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What Does it Mean to Be Ukrainian?


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Honours College Humanities Lab.
Students in the first year of their bachelor’s programme who achieve good academic results and are very motivated, may apply for a place in Humanities Lab.


The images and news from Ukraine shock the world every day. While one can simplify the conflict to the Russo-Ukrainian, many politicians start speaking of «a battle for the future of Europe», «a clash of civilisations», therefore they have turned it into international conflict. To understand the trends underlying current events in Ukraine and their impact on the world, one has to understand the roots and depict the characteristics of Ukrainians.
In this course we will get acquainted with the Ukrainian language characteristics, cultural features and literature. We will consider what differentiates Ukrainians from Russians, what constitutes the Ukrainian identity. We will adjust the morden concept of ‚political nation‘, ‚imagined communities‘ to figure out the Ukrainian identity through geographical, historical, linguistic, cultural features. We will reflect on modern Ukrainian literature available in English and familiarise ourselves with classical pieces of writing, which shape the Ukrainian identity.

Course objectives

In the course students will gain the following shared transferrable skills:
generating solutions;
societal awareness;
independent learning.

Students will also improve the academic oral and writing skills; be able to formulate conclusions and made judgements on the basis of information of the topic; examine the problem from different humanitarian viewpoints.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Humanities Lab courses are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.30 to 17h.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Excursion

Assessment method


  • Active cooperation in group 30%

  • Oral presentation 20%

  • Poster 50%


As shown above

The final mark of the courses established by determination of the weighted average combined with the graded poster.


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursions, etc.). If you are unable to attend, notify the lecturer (listed in the information bar on the right) in advance. Being absent may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


If the final grade is lower than 6, it is possible to revise and resubmit the final paper - poster within 10 days of the original assessment. Contact the course lecturer for more information.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

To be familiar with the Ukrainian literature you can read the texts available in English by Taras Shevchenko, Lesya Ukrainka, Mikhaylo Kotsiubynsky, Mykola Khvylovy, Olexandr Dovzhenko, Serhiy Zhadan, Oksana Zabuzhko, Yuri Andrukhovych
It is advisable to read the book by Plokhy S. before the course.
Plokhy, Serhii (2015) The gates of Europe : a history of Ukraine . ISBN 978-0-465-07394-8 (ebook).
Assigned readings (ca. 50 pages) will be made available via Brightspace. They should be read before class to enhance the level of class discussion. A more detailed list will be distributed before each meeting.


Students participating in this module will be enrolled in MyStudymap by the Education Administration Office of Humanities Lab. Students register for the Humanities Lab modules about two to three weeks before the start of the module through an online form. More information and the link to the form will be provided by Umail.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.