Towards a Decentred History: The Study of the Holodomor and Ukrainian Historiography


  • Olga Andriewsky Trent University



This article reviews research on the Holodomor by historians of Ukraine since the late 1980s. It examines the dominant trends in historiography, the major findings, and the current state of the field. The field itself, it argues, has grown considerably and there now exists a critical body of scholarship on the subject. For the past two decades, this scholarship has largely been dominated by the debate about whether the Holodomor constitutes genocide. Much of the focus has been on illuminating the policies, methods, and intentions of the Soviet leadership and there have been notable advances in these areas of research. Social history on this topic, on the other hand, remains largely underdeveloped. Some historians of Ukraine have begun to study the Holodomor “from below” and to explore the larger social and cultural consequences of de-kulakization, collectivization, and the Terror-Famine. This approach is crucial, the author suggests, to understanding the exceptional nature of the era. In terms of patterns of migration, family structure, religious practices, social identity, status and ranking, and attitudes towards power, authority, and political participation, the Holodomor Era fundamentally changed the way Ukrainians lived. In this respect, it represents a turning point, as momentous as perhaps any in Ukrainian history.


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