Peter and Doris Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Centre: Achievements amid mixed emotions

6 February 2020

The unexpected passing on 18 January 2019 of our long-time CIUS colleague and friend Andrij Makuch obviously had a huge impact on the Kule Centre's work in the field of Ukrainian Canadian studies. Nevertheless, much was accomplished over the course of the 2018/19 academic year, and the KUCSC will continue to honour Andrij's memory through its unwavering commitment to conducting and disseminating research on Ukrainians in Canada and the worldwide Ukrainian diaspora.

While serving as the director of CIUS, the Kule Centre's coordinator, Jars Balan, made time in his demanding schedule to pursue some of his own projects and interests in the realm of Ukrainian-Canadian studies. In particular it was his ongoing work on the Canadian journalist Rhea Clyman-who reported on the early stages of Ukraine's Great Famine-that attracted the greatest academic and public attention. As a result, Balan was invited to speak about her at two symposia: "Women and the Holodomor-Genocide: Victims, Survivors, Perpetrators," held at California State Univ., Fresno, on 5 October 2018; and "Holodomor: Les Témoins. La Grande famine en Ukraine 1932-1933, Colloque international," sponsored by the Centre de recherches Europes-Eurasie, and the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, held in Paris on 9 November 2018.

At the same time, a documentary film titled Hunger for Truth: The Rhea Clyman Story, which utilized Balan's research, was screened in Toronto, London (UK), Philadelphia, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco. The Canadian film premiere of Hunger For Truth: The Rhea Clyman Story can be viewed at:

At the 2018 Canadian Association of Slavists conference, held on 26-28 May at the Univ. of Regina, Balan delivered a paper titled "An unorthodox prehistory of the 1918 formation of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada," while Andrij Makuch spoke on "The early years of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA." On 21-22 June, he and Serge Cipko presented papers at the inaugural "Ukraine-Canada Scholarly and Practical Congress on Canadian Studies" held at the Lutsk Lesia Ukrainka National Univ. of Eastern Europe, co-organized by CIUS. Balan subsequently took part in a panel at the International Congress of Ukrainian Studies in Kyiv, also in June, addressing the role that Ukrainians played in championing Canadian multiculturalism.

In the meantime, the Kule Centre initiated and oversaw various other undertakings devoted to shedding light on the Ukrainian experience in Canada. One notable endeavour involved KUCSC obtaining copies of more than eighty-five lists (totaling some 1,700 pages) of Austro-Hungarian citizens, many of them Ukrainians, imprisoned in Canadian internment camps during the First World War. Compiled by officials with the American Red Cross, they provide invaluable details about those who were incarcerated by the Canadian state as "enemy aliens" under the provisions of the War Measures Act. Copies of the files have already been provided to several scholars working on the internment topic, and are available to others.

Considerable progress was likewise made by the centre's research associate Winston Gereluk on writing up a labour history of Ukrainians in Alberta. Gereluk gave several talks on some of his findings, and presented a paper at the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike Centenary Conference, "Building a Better World: 1919-2019," held on 9-11 May 2019 at the Univ. of Winnipeg. So as to facilitate Gereluk's work and to generate research on Ukrainian Canadian community life during the Second World War, two independent scholars were contracted to survey select years of the newspapers Kanadiis'kyi farmer / Canadian Farmer and Novyi shliakh / New Pathway.

Finally, thanks to seed funding from the Kule Institute for Advanced Studies, the KUCSC successfully completed a pilot project to create a sophisticated website devoted to providing demographic data concerning Ukrainians in Canada, with interactive maps and charts. Working under the guidance of Dr. Gillian Stevens of the Univ. of Alberta's Department Sociology and Professor Emeritus Oleh Wolowyna of the Univ. of North Carolina, Dr. Svitlana Poliakova of the NASU Ptoukha Institute of Demography and Social Studies was able to produce a preliminary interactive website showcasing various statistical aspects of the Ukrainian presence in Canada.

Last but not least, KUCSC associate Dr. Cipko, who simultaneously serves as the CIUS assistant director for research, has continued his work as coordinator of the Ukrainian Diaspora Studies Initiative (UDSI) and its periodical news compilation "Ukrainians Abroad." As well, his book Ukrainians in Argentina, 1897-1950: The Making of a Community (CIUS Press, 2011) was published in a Spanish-language edition as Los ucranianos en la Argentina: La formación de la colectividad 1897-1950 (Buenos Aires: Editorial Antigua, 2018). Cipko was present at launches of the latter in Buenos Aires and Apóstoles, Argentina