Year XVІ, Issue 5 (175)

April 2012
Yuri Matsievskyi. What is Modern Ukraine about and Will It Ever Change
Serhii Balan. The Law vs. the Lawful
Vitaly Chernetsky. A University Under Quarantine?
Vadym Menzhulin. The Mashinery of Magnetism
Charles Glass. Syria: The Citadel and the War
George G. Grabowicz. Ukrainian Literature and Europe: Aporias, Asymmetries and Discourses
Oles Fedoruk. Portrait of a Scholar and a Custodian
Łukasz Jasina. Consensus in Divergences
Ihor Kruchyk. Children of a Soviet Widow
Miron Petrovsky. Memory Steps
Mykhaylo Nazarenko. The Contexts of Miron Petrovsky



The May 2012 issue of Krytyka opens with “What is Modern Ukraine about and Will It Ever Change” by Yuri Matsievskyi which addresses these questions by taking both a transitional and an institutional approach, and also tries a third – the post-institutional one. The author invokes Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History by Douglas C. North (and co-authors) and in particular the theory of two types of societies: the open access society and the natural one. According to this theory, Ukraine is definitely a natural society. Matsievskyi forecasts all-but inevitable political turmoil, although he refrains from speculating about its consequences.

In his “The Law vs. the Lawful” Serhii Balan, the coordinator of the legal programs of the School for policy analisys at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, questions the legitimacy of the actual rulers of Ukraine and the consequences of the recent violation, if not outright abolition, of constitutional law in Ukraine. Vitaly Chernetsky, associate professor at Miami University, continues Krytyka’s discussion on intellectual freedom, evoked by the closing of the Ukrainian Body exhibition and soon thereafter the Visual Culture Research Center at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (see Krytyka no.1-2, 3, and 4, 2012). 

In his article “A University Under Quarantine?” he casts doubt on the so-called “pathogenic text” – a concept that had been introduced (though soon revised) by Lviv scholar Borys Potyatynyk in the mid 1990’s, and recently developed by Kyiv-Mohyla Academy president Serhiy Kvit, and others. Chernetsky also discusses the different approaches to this controversy, and the mission of the University in general.

In his letter entitled “The Mashinery of Magnetism” Vadym Menzhulin, philosophy professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, comments on Volodymyr Yermolenko’s “Mesmer and Freud: On Medicine Becoming a Philosophy” (see Krytyka No. 4, 2012). Charles Glass, former ABC News chief Middle East correspondent, traveled to Aleppo, Syria – a city said to be “at the crossroads of the Arab, Turkish, and Iranian worlds.” Glass focuses on the minorities challenged to choose among regime supporters, resistants, and attentistes, in his article “Syria: The Citadel and the War”, which appeared in The New York Review of Books (vol.59, No. 10) and which Krytyka presents in translation as the exclusive partner of NYRB in Ukraine.

George G. Grabowicz, editor-in-chief of Krytyka and Dmytro Čyževs’kyj Professor of Ukrainian Literature at Harvard, continues his study “Ukrainian Literature and Europe: Aporias, Asymmetries and Discourses” (see Krytyka no. 4, 2012 for the first part), and examines some of the key issues and structures of the interaction of Ukrainian literature with Europe – which in large measure also defines the very identity of Ukrainian literature.

The literary historian from Lviv Oles Fedoruk writes on Volodymyr Yatsiuk, an outstanding Shevchenko scholar and a foremost collector of Shevchenkiana, in a memorial essay “Portrait of a Scholar and a Custodian.” 

Łukasz Jasina, a Polish historian and essayist, recalls Ihor Нevзenko, the prominent Harvard Byzantinist and for many years (1973–1989) the deputy director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, in his essay “Consensus in Divergences”. Ihor Kruchyk, a Ukrainian poet, translator and journalist, writes on Ukrainian poetry written in Russian and its different strategies and approaches – in Ukraine and in Russia. In his article “Children of a Soviet Widow” Kruchyk reviews its literary and institutional manifestations in the course of the last two decades. “Memory Steps” recounts the Stalin-era childhood and early years of the prominent Kyiv literary scholar and critic Miron Petrovsky. It is prefaced by a 80th birthday tribute, “The Contexts of Miron Petrovsky,” by the literary historian from Kyiv Mykhaylo Nazarenko, who writes on the significance of Petrovsky’s work and shares his own memories of his acquaintance with him.

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