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Mateusz Świetlicki

Dr. Mateusz Świetlicki is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Literature and Culture (Institute of English Studies, University of Wrocław). He is a founding member of the Centre for Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature (Faculty of Letters, University of Wrocław). He was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (2018) and was awarded fellowships at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (2014) and Harvard University (2012). His first book, When (Do) Boys Become Men? Masculinity as a Project in Serhiy Zhadan’s Fiction, was published in 2016. He specializes in North American and Ukrainian studies. His expertise is contemporary children’s and YA literature and culture, as well as popular culture and film. He has taught American literature, film, and popular culture at the University of Wrocław and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently working on a book project on memory in Canadian children’s literature. He is a representative for the Childhood & Youth Network of the Social Science History Association and a member of IRSCL.

Repressed Memory and Canadian Counterhistory in Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s Hope’s War (2001)

Ukrainian immigration to Canada started in 1891, one hundred years before Ukraine gained independence, and since then Ukrainian-Canadians have become one of the most visible ethnic groups in Canada. Due to the ideological differences within the Ukrainian-Canadian diaspora, especially considering the consequent upward mobilityof the second-generation immigrants, one could argue that “it is not clear whether there is a Ukrainian diaspora, or whether there are many Ukrainian diasporas” (Satzewich 218). The conflicting agendas of Ukrainian-Canadians contributed to the negative depiction of Ukrainiansin North America. During the third period of immigration diaspora leftists accused the Ukrainian nationalists of being “Nazi sympathizers” and the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians made the allegations that DPs were trying to bring war criminals to Canada. As Michael Roth, argues, “In modernity memory is the key to personal and collective identity […] the core of the psychological self.” (qtd in Klein 135) – partly because of the aforementioned ideological differences, many third-wave Ukrainian Canadian immigrants repressed their memory of WWII, making the formation of a common diaspora identity even more problematic. By not sharing the individual memories with their children and communities, they kept their experience absent from Canadian cultural memory. Using Werner Sollors words that “What is called ‘memory’ (and Nora’s lieux de me’moire) may become a form of counterhistory that challenges the false generalizationsin exclusionary ‘History.’” (qtd in Klein 12), I want to argue that by telling the silenced, untold stories, hence bringing attention to the second-memory of the traumatic experiences of Ukrainians and Ukrainian Canadians, children’s author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch puts them on the landscape of Canadian collective and cultural memory and “challenges the false generalizations” attributed to Ukrainians and Ukrainian Canadians after WWII in North America. In this presentation, I want to talk about Forchuk Skrypuch’s Hope’s War (2001), her first Ukrainian-themed novel, and show what narrative techniques and plotlines she uses to familiarize her young readers with Canadian counterhistory and potentially make them more empathetical by showing the unexpected similarities between the very different experiences of various Canadian minorities now and in the past. Keywords: Canada, Ukrainian Canadians, memory, postmemory, social identity, counterhistory, children’s literature Works cited: Klein K. L., On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse, “Representations,” No. 69, Special Issue: Grounds for Remembering (Winter, 2000), 127-150. Satzewich V., The Ukrainian Diaspora, London and New York: Routledge 2002.