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Fragmented lives and fragmented histories in Odesa

Sapritsky-Nahum, Marina (2023) Fragmented lives and fragmented histories in Odesa. In: Wanner, Catherine, (ed.) Dispossession: Anthropological Perspectives on Russia’s War Against Ukraine. Routledge, New York, NY, 100 - 120. ISBN 9781032466224

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Identification Number: 10.4324/9781003382607-7


This chapter focuses on the city of Odesa and its altered reality after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It discusses the different levels of fragmentation that run through the everyday life of a city and its residents and create fissures in identity and kinship, upheavals and reversals of historical memory, and challenges for conducting research during the war. Ukraine has an unusually complex ethno-linguistic and religious composition, with inherited historical divides. As a borderland, it constituted a pronounced case of political and national fragmentation even before the war. Odesa has its own forms of fragmentation, populated as it is by a rich amalgam of people and cut through with the afterlives of empires. The war has intensified all of these forms of fragmentation, bringing different histories into the present. The chapter addresses fragmentation on three different scales: the vignettes of Jewish Odesans reflecting on the war in the contexts of self, family, community, city, and nation; the historical narratives and historical truths revealed by the term “denazification,” which has served as Putin’s justification for the invasion of Ukraine.; and the reflections of a fragmented anthropologist, highlighting ethical dilemmas and practical difficulties of researching a constantly changing and deeply painful reality during the war.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2024 14:36
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 02:54

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