International Conference: Ukrainian Studies Today. State of the Art in Switzerland, January 29-31, 2020

URIS marked its three-year anniversary with the conference “Ukrainian Studies Today. State of the Art in Switzerland” in Basel. Bringing together the URIS fellowship programme scholars and numerous Switzerland-based projects, the objective was to discuss ongoing research and future perspectives. The broad range of topics from scholars with different academic backgrounds illustrated the dynamic of the still young field of Ukraine research in Switzerland as well as its growing international relevance in recent years.

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Conference Program

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Conference Report by Alexandra Wedl

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Video of the Keynote lecture by Yaroslav Hrytsak (Video by: Oliver Göhler)

Picture Gallery (Pictures by: Nadine Freiermuth-Samardžić)

Europakolloquium with URIS Fellow Mykhailo Minakov

Demodernization in Post-Soviet Societies: The Case of Ukraine

On October 29 our sixth URIS Fellow Mykhailo Minakov gave a lecture on the current developments in Ukraine.

Find all information about the event here.

II. URIS Student Exkursion: „From Podil to Maidan“ 31 August – 7 September 2019, Basel 

12 students from the Universities of Basel, Bern, Zurich and Fribourg went on a study-trip to explore the history of the Ukrainian capital and to attend a Ukrainian Language course Ain Kyiv. Read the reports written by the students and find some pictures of the insightful days here

Ukrainian Language Course I, 24 June – 5 July 2019, Basel 

On the 5th of July 2019 the URIS Ukrainian course was completed. Whereas the previous courses (Ukrainian II & III) developed the active and passive language skills further, the students from different Universities in Switzerland took the chance to attend an introductory course again this summer. The two week course focused on basic language and grammar skills and everyday written and oral communication was practised intensively. The course also offered insight into contemporary and traditional Ukrainian culture.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of History of the University of Basel, the Departement of Linguistics and Literary Studies of the University of Basel, the University of Bern, the University of Zurich, the University of St Gallen and the University Language Center Basel for making this unique course possible and of course to thank Yuliya Mayilo for her enthusiastic effort as instructor!

Workshop in Basel, 5 May 2019 

„Exploring the own West. Pilgrimage and Travel in the Russian Empire in the 19th Century“

The fifth URIS workshop „Exploring the own West. Pilgrimage and Travel in the Russian Empire in the 19th Century“ was held on 20 May 2019 at the University of Basel. Together with Christine D. Worobec (Northern Illinois University), Anna Hodel Laszlo and Benjamin Schenk, we discussed geographical mobility, pilgrimages and travel in Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

For more information read the workshop flyer and find some pictures from Olivier Christe here.

Conference in Geneva, 13/14 December 2018
«Divided Memories, Shared Memories. Poland, Russia, Ukraine: History Mirrored in Literature and Cinema»
In Central and Eastern European countries, memorial questions appeared right after the demise of the communist regimes in 1989–1991, revealing long-denied processes. The phenomenon of the rise of repressed memories along with the rewriting of history, and the political uses of the past are noticeable in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, three countries whose histories are as often shared as their memories are divided. The “memory wars” in which these three states have sometimes been engaged since the end of the 1980s have been the subject of an abundant historiography. Representations of events and historical figures that have had a resonance in Russia, Poland, and Ukraine in the literature and cinema of the 20th and 21st centuries, will be the subject of the multidisciplinary and international conference held at the University of Geneva. Find the conference program here.

Conference in Lausanne, 13/14 December 2018
«Current Ukrainian Archaeology: Pontic Olbia, the Limes and the Barbarian»
La cité grecque d’Olbia, fondée sur les rives du Boug au VIe siècle av. J.-C., a joué un rôle central dans l’histoire des cités-Etats du bassin septentrional de la mer Noire durant l’Antiquité. A ce titre, le territoire d’Olbia est l’objet de fouilles archéologiques organisées régulièrement depuis le début du XXe siècle. Les différents thèmes abordés lors du colloque s’articulent autour de ce site de référence : la problématique des interactions entre la population grecque d’Olbia et les populations scythes et sarmates profite d’un éclairage particulier et met ainsi en exergue le rôle et les spécificités de la cité. En réponse à la menace grandissante que représentent les peuplades arrivant tour à tour des steppes eurasiatiques, l’Empire romain entreprendra d’importants travaux de fortification d’une ligne défensive qui poursuivra en quelques sortes le limes rhéno-danubien. C’est une thématique de premier plan qui sera traitée dans plusieurs exposés évoquant les ouvrages défensifs mis au jour en Ukraine méridionale et leur usage au fil du temps.
Le lien Internet contient le programme et diverses informations pratiques.

Workshop in Basel, 13/14 December 2018
«The Black Sea in Trans-Imperial and Trans-National History»
The international works-in-progress workshop is organized by the Department of History and Department of Social Sciences (Middle Eastern Studies) of the University of Basel. You can find the workshop details online.

