International Summer School 2018: Polesia as a Landscape of Intervention

International Summer School 2018: Polesia as a Landscape of Intervention

Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe - Institute of the Leibniz Association, in cooperation with National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA) (Ukraine), and Polessky State University, Pinsk (Belarus)
Kyiv – Pinsk (Belarus) – Varaš (Ukraine) – Kyiv
Kyiv – Pinsk (Belarus) – Varaš (Ukraine) – Kyiv
Vom - Bis
11.09.2018 - 21.09.2018
Silke Fengler

German, English. A knowledge of Russian, Belarussian or Ukrainian is an advantage, but will not be expected.

Target Group:
PhD candidates/scholars who hold a first degree. Open to all fields of study. In particular, it is suited to enthusiasts from the areas of historical science, Slavic studies, social and economic science, ethnology, geography, environmental science as well as land-use and environmental planning.

Call for Papers:
Polesia, a natural and historically distinct landscape [Belarusian: Палессе Paliessie, Ukrainian: Полісся Polissia, Polish: Polesie, Russian: Полесье Poles'e, „woodland“, „land near the forest“] is a region which encompasses one of the last large marshlands and alluvial forests in Europe. It is located on the border of Belarus and Ukraine.

During the 20th century, human intervention transformed the region´s landscapes and living environments fundamentally: Polesia witnessed the destruction brought on by two world wars, genocides, and far-reaching attempts at centralization and modernization by various ruling powers. Since the 1930s, continuous efforts have been made to drain marshlands. Since the 1970s, the Soviet Union has made plans to transform the Ukrainian part of Polesia into an energy landscape. To that end, it constructed three large nuclear power plants and the necessary infrastructure. One of these plants, Chernobyl, has become the symbol of a modern “risk society” with its inherent technological risks throughout the world.

During the summer school, the organizers want to take the participants and experts from Belarus and the Ukraine with them on an investigative exploration through Polesia, experiencing the region together as a dynamic ecological, political, socio-cultural and economic space. In three different locations, the group will explore examples of how key historical protagonists interacted with the landscape and dealt with geographical space: Pinsk in the Belarusian part of Polesia, Varaš/Kuznecovsk in the Ukrainian part, and Kyiv.

The summer school offers lectures, excursions and practical seminars. Prior to the start of the trip, participants will receive a comprehensive reader containing literature relevant to the main topics.

For further information please visit our website:


Tuesday 11 September 2018
Arrival day

Wednesday 12 September 2018
Bus transfer Kyiv-Pinsk (BY)

Thursday 13 September 2018
Visit to the village of Parėčča, northwest of Pinsk (BY)
Discussion, debate and treatment – on the subject of “rulership”

Friday 14 September 2018
Visit to the village of Kudryčy, southeast of Pinsk (BY)
Visit to a “sovkhoz” – a state-owned farm
Discussion, debate and treatment – on the subject of “technology”

Saturday 15 September 2018
Visit to the Museum of Belarusian Polesia in Pinsk (BY)
Discussion, debate and treatment – on the subject of “space and identity”

Sunday 16 September 2018
Excursion to Pripjat National Park (BY)
Bus transfer Pinsk-Varaš (UA)

Monday 17 September 2018
Museum visits in Varaš and Stara Rafalivka (UA)
Discussion, debate, treatment – on the subject of “Soviet and post-Soviet urbanity”

Tuesday 18 September 2018
Tour of the Rivne nuclear power plant (UA)

Wednesday 19 September 2018
Bus transfer Varaš – Kyiv (UA)
Visit to the national university, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA) (UA)

Thursday 20 September 2018
Visit to the Chernobyl Museum, Kyiv (UA)
Discussion, debate, treatment – on the subject of “catastrophe intervention”

Friday 21 September 2018
Departure day


Silke Fengler

Herder-Institut für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung - Institut der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft