"This volume Freedom Taking Place: War, Women, and Culture at the Intersection of Ukraine, Poland and Belarus, Ed. Jessica Zychowicz (Vernon Press, 2023) presents in-depth analyses of the extraordinary challenges faced by women in Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. The authors show women of Eastern Europe as core agents of social change behind historic movements, including the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, anti-state protests in Belarus in 2021-22, and the 'Black Protests' in Poland. This collection is a must-read for scholars and students of women’s rights and Eastern Europe, as it analyzes the interplay between war and feminism, identity and reproductive rights, violence against women, and gender equality in a fast-changing part of the world."
Prof. Dr. Sophia Wilson
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
President, American Association for Ukrainian Studies
"Freedom Taking Place: War, Women and Culture at the Intersection of Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus is a compelling and original collection. The richness of the sources and the interdisciplinary nature of the methodology is very impressive. [...] The reflection on self-positionality and opening a conversation about the work on the intersection of activism and academic commitment is long overdue in East European studies. I am convinced that this book can become a very strong addition to many courses on Eastern Europe, and feminism as well as courses on art history and gender studies. [...] This book will be a great and important accomplishment."
Prof. Anna Muller, Frank and Mary Padzieski Endowed Professor in Polish/Polish American/Eastern European Studies, Assistant Professor of History, University Michigan.
Portrait by Oksana Briukhovetska, 2021
Edited and with an Introduction by Jessica Zychowicz (Vernon Press, 2023).
AUTHORS: Oksana Briukhovetska (Secondary Archive.org), Magdalena Furmanik-Kowalska (The Polish Institute of World Art Studies, Poland; Fundacja Art & Modern), Małgorzata Jankowska (Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, Poland), Olga Plakhotnik (Ethnology Institute of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; University of Greifswald, Germany), Maria Mayerchyk (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; University of Greifswald, Germany), Svitlana Biedarieva (Kennan Institute Wilson Center George Washington University), Kateryna Iakovlenko (Suspilne.media; UCL SSEES), Joanna Dobkowska-Kubacka (University of Łódź, Poland), Veronica Laputska (Graduate School for Social Research, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences), Antonina Stebur (Spaika.media; The International Coalition of Cultural Workers Against the War in Ukraine; Universität der Künste Berlin, Germany; European College of Liberal Art, Minsk, Belarus), Nataliya Tchermalykh (University of Geneva, Switzerland), Jessica Zychowicz (Fulbright Ukraine; Institute of International Education Kyiv office), Agnieszka Graff (American Studies Center, Warsaw University), Natallia Paulovich (Independent Researcher, Warsaw, Poland), Iryna Shuvalova (University of Oslo, Norway).
SUMMARY: Freedom as a concept shifts with different forms of expression. As the authors of this volume convey in their focus on 'freedom of expression', the idea of 'freedom' in the twenty-first century does not stand apart as a purely physical location marked by national borders. In the Internet Age information is increasingly co-determinate of physical freedom. The information-dense space of the protests of 2021, and beyond, provide soil for the intellectuals writing in this volume to reflect on women’s agency in struggles for human rights.
Where historical discourse on “The Woman Question” once conflicted with “feminism” as a perceived importation from the West, this conflict also produced productive tensions that have provided ongoing sites for research. When closely studied, these contexts can deepen global concepts of democracy and justice, providing not only pathways for acts of solidarity and mutual assistance, but intellectual depth and breadth for the future 'ways of knowing', and thus ways of creating, more equitable post-conflict power systems and citizenship amid times of revolution and war. Coming from multiple generations, gender identities, nationalities, and languages; the authors in this volume represent the most forward-thinking voices and figures working on gender in the region today.
SELECTED PRAISE: "Freedom Taking Place: War, Women and Culture at the Intersection of Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus is a compelling and original collection. The richness of the sources and the interdisciplinary nature of the methodology is very impressive. [...] The reflection on self-positionality and opening a conversation about the work on the intersection of activism and academic commitment is long overdue in East European studies. I am convinced that this book can become a very strong addition to many courses on Eastern Europe, and feminism as well as courses on art history and gender studies. [...] This book will be a great and important accomplishment."
- Prof. Anna Muller, Frank and Mary Padzieski Endowed Professor in Polish/Polish American/Eastern European Studies, Assistant Professor of History, University Michigan.
COVER IMAGE: from the series called "Drawing on Maidan" (2013) by the contemporary Ukrainian artist Lesia Khomenko. Khomenko had sketched many faces of people she saw on the Maidan in 2013 on sheets of paper over a carbon block. The many papers with individual portraits are also part of the series, but what you see here is the residual carbon block, which becomes a palimpsest of hundreds of faces. This particular series of works by Khomenko is kept at the Revolution of Dignity Museum in Kyiv.
