From Soviet to Independent Ukraine: A Time of Radical Change

Heidelberg, 23.-24. September 2024

Call for Papers as a PDF-File

Submission deadline for proposals: April 15, 2024

The organizational committee of the conference includes Prof. Dr. Tanja Penter (Heidelberg University), Prof. Dr. Guido Hausmann (University of Regensburg), Prof. Dr. Gelinada Grinchenko (University of Wuppertal/Kharkiv University) and PD Dr. Franziska Schedewie (Heidelberg University).

Conference venue: Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg, Hauptstraße 242, 69117 Heidelberg

Format: hybrid (online and offline participation possible)

Languages: English


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:  / +49 89 2180-3056 /


The current situation, above all Ukraine facing Russia’s full-scale invasion, encourages historians to explore anew the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union and of Soviet Ukraine, the international and national contexts of the birth of the Ukrainian state in 1991 and the deep and long-lasting transformation of Ukrainian society in the late 1980s and 1990s. The German-Ukrainian Historical Commission devotes in 2024 its annual conference to this era by discussing its key features and long-lasting effects. A space of experiences and expectations opened up during this time which deserves a more detailed investigation in order to assess its overall significance for Ukraine today.

The conference organizers invite applicants to present their research on new trends in the field of grassroots activism in Ukraine (‘perestroika from below’), transregional cultural, social and political entanglements, critical geopolitics or ruptures and continuities in historical narratives, memories and scholarship.


Areas of interest include the following themes:


  • Testing the limits of the Soviet system: peculiarities of civic activism between new expectations for the future and the constraints of the Soviet system
  • Being Soviet - being Ukrainian under perestroika: Marking and shaping identity and belonging: religion, nationality, region
  • Experiences of change in ego-documents
  • Institution building: state building as a grassroots process
  • Transformation of Soviet historiography and memory culture;
  • The rise of a new Ukrainian memory culture
  • Engaging from the outside: the impact of the Ukrainian diaspora


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.  

We would like to thank the International Academic Forum Heidelberg for the use of its premises.

Please submit your proposals (500-800 words) and a short CV (one page maximum) in one PDF-file to Georgiy Konovaltsev ( by April 15, 2024. Please state whether you are interested in participating in person in Heidelberg or online.

Submission deadline for proposals: April 15, 2024