dr. Oksana Dudko

  • Posted on: 13 September 2015
  • By: marijke
About the participant: 

Historian, Ph.D. (2011). Defended a dissertation on international relations in the social and political thought of Ukrainians in Galicia at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

She graduated from the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (with a major in world history). Holds a master’s degree in history (2005). She studied at the certificate program of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Ukrainian Catholic University (2008), an intensive program "Text, Memory, and History" at the University of Stavanger, Norway (2013). She interned at the University of Warsaw and the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012). Oksana participated in several international research projects on the history of World War I, as part of which she conducts research on the cultural and social history of Lviv (1914-1918).

At the Center, she manages the project Lviv Interactive. She teaches the course "The First World War: Between Historiography and Anniversaries" at the Ukrainian Catholic University.

She is a program curator for theater projects, including for the Drama.UA Festival of Contemporary Drama and the First Stage of Contemporary Drama in Lviv.

Her research interests include World War I, the social and cultural history of the twentieth century, the history of theater and theater management, contemporary political and critical theater in East Central Europe.

Title of lecture: 
Art, Death, and Survival: Ukrainian Theatre Artists in the Great War (1914–1918)

The First World War brought unprecedented experiences to civilian life, not only in the area of warfare but also on the home front. Hardly any sphere of life was left untouched by war, especially in Galicia, the easternmost province of the Habsburg Empire, a region of shifting enemy occupation, battles, entrenched warfare, and ongoing civil wars lasting years beyond the signing of the peace treaty at Verseilles.

My paper examines wartime theater, urban culture, and entertainment in the Habsburgian city of Lviv (known also as Lembeg in German and Yiddish, Lwów in Polish, and Lvov in Russian), a place that by the turn of the 20th century had not only experienced the creation of a modern architectural matrix for culture and entartainment, but was also the home of burgeoning national cultures, including national theater traditions: Ukrainian, Polish, and Jewish.

My paper aim is to scrutinize the living strategies of Ukrainian theater professionals in Eastern Galicia during the Great war. My first focus will be on the biographies of selected artists who used to perform in the main city theaters before the war and were appearing as actors in city’s cabarets as the war started. Also I will look at cases where artists left the stage and completely changed their work during the war. Furthermore I will focus on artists who were mobilized and, at the same time, continued to perform. My aim is to determine the challenges created by the war, and examine the process of artists’ adaptation to wartime and occupation realities. It is important to examine artists’ opinions both on the role of culture at war and on their place as artists in it. Furthermore, I will gain a more nuanced view on questions of patriotism and propaganda, and on the attempts to create different variants of patriotic culture.