PEACE & CONFLICT STUDIES
WOMEN & GENDER STUDIES
UKRAINE, POLAND, BELARUS
I am currently Director of Fulbright Ukraine and
For a recent press overview of the history of IIE since 1919 in light of current events, see here.
For ways to locate help for individuals or institutions impacted by the ongoing war, please get in touch through this site, or at above links. Additional resources are compiled here.
My recent monograph about Ukraine has won several awards including the 2022 American Association of Ukrainian Studies Book Prize, the MLA Slavic Studies Prize Honorable Mention, and the Omeljan Pritsak Prize Honorable Mention at ASEEES for Ukraine Studies given by Harvard. The academic research forum at Krytyka Press that I co-founded with two colleagues won Ukraine's Ministry Foreign Affairs' Ivan Lysiak Rudnycky Inaugural Award for
Ukrainian Studies and Cultural Diplomacy in 2020.
I completed my doctorate at the University of Michigan in Slavic Studies/REEES focused on Poland and Ukraine relations, visual culture, historiography, and gender. Among other research positions, I have been a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in REES Area Studies to Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (2017-18). I was also a Fellow at Univ. of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs (2015-2016), where I designed and hosted a conference about the beginning of the war in Ukraine featuring firsthand knowledge about the conflict from U.S. and Ukrainian and Canadian anthropologists and historians, entitled:
From 2018-2021 I was a Visiting Scholar on the Stasiuk Research Fellowship at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at Univ. of Alberta. I was also in residence as a Visiting Scholar in Fall 2019 at Institute for Russian and East European Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden.
I was born in the U.S. My ancestors arrived at Ellis Island in 1890-1910 from Eastern Europe ("Ruthenia" and Poland), from Ireland, and from Germany. My great-grandfathers were tailors and grocers. Both of my grandfathers were in the U.S. Navy in WWII: one guarded the Pacific Front by air and the other fought the Axis in Italy. In the postwar era my grandparents continued to support Europe from the U.S. They helped Poland's Solidarity Movement, dissidents defecting from the USSR, escapees of the GULAG, Holocaust survivors, and others.
Democracy was the language of both of my grandmothers who raised many children and educated them all, even though they, like many women of their own generation, were not able to attend university themselves. They inspire my work most of all.
I learned Ukrainian and Polish as an adult, and Spanish from early childhood. English is my native language.
Several cultures, religions, and nationalities
are woven into the fabric of my life.
SUPERFLUOUS WOMEN, ZYCHOWICZ
MLA: Modern Language Association Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Slavic Languages & Literatures Honorable Mention 2021. (This book is the first title pertaining to Ukraine to win this award in any category since the prize began in 1996).
ASEEES: Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Harvard Omelijan Pritsak Prize for Ukrainian Studies Honorable Mention 2021.
by Jessica Zychowicz
(University of Toronto Press 2020)
New Edition in Poland, Kobiety zbędne: Sztuka, feminizm, i rewolucja w Ukrainie XXI wieku,
2023 on Museum of Modern Art Warsaw & Karakter Press Kraków.
New Edition in Ukraine, Forthcoming 2024 on ArtHuss Press with Revolution of Dignity
Author Interview on Receiving the Book Prize for Slavic Studies at MLA: Modern Languages Association and ASEEES: Association for Slavic, E European, Eurasian Studies. 2021, here.
See among "10 Books for Understanding Ukraine" here.
MLA: Modern Language Association Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Slavic Languages & Literatures Honorable Mention 2021, here. (This book is the first title pertaining to Ukraine to win this award in any category since the prize began in 1996).
ASEEES: Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Harvard Omelijan Pritsak Prize for Ukrainian Studies Honorable Mention 2021, here.
Shevchenko Scientific Society of Canada book grant, 2019.
Canadian Society of Ukrainian Studies book grant, 2019.
Research grants and fellowships from: U-Michigan IRWG; U-Toronto Munk School; U-Alberta . . .
Mayhill C. Fowler for The Russian Review 80 (4) October 2021. here.
Halyna Kohut for Die Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte [Journal of Art History] (85) 2022: 569-73. here
Irina Genova at New Bulgarian University, Institute of Art Studies, Sofia for ASPASIA: The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History. Vol. 15 (1), 2021, pp. 205-207. here.
For more information about this book please see under "Publications."
