Ukraina Moderna academic website

The Ukraina Moderna website serves as a virtual forum for professional historians and researchers from other fields in the social sciences and humanities, for the presentation and discussion of topics and issues at the intersection of history, historical sciences, and current socio-political events, phenomena, and processes in Ukraine.

Ukraina Moderna was initiated as a site in April 2011 to partner with the annual Ukraina Moderna journal. The website operates thanks to grant support as part of the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Modern Ukrainian History and Society under the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta, jointly with the Ivan Franko National University and Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, as well as charitable donations from benefactors. The first scholarly editor of the site was Yulia Kysla (April 2011–June 2013), followed by Gelinada Grinchenko (July 2013–September 2014). From October 2014 to August 2020 the editor-in-chief of the site was Оksana Kis. At various times there have been a number of research associates steering the work in the different departments of the Ukraina Moderna website: in “Historical Biographies”—Svitlana Odynets (August 2016–August 2017), Маrta Havryshkо (since September 2017), and Oleh Hrynchuk (since November 2017; also assistant editor-in-chief); Іryna Starovojt in “(De)Constructing Memory” (September 2016–June 2018); and Іvanna Cherchovych as assistant editor-in-chief (August 2017–August 2020). A new website team rotated in after summer 2020, and as of September 2020 the duties of editor-in-chief have been fulfilled by Oksana Ovsiiuk; Yuliia Pivtorak is the assistant editor-in-chief and Petro Dolhanov is editor in the “(De)Constructing Memory” department.

The mission of Ukraina Moderna is to develop lively open debates about Ukraine's past and present, to encourage critical thinking about its history, to uphold intellectual freedom and diversity of opinions regarding the past, to expand the historiographic horizons of Ukrainian scholarship, to foster a productive environment (network) of researchers based on contemporary approaches to history writing, and to promote the integration of Ukrainian historical research into the global academe.

For its publications the site favours studies in the current mainstream and global historical trends, particularly those that have received comparatively little coverage in Ukrainian historiography—social history, everyday life histories, oral history, cultural history, women’s history, historical memory studies, historical anthropology, history of religion, and others. In terms of chronology, the articles on the site mainly span the modern period, from the mid-19th century to the present day. During this time, Ukrainians underwent multiple profound transformations in various spheres of life that are open to various interpretations and the analysis of which has provoked bitter polemics. The editorial board refrains from publishing overtly provocative, aggressive, emotionally coloured, or ideologically loaded timely material on topics that have become overly politicized or targeted for political speculation.

The authors on the Ukraina Moderna (UM) website include specialists in various areas of the social sciences and humanities, whose research is located at the intersection of various sciences and features interdisciplinarity. Besides historians, UM publishes research by sociologists, cultural scientists, comparative literature specialists, anthropologists, ethnologists, folklorists, art historians, religious studies specialists, urban studies specialists, political scientists, and other scholars whose research has a certain historical dimension (applies to historical subjects in the broad sense). This kind of transdisciplinarity allows for the enrichment of the field of history, showing the heuristic potential of applying theoretical approaches and methodological tools from allied disciplines, promoting an openness to interpretive models and a critical attitude to historical courses, improving the investigation of complex topics, and providing a multidimensional perspective to historical phenomena, events, and personalities from the past. The authors on the site are scholars of varying ages and research experience, representing various regions of Ukraine as well as Ukrainianists abroad. Nearly one-third of the research texts on the UM site are being published for the first time, and nearly one-quarter of the academic articles are translated from foreign languages.

In terms of structure, the website comprises two main blocks. The horizontal menu contains tabs representing the annual Ukraina Moderna journal, namely: About (general information about the publication), Current Issue (contents and annotations on the current issue), For Authors (guidelines for submitting texts), Upcoming Issues (notices concerning future thematic issues), Journal Archive (full-text versions of all previous issues), Editorial Board (information about the journal and website’s editorial board), and Books for Review (list of books suggested for review). By filling out a form, Journal Ordering is also possible on the site.

The vertical menu provides access to a virtual “Historian’s Desk,” including the Ukraina Moderna site’s main departments, which are regularly populated and updated. The departments (“rubrics”) present original scholarly research (articles, book excerpts in “Briefcase”, bimonthly), personal reflections of scholars on topical historical themes (personal blogs in the “Thinking Out Loud” department), new approaches to the study of historical memory (“(De)Constructing Memory”), and intellectual biographical interviews with prominent historians (“Historical Biographies”; оnе interview per month). The “Notes” department presents reviews of milestone academic events, memoirs, and polemical materials, and criticism.

In addition, a series of informational rubrics allow researchers to receive timely notice of future scholarly forums (conferences, seminars, congresses, exhibitions in the “Events Calendar” and “Desktop”) and additional resources for academic research (fellowships, grants, stipends, and summer schools in “Development Prospects”), which permit effective professional development and active integration into the international scholarly community. The “Bookshelf” rubric focuses attention on important academic publications with a historical orientation.

Another series of rubrics fulfill the function of additional research and educational resources: “Library” provides free access to full-text versions of books (posted with author permission); “Videos” present a selection of video recordings of leading scholars on current topics (lectures, discussions, interviews, and speeches—with permission of the presenters); “Documents” include samples of unique historical documents, with expert commentary by the researchers who discovered and studied them; and the content of “History Lesson” is designated for history teachers and lecturers, including helpful custom methodological and teaching materials (with author permission).

In 2014 the site underwent a comprehensive technical modernization and transfer to a new Internet platform; all the important functions were adjusted, departments were formed, and the site’s structural and functional changes made it more convenient for users. During 2014–15 a gradual increase was observed in the number of visitors to the site, and since 2016 the daily stream of readers has numbered 800–900 visitors. In 2018 the registered number of visits to the site was 265,500. Under the quarantine conditions due to the Covid-19 epidemic, reader interest increased dramatically; in April 2020 visits to the site reached nearly 38,000 for the month. A supplementary tool to support reader interest and to inform readers about new publications is the “Ukraina Moderna” Facebook page, which has grown from 260 members in October 2014 to over 5,500 members in July 2020.

Compiled by Oksana Kis