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Leontina Hormel
Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
April 27, 2010 - 12:30 p.m.
Idaho Commons - Whitewater Room

“Women as Activists and Citizens in Lviv and Kharkiv During Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution” is a collaborative endeavor with Alexandra Hrycak, associate professor of sociology at Reed College. In this project we examine women (ages 18-73) who were active in supporting the pro-West candidate Viktor Yushchenko during the 2004 Orange Revolution, a revolution that erupted as a result of corruption and fraud during Ukraine’s presidential elections. The revolution was a surprise to many who saw the Ukrainian public as passive and unperturbed by “politics as usual.” Much like this passive public, women in Ukraine have been invisible – viewed as private characters with little interest in politics and engaged citizenship. In fact, since the revolution, women have yet to feature prominently in research surrounding the Orange Revolution. Yet, our study finds that women across a variety of ages – through doing the “housework of politics” - enabled communication and mobilization for Orange revolutionary action. We find these clues through focus groups with women activists in two culturally divergent cities in Ukraine – the “pro-West” city of Lviv and the “pro-East” city of Kharkiv (conducted in 2005). Through these focus groups we find an empowered sense of women’s identities and a far less polarized vision for Ukraine’s future, despite the widespread media attention to a “divided Ukraine.” This presentation will also explore factors surrounding women’s activism and citizenship that may have led to the pro-East candidate Viktor Yanukovych’s victory in the recent 2010 presidential elections.
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