Key Conceptual Threads in Ukrainian Canadian Ethnography

Andriy Nahachewsky


Ukrainian ethnography has been a large, diffuse field of activity in Canada, with several identifiable threads. The field’s significance has been primarily cumulative rather than evident in individual field-changing works. Robert Klymasz’s PhD dissertation (“Ukrainian Folklore in Canada,” 1971) on continuity and change in Ukrainian Canadian culture is the main exception. Some studies have dealt with traditional culture in Ukraine, but the mainstream of Ukrainian Canadian ethnography has focused on Ukrainian cultural activities documented in Canada itself. Within these Canadian materials, many scholars have allowed for, and even celebrated, the processes of adaptation, hybridity, and creativity in Ukrainian Canadian culture. Ukrainian Canadian ethnography has been strongly integrated with North American scholarship in general, but until recently it was poorly connected with folkloristics and ethnology in Ukraine. Canadian ethnography has potential to contribute to Ukraine’s ethnology and folkloristics through its nuanced elaboration of the importance of context and its documentation of processes of cultural change and hybridity, urban traditions, ethnic identity and revival, and multicultural relations.

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© 2014 East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies. Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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