George G. Grabowicz. Ihor Ševčenko (1922-2009)
Dmytro Shevchuk. Postpolitical unconscious
Maria Maierchyk. Without Europe, but with Morality
Tamara Martseniuk. Fear of Difference: National Aspects of Tolerance and Homophobia
Olga Karpova. History and Orthography
Artur Bracki. The European Context of the Ukrainian Language Question
Antonina Berezovenko. Sentimental Discourse and the Authority of the Word
Lesya Stavytska. The Discursive Field of the Ukrainian Marshrutka
Taras Liutyi. In Praise of Typos, Errors, Slips of the Tongue
Volodymyr Rychka. Under the Banner of the Igor Tale
Vadym Aristov. Ukraine in Search of "Rus"
Oleksandr Stepanenko. A Knight of the Order of Freedom
Tamara Hundorova. Ten Years with Solomia
Volodymyr Yermolenko. Tropic of Lévi-Strauss
Eleonora Solovei. Otar Chiladze: the Road to Mtatsmindu
Taras Vozniak. The Great Santa – Piotr Vail
The November-December 2009 issue of Krytyka opens with an obituary by Krytyka editor-in-chief, George G. Grabowicz, for Professor Ihor Ševčenko, noted Byzantinist, co-founder of the Ukrainian Research Institute of Harvard University, and member of the editorial board of Krytyka, who died on Dec. 26, 2009.
The historian and political scientist Dmytro Shevchuk of the Ostrog Academy writes on the Postpolitical unconscious in which he examines the crisis in contemporary political philosophy, sums up the arguments for and against seeing the present state of affairs as a “break with tradition” and “an end of ideology,” and postulates that the post-political moment is the one where politics is reduced to political technology and mass culture.
Two Kyiv authors, the philosopher Mykhajlo Mykhajlov and Maria Maierchyk, a specialist in gender studies, write on a subject that has been repeatedly featured in recent issues of Krytyka, i.e., the ongoing attempts to limit human rights in Ukraine under the guise of “protecting social morals.” In the first article, “Disillusioned with Reason,” Mykhailov places the role of the National Committee of Experts who have the function of defending public morality in the broader context of a general drift in Ukraine – this, despite the avowed course on integration with Europe–towards anti-modern attitudes stemming from both the communist legacy and an obscurantist ethnic nationalism. In “Without Europe, but with Morality” Maierchyk focuses on various cases of official censorship or violent responses to perceived “immorality” (such as the attacks on the Krytyka-published anthology of queer literature; cf. Krytyka 9-10, 2009) and examines the disparity between the underlying attitudes here and those that now predominate in Europe and the West. This topic is continued in “Fear of Difference: National Aspects of Tolerance and Homophobia” where the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy sociologist Tamara Martseniuk examines in detail the content and dynamics of homophobia and the way it fits into the larger frame of other phobias that plague Ukrainian society.
The first of several articles that deal with the social context of language is “History and Orthography” by the Moscow historian Olga Karpova which examines the success and failure of various reforms of Russian orthography in the course of the 20th century. In his “The European Context of the Ukrainian Language Question” the Gdansk linguist Artur Bracki focuses on the various ways that the phenomenon of “surzhyk,” the broadly represented mix of Ukrainian and Russian, is being sanctioned and expanded. With respect to the possibility of normalizing and codifying surzhyk—as various linguists have argued—the author finds this strategy counterproductive in light of the present state of Ukrainian in Ukraine. Instead he proposes the introduction of firm and stable norms for Ukrainian, with a transparent lexicographic base, as well as the development of functional territorial variants.
In her “Sentimental Discourse and the Authority of the Word,” the Kyiv sociolinguist Antonina Berezovenko looks at the interplay of the pragmatic and the emotional aspects of language in the political sphere, particularly during elections and during the Orange Revolution, and in the general practice of the Ukrainian political elite. Lesya Stavytska, also a Kyivan sociolinguist and author of several works published by Krytyka, analyzes in her “The Discursive Field of the Ukrainian Marshrutka”the various signs and notices to be found in that form of post-Soviet transportation (the private mini-bus or route taxi) and offers some psycholinguistic explanations for the bizarre fare that is to be found there. In “In Praise of Typos, Errors, Slips of the Tongue” Taras Liutyi reviews a book devoted to that subject by Mykhailo Minakov.
In his “Under the Banner of the Igor Tale,” the Kyiv historian Volodymyr Rychka returns to the centuries-long controversy over the authenticity of the Igor Tale (the 18th century mystification still considered by many scholars and the full array of the academic and pedagogical establishments of Russia and Ukraine to be an authentic 13th century work). Vadym Aristov of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy turns in his essay “Ukraine in Search of Rus’” to the ongoing attempts to find Ukraine in historical Rus’ and the various schemata and detours of Ukrainian historiography.
The issue concludes with several reminiscences and obituaries. In “A Knight of the Order of Freedom” Oleksandr Stepanenko writes of the Polish poet and aphorist Stanisław Jerzy Lec (1909–1966). In “Ten Years with Solomia” Tamara Hundorova writes about the literary critic, translator, intellectual, feminist and Krytyka editor Solomia Pavlychko (1958–1999). Volodymyr Yermolenko devotes his “Tropic of Lévi-Strauss”to the eminent French anthropologist who died last year at the age of one hundred. Eleonora Solovei remembers in her “Otar Chiladze: the Road to Mtatsmindu” the outstanding figure of contemporary Georgian literature. Taras Vozniak honors in “The Great Santa–Piotr Vail” the memory of his friend, the Rusian essayist and leading reporter of Radio Liberty.