Ukrainian Nationalism in Historical Context

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In the midst of the ongoing war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, it is vital that the lay-educated public understand the historical origins of the conflict. It is with this in mind, that this episode of ‘Arguing History’, takes a look at the subject of ‘Ukrainian Nationalism and the Russian / Soviet state’. To guide us in this intricate and not well know matter, are three superb historians: John-Paul Himka, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Alberta; David R. Stone, is a Professor in Russian Studies in the United States, Naval War College; Alexander Watson is Professor of History at Goldsmiths, University of London.

John-Paul Himka is an American-Canadian historian and retired professor of history of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Himka received his BA in Byzantine-Slavonic Studies and Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in 1971 and 1977 respectively. The title of his Ph.D. dissertation was Polish and Ukrainian Socialism: Austria, 1867–1890. He received numerous awards for both excellence in teaching and in research. His work on Ukrainian history has been subject to widespread debate and discussion in Ukraine.

David R. Stone, the William E. Odom Professor of Russian Studies at the Naval War College, joined the Strategy and Policy Department in 2015. He received a B.A. from Wabash College and a Ph.D. in history from Yale. He previously taught at Kansas State University. His book “Hammer and Rifle: The Militarization of the Soviet Union” (2000) won the Shulman Prize of ASEEES and the Best First Book Prize of the Historical Society. He has also published “A Military History of Russia” (2006) and “The Russian Army in the Great War: The Eastern Front, 1914-1917” (2015). He edited “The Soviet Union at War, 1941-1945” (2010). He is the author of several dozen articles on Russian military history and foreign policy.

Alexander Watson is Professor of History at Goldsmiths, University of London. His latest book is The Fortress. The Great Siege of Przemysl (London: Allen Lane, 2019). This is the story of the First World War’s longest siege, and of the opening of the brutal tragedy which befell East-Central Europe during the twentieth century. It follows a ragtag Habsburg garrison of old soldiers as they desperately defend Central Europe from Russian invasion, and recounts the vicious fighting, starvation and anti-Semitic ethnic cleansing which began in the region already in 1914. The book won a Society for Military History 2021 Distinguished Book Award and was a BBC History Magazine and Financial Times ‘Book of the Year’. The Times newspaper praised it as ‘a masterpiece’. ‘Vividly written and well researched …it deserves to become a classic of military history.’ His two prior books were also award winners.

Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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