Ostap Sereda received his Ph.D. in Comparative History from the Central European University in 2003. Since then he has been at the department of modern history of the I.Krypiakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies in Lviv (Ukrainian Academy of Sciences). He also lectured at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukrainian Catholic University and Macquarie University (Sydney), and was a visiting researcher at the European University Institute in Florence and at Harvard University. His current project shall result in a monograph on cultural politics and musical theater in Russian-ruled Kyiv in the second half of the 19th century, which is planned to be published in 2015 with the Böhlau Publishing House (Vienna).
At the CEU I teach a course on cultural politics and contested identities in Eastern European borderlands in the long 19th century. It deals with the key issues of the modern history of Eastern Europe (nation-building, intelligentsia and peasants, culture and identity, border and frontier, assimilation and acculturation), and it explores the mechanisms of the cultural construction of modern social, national and regional identities in the regions that once belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Crimean Khanate, then were incorporated by Habsburg and Romanov monarchies, and nowadays constitute Belarus, Lithuania, and Ukraine. Perhaps the main aim of the course is to gain a better understanding of a borderland as contested, polycentric, and culturally diverse space shaped both by administrative policy of the imperial center(s) and local cultural traditions.
I have been exploring political and cultural aspects of the identity-building process in imperial borderlands also through my two research projects. The first one deals with the political discourses and cultural practices of several competing Ruthenian national projects in 19th-century Austrian Eastern Galicia. So far, it resulted in a number of articles in journals like “Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas”, “Canadian American Slavic Studies”, “Journal of Ukrainian Studies”, “Ukraina moderna”.
My second project focuses on the cultural politics in one of the most contested and rapidly growing provincial centres of the late Russian empire, the city of Kyiv (Kiev, Kijów), in particular on the theatrical life, which became an arena for negotiations between the imperial political interests, the national representational strategies of various urban publics, the artistic aspirations of leading cultural figures, and the popular demand for entertainment. My aim is not only to locate musical theater in the context of political and social history of the region, but also to understand better the character of cultural interaction in an emerging Eastern European metropolis.