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Language, Identity, and the War in Ukraine: The Balkan Connection

Event time: 
Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Humanities Quadrangle HQ See map
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

In his presentation Professor Greenberg will address the cultural and linguistic ramifications of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion has accelerated processes of Ukrainianization, especially among the country’s Russian speakers. These processes have arisen in direct defiance of Vladimir Putin’s declared aims of liberating and protecting Ukraine’s Russophone population. Like Slobodan Milošević in the Yugoslav conflicts of the 1990s, Putin has used historical grievances and language issues to justify his country’s attacks on Ukrainian cities, towns and villages. Professor Greenberg will argue that the Yugoslav precedent helps us understand Putin’s mindset and may provide clues as to future scenarios as we enter the second year of the war.
Professor Robert Greenberg is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He has held teaching positions at Yale, Hunter College, Georgetown, and the UNC-Chapel Hill. Professor Greenberg specializes in South Slavic languages and linguistics, and has worked primarily on sociolinguistic issues in the former Yugoslavia, exploring issues of language, nationalism, and ethnic identity both in Tito’s Yugoslavia and in the years following Yugoslavia’s breakup. He is the author of “Language and Identity in the Balkans” (Oxford University Press, 2004).

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