Jessica Zychowicz, "Artistic Method in Early Civic Documentations of the Ukraine-Russia War," in
This peer-reviewed academic resource features several international experts with decades of research specializing
on the past 20-25 years spanning 10 Post-Soviet countries. The investigative and critical approaches proceed
under the aegis of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Human Rights and Gender Equality.
Ann-mari Sätre, Professor in Eurasian Studies and Director of Research
at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden.
Yulia Gradskova, Associate Professor of History and Research Coordinator
at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies at Södertörn University, Sweden.
Vladislava Vladimirova, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology
at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology,
Uppsala University, Sweden.
This volume explores how different post-Soviet countries have reinterpreted and diverged from the Soviet gender roles and values. It synthesizes results from multiple empirical studies that attend to increasingly conservative features of political governance in the region, particularly the authoritarian regime in Russia. The authors consider diverse enactments of ideologies, policies and practices of gender equality and women's rights in crucial areas, such as legislative institutions, media, and social activism. The volume contributes to understanding post-Soviet societal dynamics relevant to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, which emphasizes gender equality as part of fundamental human rights.
“Inevitably in the shadow of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the question Russia watchers will ask is where the soldiers’ mothers are who took to the streets to protest the Chechen wars. In its analysis of how the conservative turn in politics of the last two decades has undermined the steps made towards gender equality and the empowerment of women in the USSR successor states, this anthology provides some convincing answers. The story is not all gloom. The impressively researched essays, which introduce the reader to a broad range of case studies, also tell of the ways that women are fighting back within the constraints they face by an emboldened patriarchy across the region.”
--Judith Pallot, Emeritus Professor, University of Oxford, UK.
NEW INTERVIEW August 30, 2023, by Ukrainian Institute Kyiv (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
"Seven in-depth interviews were conducted in June-July 2023 by Dr. Oleksandra Gaidai, Dr. Olena Kovalenko, Victoria Kravchuk over zoom based on a prepared questionnaire. A list of participants includes: Jessica Zychowicz, Director of Institute of International Education Kyiv and Fulbright Ukraine, Natalia Otrishchenko, a sociologist and head of the Voice of Euromaidan project by Center of Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv, Anastasiia Tsisar, art curator and scholar, Iuliia Bentia, musicologist and editor of Krytka Magazine, Sofia Dyak, historian and Director of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv, Larysa Dovha, Professor of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Head of the project UCulture, Zhanna Chepela, Director and composer, Head of the Kharkiv. Culture. Fortress. project. The research was conducted within the project Lysiak-Rudnytsky Ukrainian Studies Programme of 2022/2023 implemented by the Ukrainian Institute and Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and supported by a grant from the International Renaissance Foundation. Launched in 2020 by the Ukrainian Institute, the Lysiak-Rudnytsky Ukrainian Studies Programme sees strengthening the educational compotent as one of its main objectives by makiung sources available and creating resources in English and other languages. The programme is currently completing its second edition with 11 projects supported in 2020-2023."
Opening November 28, 2023 at IMMA: Ireland Museum of Modern Art: SELF-DETERMINATION: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE stands as a significant museum-wide exhibition at IMMA and an integral part of the Decade of Centenaries programme, marking a century since the partition of Ireland and the subsequent formation of the Irish Free State in 1922.
This exhibition places a spotlight on the profound role of art and artists in shaping nation-building and statecraft. By curating an eclectic collection of Irish and International works, both modern and contemporary, the exhibition seeks to explore and illuminate the shared experiences of the new states that emerged in the aftermath of the First World War.
Chapter. "From 'The Woman Question' and 'The Ukraine Question' to Self-Determination:
Revisiting 1920s-30s Mass Politics, Revolution, and War in the Twenty-First Century."
In Self-Determination: A Global Perspective. Exhibit and Book. Dublin: IMMA Ireland Museum of Modern Art, 2023.
Keynote. Dublin at Ireland Museum of Modern Art: 100 Years of Self-Determination. Centennial of the Irish Revolution. Conference.
"A Transatlantic View of Revolution and War in the Twenty-First Century." Link to recording of the presentation.
NewsNet: News for the Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies v. 63 no. 2:
"Curating the War: A Conversation with Jessica Zychowicz and Grace Mahoney." March 2023. Link here.
PULP! Interview: " 'I HAVE A CRISIS FOR YOU': WOMEN ARTISTS OF UKRAINE RESPOND TO WAR' ACTS AS AN ARCHIVE OF WITNESS AND RESPONSE"
by Natalia Holtzman, Thursday, February 16, 2023. LINK HERE.
Interview. Sophie Schmäing at Berlin ZOis and Prisma Ukraina, "Photographers are very eloquent speakers":
A Conversation with Jessica Zychowicz and Mariia Kravchenko on the Exhibition Ukraine: War and Resistance.
