Ukraïnica: A Growing Resource for Teaching about Ukraine

The Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University (HURI), in partnership with the Ukrainian Institute,  has launched a new and expanding tool for educators and researchers to incorporate Ukraine into their courses or build new courses centered on Ukraine.

Ukraïnica: The Primary Database of Ukrainian Studies is a platform that connects a growing database of Ukrainian literary works, historical documents, and films in high-quality English translation with a syllabus-building tool for creating and exporting editable reading lists with references for primary and secondary course materials.

While the editorial team has prepared the initial data set, the growth of the platform depends entirely on the active participation of the global Ukrainian studies community, who are called on to contribute sources that are effective and helpful for teaching an English-language class about Ukraine’s history and culture. To participate in this ongoing effort, scholars can submit suggested citations directly through the website. Contributors can also help by creating modules and course syllabi on Ukraine and sharing them on the platform for easy inclusion by non-specialists in their existing courses.

The database, which already includes more than 200 primary and secondary sources, is browsable by genre, trope, period, decade, discipline, and author or film director. The individual source entries include, when possible, a bibliographic citation (Chicago Manual of Style), a short summary, and active links to online resources where the source can be directly accessed, purchased, or borrowed via a local library. The database’s search tools are available to the public, with the option to sign up for a free account that grants access to the syllabus-building feature and allows for the submission of citations.

Ukraïnica is designed to host the entire canon of Ukrainian culture, literature, and history, which will, in turn, make it possible to map out which sources are available in high-quality translation, and which are not. In the future, the database may be expanded to include sources in multiple languages.

The Ukraïnica project was envisioned and implemented by Oleh Kotsyuba, HURI Manager of Publications, who serves as the Project Director. Sandra Joy Russell, Visiting Lecturer in Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College, is the Project Editor. With this launch, the Ukraïnica team invites colleagues to join in this effort to curate a robust database of sources for the study of Ukraine. As Ukraine remains in the public eye and as Russia’s war prompts discussions of decolonizing Slavic studies and other fields, this effort to facilitate accurate representation of Ukraine in the classroom is all the more urgent.

Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University is an active academic center that supports scholarship on Ukraine as part of the University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Its activities aim to advance knowledge of Ukraine in the United States and abroad through research, teaching and publication, particularly in the fields of history, language, and literature. With Ukraine’s independence, its mission has broadened to include contemporary political, social, and economic issues.