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Seminar in Ukrainian Studies | Book Talk

How to Survive Stalin’s Gulag and Remain Human
A Discussion of Oksana Kis’s New Book, “Survival as Victory: Ukrainian Women in the Gulag”

Martha Kebalo, UN/ECOSOC, World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations

Oksana Kis, Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Lynne Viola, Department of History, University of Toronto

Attendees will receive a link to purchase the book at a 30% discount through Harvard University Press.

Lynne Viola and Martha Kebalo will join author Oksana Kis to discuss her latest publication, Survival as Victory: Ukrainian Women in the Gulag. The book offers a poignant look at the devastatingly harsh and dehumanizing conditions in Stalin’s forced labor camps. Imprisoned for their political beliefs and struggle against the Soviet regime, Ukrainian women fought to retain their identity as well as simply to survive. Based on Kis’s research, our panelists will explore how women lived and survived in the Gulag, the role of creative expression and religion, the endurance of nationalism and political thought, and the tension between rejecting traditional gender roles while embracing the conventionally female activities – such as knitting, caregiving, cooking, and embroidery – as a means of survival.

Book Description
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian women were sentenced to the GULAG in the 1940s and 1950s. Only about half of them survived. With Survival as Victory, Oksana Kis has produced the first anthropological study of daily life in the Soviet forced labor camps as experienced by Ukrainian women prisoners. Based on the written memoirs, autobiographies, and oral histories of over 150 survivors, this book fills a lacuna in the scholarship regarding Ukrainian experience. It details the women’s resistance to the brutality of camp conditions not only through the preservation of customs and traditions from everyday home life, but also through the frequent elision of regional and confessional differences. Following on from the groundbreaking work of Anne Applebaum’s Gulag: A History (2003) and Lynne Viola’s The Unknown Gulag: The Lost World of Stalin’s Special Settlements (2007), Survival as Victory is a must-read for anyone interested in gendered strategies of survival, accommodation, and resistance to the dehumanizing effects of the Gulag.

More information: https://huri.harvard.edu/event/kis-gulag
Explore the book: https://books.huri.harvard.edu/books/survival-as-victory

Watch live on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ZofAOWRypYw

Co-sponsored by the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America

How to Survive Stalins Gulag and Remain Human | UNWLA - Ukrainian National Womens League of America

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