Huculak Chair

The Huculak Chair in Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography is an endowed professorial position at the University of Alberta, made possible by a major donation from Erast and Lydia Huculak as well as other donors. The work undertaken by the Huculak Chair is inspired by and follows the vision and the philosophy of the Chair founder, Mr. Huculak, "Help others, and that goodwill will return to you a hundredfold." (My Wooden Suitcase - A Memoir, Dr. Huculak).


Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen, as a Huculak Chair, continues to advance the Chair's mission through her work.

Read more about Natalia Khanenko-Friesen’s work as Huculak Chair in this interview.

Dr. Khanenko-Friesen is a cultural anthropologist and oral historian, professor in the Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Department, and the Director of Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies 





Witnessing the War in Ukraine: Oral History and Interview-Based Research. Summer Institute

Read More Here

365 Days: Oral History of the War

Read More Here



Updates from the Huculak Chair 

 March 2023

In the spring of 2023, Natalia launched a new oral history project to document experiences of the Ukrainians fleeing the war and arriving to Canada under the CUAET visa. A community-based project, "Ukrainian Displaced Persons in Canada and Alberta: Making Home in Times of War" will gather testimonies from the recent arrivees and will focus on the ways displaced families and individuals seek to reestablish themselves in Alberta. The application for REB is under way as well as training of members of the interviewing team.

On February 9, 2023, Natalia hosted and moderated a session "Rebuilding Ukraine: Truth and Justice" organized by Harvard University and Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program at HURI as a part of the international symposium "Rebuilding Ukraine, Rebuilding the World" (February 8-10, 2023, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA). "Truth and Justice" panel started by addressing transitional justice and its gradual implementation in Ukraine including the work focusing on extensive gathering of war testimonies.

On February 24, 2023, Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen hosted a workshop "Witnessing the Unfinished War: Current Practices of Self-Reflection and Their Impact on Ukrainian Culture" in the international symposium  "Language, Media, Culture, Literature, and the War: Constructions, Representations, and Responses" in Hannover, Germany. The 3 hour workshop focused on analyzing current practices of reflecting on and responding to war experiences, ranging from trauma and destruction to perseverance and resilience. Dr. Khanenko-Friesen delivered this workshop with Dr. Gelinada Grinchenko, Editor-in-Chief of Ukraina Moderna and Co-chair of the German Ukrainian Historians Commission.

On December 1, Natalia presented in the round table devoted to the launch of the special issue of Ukraina Moderna (Vol 31 2022) Ukrainians Abroad: From Emigration to Diaspora, hosted by the Journal.  

In December 2022, she developed a research proposal for the project Making Home in Times of Peace and War: Ukrainian Displaced Persons in Canada”. In April 2023, the project received final approval from the UAlberta Research Ethics Board. Interviewing currently is on its way in Alberta. CUAET visa holders Alla Vashchenko and CIUS visiting scholar Dr. Taras Lupul joined Natalia as members of the research team.  Stay tuned for more updates concerning the work of this important project. The work pursued by our team will  also be as a contribution to a large European project titled MaHoMe: Making it Home: An Aesthetic Methodological Contribution to the Study of Migrant Home-Making and Politics of Integration (

Additionally, Natalia is a successful co-applicant for the SSHRC grant in support of another Ukrainian displaced persons related project Ukrainian Displaced Youth in Canada Post2022: Documenting Resiliency initiated out of the Dalhousie University. 

On November 10-13, 2022, at the annual ASEEES conference in Chicago, Natalia presented her ongoing research in the panel devoted to the KuFC project Confiscated Letters, with the paper “A third party to a family letter: Diaspora, Homeland and the KGB in the Ukrainian family correspondence across the Atlantic.”

Dr. Khanenko-Friesen took part in the publication project of Ukraine’s seminal oral history study by William Noll Transformation of Civil Society: Oral History of Ukrainian Rural Culture of the 1920-30s. A creator of the online archives and exhibit of the interviews on which the book is based, Natalia wrote an introduction to the English edition to be published by McGuill-Queen's University Press. Natalia also just co-edited a special issue of the journal Ukraina Moderna titled “From Emigration to Diaspora: Ukrainians Abroad,” where along with Vic Satzewich she co-published an article on Post-1991 immigration to Canada.

On November 3-5, 2022, Dr. Khanenko-Friesen was invited to present the paper “From Ethnic Minorities to a Global Community: Re-Defining Ukrainian Diaspora in the Era of Post-Globalization” at a conference Ukraine in North America: Diaspora Activism, Academic Initiatives, Columbia University, New York.

On October 29, 2022, Natalia was invited to present in the workshop The Future of Slavic Studies in the Post-War Context, at the UCC Triennial Congress in Winnipeg.

On 27 October, Dr. Khanenko-Friesen initiated and hosted an online round table on the current global Ukrainian refugee crisis, The Human Toll of a War: Comparative Perspectives on Displacement, Resettlement, and Emigration of Ukrainians in the 20th and 21st Centuries. The round table was part of the International Seminar Series Historians and the War: Rethinking the Future.

On October 5, 2022, on the invitation of Canada’s prime Centre for Oral History and Tradition (COHT) at the U of Lethbridge, Natalia visited Lethbridge to deliver two invited presentations Oral History and Moral Responsibility: Working as a Ukrainianist Towards Truth and Reconciliation and What Stories Can Do: Oral History, Storytelling and Decollectivization in Ukraine.

On September 29, 2022, Dr. Khanenko-Friesen delivered a keynote presentation during the book launch of The Extraordinary Lives of Ukrainian-Canadian Women (ed. Iroida Wynnyckyj. CIUS, Press 2022). This oral history is arguably one of the most important publications in the field of Ukrainian Canadian history of the last decade, and Natalia was pleased to be invited to discuss this book in Toronto.

In the fall of 2022, Dr. Khanenko Friesen also taught a course SLAV 320 Early Ukrainian Canadian Culture.

In July 2022, in collaboration with five international partners, Dr. Khanenko-Friesen initiated and organized the inaugural Witnessing the War in Ukraine Summer Institute “Oral History and Interview-Based Research”. The Institute was held in Krakow, Poland (July 15-19, 2022). 12 globally recognized key voices in oral history and 35 participants from around the world mastered fieldwork methodologies of interview-based research in the context of the ongoing war on Ukraine. In Krakow, Natalia also presented in the panel Surviving War and Researching Its Tragedy: Ethics, Responsibility and Representation in Oral History of Unfolding Trauma, and co-hosted a seminar Designing Research, Formulating Objectives, and Asking Questions


Other Updates:

Huculak Chair Report: December 2022