Witnessing the War in Ukraine

19 May 2022


Witnessing the War in Ukraine:

Oral History and Interview-Based Research

Summer Institute

16-19 July, 2022 - Krakow, Poland
Call for Participation

The world is in the midst of the worst and greatest war in Europe since World War Two. On 24 February 2022, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a massive and ferocious invasion of Ukraine. Fatalities and other casualties have rapidly mounted and a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented proportions has developed. As of May 2022, 5 million Ukrainian citizens have fled the war and more than 7 million are internally displaced. In response to this unfolding humanitarian trauma of massive proportions, researchers in oral history, ethnography, cultural anthropology have stepped forward and engaged in active collection of evidence.

What are the ethical implications of this ‘rapid response’ to the war? How should researchers approach fieldwork in times of continuously unfolding trauma? How do we conduct interview-based research in times of war without harming those with whom we work in the field? “War is a persistent attribute of human cultures through times”— with these words Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University opened a 5-year exhibit Arts of War (2014-2019). In Eastern Europe only, we have witnessed an entire generation of ethnographers and anthropologists working through the trauma of the Balkan Wars that plagued the region throughout the 1990s. The question of how to conduct research ethically in conflict settings was also addressed in many other contexts concerning many other wars that continue to unfold around the world outside of Europe. Sadly, it is now an urgent question facing researchers of Ukraine as well.

In the context of the ongoing war on Ukraine, the organizers of the Summer Institute offer an academic platform for a respectful and focused discussion of research needs and fieldwork challenges of interview-based research in the context of the ongoing war on Ukraine.

We invite researchers utilizing interviewing methods in their research on the unfolding war in Ukraine to join our Summer Institute for an in-depth exchange of ideas and expertise on how to do such research in ethically responsible and methodologically sound ways.


Click here for more information about the organizers, speakers, activities, application process and deadlines.