a professor of history of Slavonic studies at the University of Victoria, a head of the Association of Ukrainian Studies in Canada.
Spatial History: A Ukrainian Perspective
The development of spatial approach in Ukrainian historiography, starting from the 1920s and its revival in the 2000s, is discussed in the article. Recently the new field of spatial history has become popular in Western social science. It is based on the ideas of the French sociologist Henri Lefebvre and his followers, who have proposed a vision of landscape as locked in a complex interaction with society. The development of geolocation technology has also resulted into the creation of new methods of space investigation and the social processes visualizing. However, the newest spatial history has deep roots in Ukrainian science. Its traditional topics, like the significance of the Dnipro as part of the road from the Varangians to Greeks, the importance of the steppe for the Cossacks development or the settlement of the Ukrainian South in the XIX century have already contained a considerable component of spatial studies. It is usually thought that until the mid-XXth century the studies of historical space have been marked with the geographical determinism signet and then are only of limited value today. The author demonstrates instead that already during the times of Mykhailo Hrushevskyi a spatial approach to the history of the Ukrainian South has contained the seeds of new concepts. An innovatory vision of this region has been used to deconstruct Russian imperialist sight of the Ukrainian past and the present time. Although the Stalinist repressions have ceased the development of this trend in Ukrainian scholarship, it is resumed in independent Ukraine, this time under the influence of Western concepts, but practically from the same place where Hrushevskyi and his collaborators stopped. The author proves that the long tradition of regional studies and the current interest in urban studies also contribute to the development of spatial history in Ukraine. He proposes a research agenda for this field and offers several examples of the spatial approach application to topical issues of Ukrainian Humanities.
Spatial history, Ukraine, Ukrainian South, Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, regional studies, urban studies, geolocation.
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