Workshop: One Hundred Years of the Kiev Kultur-Lige:

Ukrainian and Jewish Cultural Formation

On November 8, UIUC is hosting a workshop focused on the Kiev Kultur-Lige, organized by Harriet Murav and Gennady Estraikh
(NYU). The workshop will take place in 109 English Building and is open to the public.

This workshop will focus on the Kiev Kultur- Lige in the broad context of parallel developments in Ukrainian culture and
literature at the same time. The workshop, organized in the year of the Kultur-Lige’s centenary, is aimed at broadening our
knowledge of the history and lasting impact of this organization. Special attention will be paid to cultural and ideological interactions between the Kultur-Lige activists and their Ukrainian counterparts. The comparative study of languages, literatures, institutions, and crosscultural cooperation and interaction even in a time of interethnic conflict--is particularly timely and consequential for suggesting new approaches to similar conflicts today. Exploring the history of networks developed outside the
confines of national boundaries and with a view to the promotion of literature, music, and theater can reveal synergies, intersections, and confluences across languages and cultures.

2018 marks the hundred-year anniversary of new nations and a new Europe, emerging from the collapse of empire and the conflagration of World War I. In the midst of the violent conflict of this period, including the war between the new Soviet Union and Ukraine, new cultural formations also developed. One of these was the Kultur-Lige, an association founded to “organize the Jewish masses and develop Yiddish culture.” The idea for the Kultur-Lige came from the Yiddish writer David Bergelson,
living in Kiev in 1918. “Leagues for Yiddish culture” also were founded in Vilnius, Warsaw, Moscow, Berlin, and New York. Scores of
Yiddish books came out under the imprints of the Kiev and Warsaw publishing houses carrying the same name, Kultur-Lige. The
sphere of activity of the Kultur-Lige was not restricted to literature, journalism, and linguistics. Visual arts, music, and theater were
important components of the Kultur-Lige program. Some of these branches had a very short life. The goal of the Kultur-Lige—the
development of secular national culture without a nation state—may seem utopian. It is precisely the ephemeral and utopian qualities of the Kultur-Lige’s vision that makes it so appealing and important as an object of study.

The workshop is sponsored by The Dmytro Shtohryn Endowment in Ukrainian Studies; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center; LAS Dean's Office; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Program in Jewish Culture & Society.

See the Slavic Department calendar for further details on the event, including a schedule.


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