Serhiy Bilenky

Feb 5, 2024

Laboratory of Modernity

Ukraine Between Empire and Nation, 1772-1914

McGill-Queen's University Press 2023

When the powers of Europe were at their prime, present-day Ukraine was divided between the Austrian and Russian empires, each imposing different political, social, and cultural models on its subjects. This inevitably led to great diversity in the lives of its inhabitants, shaping modern Ukraine into the multiethnic country it is today. 

Making innovative use of methods of social and cultural history, gender studies, literary theory, and sociology, Laboratory of Modernity: Ukraine Between Empire and Nation, 1772-1914 (McGill-Queen's UP, 2023) explores the history of Ukraine throughout the long nineteenth century and offers a unique study of its pluralistic society, culture, and political scene. Despite being subjected to different and conflicting power models during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ukraine was not only imagined as a distinct entity with a unique culture and history but was also realized as a set of social and political institutions. The story of modern Ukraine is geopolitically complex, encompassing the historical narratives of several major communities - including ethnic Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, and Russians - who for centuries lived side by side. The first comprehensive study of nineteenth-century Ukraine in English, Laboratory of Modernity traces the historical origins of some of the most pressing issues facing Ukraine and the international community today.

Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a Preceptor in Ukrainian at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University.

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Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed

Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a Preceptor in Ukrainian at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University. She has a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures (Indiana University, 2022). She also holds a Ph.D. in American literature (Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2007). Her research interests include contested memory, with a focus on Ukraine and Russia. She is a review editor of H-Ukraine. Since 2016, she has been a host on the New Books Network (Ukrainian Studies, East European Studies, and Literary Studies channels).
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