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Galina Babak (Centre for Advanced Study Sofia)

Galina Babak

Galina Babak

Fellow in Research Area 1: "Competing Communities" 

August – December 2022

National academic identity in exile: Ukrainian literary scholars in interwar Prague

This project aims to reconstruct the development of Ukrainian “literary science in exile” using the example of the professional and personal activities of Dmytro Chyzhevskyi, Leonid Biletskyi, Mykola Hnatyshak and others. The conceptual approach of the project proposes focusing on individual personalities, since the biographies of each of these figures represent both the history of science and the history of the institutions that were engaged in the production and reproduction of scientific knowledge. The broad analyses of the common and specific features of various national emigrant versions of “literary science” that emerged in interwar Prague will help to trace the development and functioning of Ukrainian literary theory in Czechoslovakia as one of the cases of “science in exile”. A central aim of the project is the publication and introduction into scientific circulation of archival materials related to the intersection of Ukrainian and Russian émigré scholars, as well as their connections to the Czechoslovak scientific environment.

Galina Babak received her PhD in Slavic literatures at Charles University (Prague, Czechia) in 2020, with her doctoral project titled “Reception of Russian Formalism in Ukrainian Culture in the Interwar Period (1921–1939)”. Between 2020 and 2022 she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the New Europe College (Bucharest, Romania) and the Center for Advanced Study (Sofia, Bulgaria). Her research is mainly within the areas of intellectual history and the history of science with a focus on literary theory and comparative literatures, mainly Ukrainian and Russian. Her research interest is directed towards the project of “Soviet modernisation” from the 1920s to the beginning of the 1930s in Ukraine, and the political and cultural history of the 20th century.

She is co-author (with Alexander Dmitriev) of the monograph The Atlantis of Soviet National Modernism: The Formal Method in Ukraine (1920s–Early 1930s), (Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2021).