(Re)inventing the past: the politics of 'national' history in the Ukrainian classroom

Peter Rodgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines how the Ukrainian state has used, and continues to use, history to forge collective identities in Ukraine. It assesses how history textbooks are utilised by the state as ‘tools’ to introduce schoolchildren to key historical episodes around which a modern Ukrainian national identity can be shaped. Attempts to ‘historicise’ Ukrainian national identity must answer fundamental questions such as: Who are we? Where have we come from? Where are we going? Who are we not? The final question is vital in understanding ‘who we are’ in comparison to the ‘other’. Thus, emphasis is placed on how the Ukrainian state is attempting to form an all-encompassing Ukrainian identity by distancing itself from Russia. The article argues that while a ‘national’ history is being espoused, a ‘regional politics of the textbook’ is subtly being allowed by the state to develop. This stands at odds with state attempts to create one universal, all-encompassing Ukrainian history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-55
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in ethnicity of nationalism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


  • history
  • collective identities
  • Ukraine
  • history textbooks
  • schoolchildren
  • modern Ukrainian national identity
  • Ukrainian state
  • Russia


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