Fourth URIS workshop, 26 November 2018, Basel
“War and Revolution in Ukraine, 1914–1920”
On the occasion of the centenary of the withdrawal of the Central Powers from Ukraine and the subsequent overthrow of Hetman Skoropads’kyi in late 1918, this workshop examined the history of war, occupation, revolution, diplomacy, and state-building in Ukraine during the First World War and the various upheavals and conflicts to which it gave rise. Despite the great timeliness of this topic, much of the Ukrainian revolutionary period remains terra incognita for historians. The workshop’s objective was to take stock of what has been done on the subject, to share works in progress, and to point the way forward for new research. The programme included presentations by: Trevor Erlacher (Basel/Chapel Hill), Christopher Gilley (Durham), Borislav Chernev (Exeter), Eric Aunoble (Geneva), Olena Betlii (Kyiv/Lviv), Wolfram Dornik (Graz), Hanna Perekhoda (Lausanne), Dmitri Tolkatsch (Freiburg i. Br.) and Fabian Baumann (Basel).

Ukrainisch III – Sprachkurs für Fortgeschrittene
Nach Urkainisch I und II organisiert URIS in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Sprachenzentrum der Universität Basel nun einen Ukrainischkurs für Fortgeschrittene! Im Fortsetzungskurs der Ukrainischkurse I und II werden die aktiven und passiven Sprachkenntnisse weiter aufgebaut. Der Schwerpunkt liegt auf dem Leseverständnis und dem Übersetzen von Texten zu aktuellen Themen. Die schriftliche sowie mündliche Alltagskommunikation wird intensiv geübt und die Grammatikkenntnisse werden vertieft. Der Kurs bietet zudem einen Einblick in die zeitgenössische und traditionelle ukrainische Kultur. Dozentin: Yuliya Mayilo, 3ECTS.
06.08.-17.08.2018, Montag bis Freitag, 13:15-16:30 Uhr; Die Kursteilnahme ist für Studierende und Mitarbeitende aller Schweizer Universitäten kostenlos. Anmeldung und weitere Infos finden Sie auf der Seite des Sprachenzentrums.

Third URIS workshop, 16 March 2018, St. Gallen
“Contemporary Ukrainian Studies: Cross- and Interdisciplinary Perspectives”
The workshop invited scholars representing diverse disciplines and countries to examine the socio-political, cultural and institutional challenges Ukraine has faced during recent years. They discussed how those challenges have been addressed in contemporary Ukrainian studies and specifically in sociological studies of religion as well as political and anthropological research. The workshop also analyzed the epistemological and methodological complexities of doing fieldwork in times of political turbulence, transformation and war. Dr Tornike Metreveli (St. Gallen) and Dr Anastasiia Grynko (Kyiv/Aarau) lead through the workshop. Find the short workshop report with some pictures in our workshop section.

Ukrainian Language Course II in February 2018
URIS is organising a follow-up course in Ukrainian from 5–16 February for students and members of staff of Swiss universities with good knowledge of Russian or Polish (B1) or with basic knowledge of Ukrainian (A1). The course is free for students and members of staff of Swiss universities. 3 ECTS. Ms Yuliya Mayilo, MA ( will teach the course. For more information please visit the University of Basel Language Centre website.

Second URIS workshop in November
The next workshop will take place in Basel on Monday, 20 November 2017. The subject will be Language, Politics and Identity in Ukraine. Past and Present”. All interested individuals in the field of Ukraine research in Switzerland are warmly invited to take part in the workshop as guests. Have a look at our workshop page for further details. The full programme is available here.

Intensive Ukrainian course in August 2017
URIS is organising an intensive course in Ukrainian from 7–25 August for students and members of staff of Swiss universities with basic knowledge of Russian or Polish (A1). The course is free for students and members of staff of Swiss universities. The course will take place from 7–25 August 2017, Monday to Friday, 1.15pm – 4.30pm, at the Department of History of the University of Basel (next to the train station). 4 ECTS. Ms Yuliya Mayilo, MA ( will teach the course. You can sign up for the course from 23.3.2017 until 23.7.2017 on the University of Basel Language Centre website. For more information please visit the University of Basel Language Centre website.

First URIS workshop in Basel (7 – 8 June 2017)
All interested individuals in the field of Ukraine research in Switzerland are warmly invited to take part in the workshop as guests. Ongoing Ukraine-related research projects currently underway at Swiss universities will be presented. The first URIS fellow, Prof. G. Kasianov, will also talk about his own studies on the evening of 7 June. If you are interested in attending, please send a short message to We look forward to in-depth discussions and a fruitful exchange of knowledge and ideas. For more information please have a look at our workshop program.

URIS opening event
We are delighted to invite you to the public URIS opening event on Wednesday, 29 March 2017 at the University of Basel. Prof. Kasianov, to whom we extend a warm welcome as the first URIS fellow, will give a lecture entitled “Past Continuous: Politics of History in Ukraine and the ‘New Europe’ (End of 1990s – 2000s)”. Everyone is invited to join us for refreshments afterwards. The event will be held on 29 March 2017 at 6.15 pm in Auditorium 102 in the Kollegienhaus of the University of Basel, Petersplatz 1 (directions). In his presentation, Prof. Kasianov will speak about the politics of history in Ukraine in the 1990s and 2000s. He explores how the past is used and abused for the present, how history and collective memory can be exploited by various actors, interest groups and governments, and what the consequences are of this kind of utilitarian and politically motivated use of history and memory.