Polessye as a “Landscape of Intervention”
Polessye, 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: Polessye has experienced drastic changes in terms of regional development planning and land use, the exercise of power, and the introduction of new technologies. Polessye 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 Polessye 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 Ukraine with them on an investigative exploration through Polessye, experiencing the region together as a dynamic ecological, political, socio-cultural and economic space. The focus will be both on everyday life as well as on the relationships between the state, the people, the natural environment and technology. 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 Polessye, 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. The event is divided into four modules. Each will involve a practical exploration, based on a comparative approach, of various key issues, methods of knowledge transfer and methodical techniques of working.
The program for the summer school will center around various state interventions that took place in the Belarusian and Ukrainian parts of Polessye during the 20th century. The main emphasis will be on the following topics:
■ Technology and ecology
■ Space and identity
■ Rulership and politics
Guided excursions will shed light on these topics from historical-ethnographic, technical and ecological perspectives. The mobile format of the summer school will mean that participants are always on the move, traveling through Belarus and Ukraine in order to experience, first-hand, the effects of the state interventions. Some excursions will take place outdoors, others in museums and at various public facilities. These trips will provide a starting point for the topic-focused seminars. By meeting with local and international experts, participants will have the opportunity to enter into academic dialog.
Invitations are warmly extended to all young academics and researchers, advanced undergraduate students, PhD students, and postdocs who feel drawn to the topic of “Polessye as a landscape of intervention”.
The summer school is 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. We explicitly welcome diversity, and encourage participants from a wide range of academic, cultural and personal backgrounds to apply.
The condition for participation is a willingness to take an active part in the events and activities of the summer school.
Participants will have the opportunity to present their own academic research – in the form of a 30-minute talk – on a topic thematically related to the summer school program.
All presentations will be offered in German or English, in both cases with available translation. A knowledge of Russian, Belarusian or Ukrainian is an advantage, but will not be expected.
If you are interested in participating in the summer school, please send us the following documents:
- A letter of motivation (1-2 pages)
- A résumé in tabular format (1 page)
Please send your documents in English, German, Ukrainian or Russian language as pdf files to the coordinator of the summer school, Ms. Silke Fengler:
Dr. Fengler is also available and more than happy to answer any questions related to the summer school before you send in your completed application.
There is the possibility for enrolled students and junior researchers to apply for a scholarship to attend the summer school. These scholarships cover the registration fees and, in justified cases, include a travel allowance.
Students and postgraduates who are enrolled at a registered university are welcome to apply for a scholarship.
Recipients of scholarships are chosen based on the quality of their submitted letter of motivation and their résumé. Applicants who do not fulfill the criteria for a scholarship application are still warmly invited to apply to participate in the summer school and would need to cover the registration costs themselves.
Registration fee: 280,- €
Registration fee for applicants from Central and Eastern Europe: 100,- €
The registration fee covers hotel and hostel accommodation costs (either single or double rooms), all bus transfers, excursions and events. It also includes a catering allowance for breakfasts and evening meals.
The registration fee must be paid to the Herder Institute prior to the commencement of the trip.
For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.