Ukraine: War and Resistance
Exhibition of American and Ukrainian Photographers of the Russia-Ukraine war
Versions of this exhibition have been shown at 10 locations across the U.S. and Ukraine and also in Berlin. Location s include: Vynnitsia City Museum in Ukraine; U-Minnesota; University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Center for Media at Risk; MichiganTech; U-Iowa. Upcoming in San Francisco, and Berlin in partnership with Fulbright Germany.
This exhibit presents the works of renown authors, photographers, journalists: JT Blatty, Alexey (Oleksii) Furman, Brendan Hoffman, Serhii Korovayny, Oksana Parafeniuk, Joseph Sywenkyj, and Emine Ziyatdinova. The images by these individuals have appeared in media worldwide and continue to inform how people understand the Russia-Ukraine war; the images within this exhibit were shown for the first time in Ukraine, during autumn 2022 at the Museum of the City of Vinnytsia. Now, in 2023, both the geography and meaning of the exhibition continue to expand because the themes and plots within these works have become increasingly critical. Thanks to the joint initiative of the Fulbright Academic Exchange Program in Ukraine, the Institute of International Education, and several partnering host institutions, the photo exhibition Ukraine: War and Resistance continues to travel.
Panelist. "Solidarity with Ukraine: Scholars at Risk." IIE & Poland National Academy of Sciences. NAFSA Conference. Washington, D.C. May 2023.
Panelist. "Overview of the SUDUS Project since 2018: Strengthening Ukraine's Displaced Universities Sustainability" with Project Lead Serhiy Zaitsev.
Conference title: Education Disrupted! Universities in a Time of War! Co-organized by Redlands University, Kyiv National Economics
University, and University of Economics Bratislava. February 23, 2023.
Panelist. "Ukrainian Women and the War" with Dr. Cynthia Buckley, Dr. Marta Havryshko, Dr. Oksana Kis. Hosted virtually by the
Romanoff Center for Russian Studies, the Dept. of International & Area Studies, and the Dept. of Women's and Gender Studies
at the University of Oklahoma. Organized by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies Annual Panel Series.
February 16, 2023. Link here.
Keynote Speaker in-person in Dublin at Ireland Museum of Modern Art: 100 Years of Self-Determination, November 9, 10, 11, 2023.
Chief Editor and contributing author. Peer-reviewed anthology featuring fifteen scholars. Due out early 2023.
Chapter. " 'As Never Before': The Body and Revolution in the Ukrainian Worlds of Natalka Husar and Lesia Khomenko" in
UKRAINIAN CANADIAN VISUAL ART, Eds. John-Paul Himka and
Co-Editor, Special Issue of East West Journal of Ukrainian Studies Vol. 9 No. 2 (2022): "Odesa's Many Frontiers" University of Alberta.
For more, see under "Publications" and "Talks & Presentations."
Ukraine: War and Resistance: Fulbright Stories from the Unfinished War
Catherina Lisovenko, 2022
Visual Art Exhibition & Public Program with Roundtable, International Institute-CREEES University of Michigan
"Women Artists of Ukraine Respond to War"
Curators: Dr. Jessica Zychowicz & Grace Mahoney. Featuring original works by 10 established Ukrainian women artists created during 2022 after the large-scale invasion of Ukraine. Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG) Lane Gallery August 25 - December 31 2022 & International Institute January - April 2023 at UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN.
Title Image: Ukraine Will Resist by Kinder Album (2022). Announcement.
Date: September 16, 2022; 3:30-5:00pm ET Location: 1010 Weiser Hall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Presenters and Co-Curators: Jessica Zychowicz and Grace Mahoney
Co-sponsors: Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Department of Slavic Languages and Literature Department of Women's Studies and Gender Studies Institute for Research on Women and Gender Museum Studies Program Weiser Center for Europe & Eurasia Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies.
Conference. June 2022.
Co-organizers: Warsaw University, Fulbright Ukraine; Ivano-Frankivsk University
"Ucrainicum" 26th Annual Summer School, Greifswald, Germany, August 2022
Keynote Opening Lecture. Ireland Museum of Modern Art Summer School 2022.
"From a War of Images to an Image of War: Artistic Representation in Poland & Ukraine 2000s to Today."
Panelist. War as a Catalyst for the Transformation of Ukrainian Identity
Opening Lecture of the Series. "From the Revolution of Dignity to War: Critical Art Practices and Gender in Ukraine since 2013," J. Zychowicz. University of Dresden. Lecture Series, Doing Gender in Eastern European Art