Early Modern Statehood and Society in the Ukrainian Lands: Forms and Concepts

Warsaw, 10. - 12. September 2023

Programme of the Conference

Zoom Link (only for viewing)

Call for papers as a PDF-file

The annual conference of the German-Ukrainian Historical Commission is organized in cooperation with the German Historical Institute Warsaw.

The organizational committee of the conference includes Prof. Dr. Miloš Řezník (German Historical Institute Warsaw), Prof. Dr. Yvonne Kleinmann (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg), and Dr. Volodymyr Sklokin (Ukrainian Catholic University Lviv).

Conference venue: Deutsches Historisches Institut Warschau, Pałac Karnickich, Aleje Ujazdowskie 39, PL-00-540 Warszawa 

Format: hybrid (online and offline participation possible)

Languages: English and Ukrainian

The German-Ukrainian Historical Commission is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For organizational questions please contact:

duhk@lrz.uni-muenchen.de  / +49 89 2180-3056 


The regions of today's Ukraine participated in various processes of state formation in the early modern period. The most important among them were the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by the Kingdom of Poland within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; other polities involved Russia, the Crimean Khanate, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. In addition, there were political power structures that had their focus in Ukraine itself and correspondingly became focal points of modern Ukrainian political imaginary. A case in point is the Hetmanate during the second half of the seventeenth through the eighteenth century.

The conference will tackle the following topics:  

It aims to emphasize the roles that Ukrainian regions played in processes of cultural entanglements and early modern state formation in the various contexts which included Ukrainian lands between 1569 and 1795. We are interested in regional articulations of different traditions and understandings of political rule and their subsequent significance in the self-understanding of the elites.

It encourages further reflection on the concept of statehood, starting from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Russian and Ottoman empires through regional and local polities. How can we integrate early modern Ukraine into the broader spectrum of political formations visible in today's Ukraine?

It explores the procedural character of early modern statehood, and in particular of the Hetmanate, by highlighting such phenomena as its ability to centralize power, the emergence of a standing army, a professional bureaucracy, and the separation of the idea of the state from the person of the ruler. We will discuss the character of the Cossack polity as a state or an association of nobles in a comparative perspective.

It raises the question of society – or rather societies – as an analytical tool to understand early modern Ukraine. How did the different proto-state formations or other political entities, e.g. urban communities and Jewish self-administration, interact with each other and what forms and languages of communication did they use? How can we qualify these political entanglements?

We invite submissions that address the topics mentioned above and place the Ukrainian cases into a broader comparative context of early modern formation of political orders, institutions and societies in East-Central Europe and beyond. We encourage contributions with an emphasis on historical semantics and cultural entanglements. 

While we mainly aim to initiate German-Ukrainian dialogue about these issues, contributions from other countries are very welcome as well. Accommodation will be provided and travel expenses refunded for conference speakers.

Please submit your proposals (500-800 words) and a short CV (one page maximum) in one PDF-file to Georgiy Konovaltsev (duhk@lrz.uni-muenchen.de) by April 30, 2023. Please state whether you are interested in participating in person in Warsaw or online.