAK is Professor of History at the Ukrainian Catholic University in L’viv and at L’viv National University in Ukraine. He is a prolific scholar and influential public intellectual. Among his most recent books there are: Strasty za natsionalizmom. Isrtorychni esei (= Passions after Nationalism, Historical Essays. Kyiv, 2004); Prorok u svoyiy vitchyzni: Ivan Franko i yoho spil’nota (=Prophet in His Fatherland: Ivan Franko and His Community, Kyiv, 2006 − the best book of the 2006 year in Ukraine); Nowa Ukraina. Nowe iterpretacje (=New Ukraine. New Interpretations. Wroc?aw, 2009 in Polish); Ukraina. Przewodni Krytyki Politycznej. Z Jaros?awiem Hrycakiem rozmawia Iza Chruslinska. Wstup Adam Michnik (=Ukraine. Guidebook of Krytyka Polityczna. Gdansk-Warszawa, 2009, in Polish) and others. He is a member of the editorial boards of a number of leading journals in the field of Slavic studies, including Slavic Review, Ukraina Moderna (Lviv), Krytyka (Kyiv), Ab Imperio, and Harvard Ukrainian Studies. Professor Hrytsak directed a number of international research projects, including: “East and West of Ukraine: Comparison of Social Identities and Group Loyalties”; “A Tale of Two Cities: Ethnic and Confessional Relations on the Ukrainian-Polish Border” and “Non multum, sed multa: Reforming of History Research and Teaching in Ukraine”.

Additional 2014-2015 SEE NEXT events are posted here.

For information about the Working Group, please contact Marina Mogilner:


SEE NEXT Organizers:

Marina Mogilner,  UIC History, Edward and Marianna Thaden Chair in Russian and East European Intellectual History

Keely Stauter-Halsted, UIC History, Hejna Family Chair in Polish Studies
Colleen McQuillen, UIC Slavic & Baltic Languages and Literatures
Malgorzata Fidelis, UIC History

Jonathan Daly, UIC History

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, The Crown Family Professor Of Jewish Studies, Northwestern University