Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Document Type

M.A. Essay

First Advisor

Lada Kolomiyets

Second Advisor

Victoria Somoff


This paper analyzes post-2014 Ukrainian displacement literature from a postcolonial perspective. I argue that Ukrainian writers, displaced with the 2014 invasion of Eastern Ukraine and/or 2022 full-scale invasion by Russia, transform literature into a tool of cultural resistance against Russia, forging a postcolonial Ukrainian identity in their works that unites those displaced since 2014. I particularly focus on two long-form works by displaced writers: the novel Mondegreen: Songs about Death and Love (2019) by Volodymyr Rafeyenko, who was displaced in 2014 from Donetsk to Kyiv and again in 2022 to Pittsburgh, USA on the City of Asylum Exiled Writer and Artist Residency Program, and the collection of short stories Chuzha Svoia Ridna (2022) by Iryna Feofanova, who was displaced from Irpin to Krakow, Poland in 2022 on a writing residency at the Institute of Literature in Krakow. My analysis of these narratives and my conversations with displaced writers reveal a new Ukrainian identity forged in displacement, one which is at once the fluid identity of the migrant, similar to Stuart Hall’s “cultural identity,” and a stable postcolonial identity. I suggest that while the displaced identity is ever-changing, the postcolonial identity strategically turns towards essentialization (Gayatri Spivak), through linguistic transition from Russian to Ukrainian and the adoption of reinvented folklore, to form a united cultural front in the context of war. My research presents a timely contribution to the larger discourse around Ukrainian displacement, demonstrating how Ukrainians successfully construct a postcolonial identity that empowers them to remember, reflect, and resist from a state of displacement in and outside of a war-torn Ukraine.