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For Mason Conflict Professor, Unrest in Ukraine Is Personal

February 5, 2014

By Buzz McClain 

Karina Korostelina

Karina Korostelina, professor in the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

The increasingly urgent unrest in Ukraine is the result of many complex factors that have developed during 20 years of independence coming together at the same time. But one of the overriding issues of the Euromaidan protests is that of a common national identity, as Ukrainian opposition leaders want their government to ally with the European Union and break ties with Russia.

Few know the details of this national power struggle better than George Mason University professor Karina V. Korostelina. Besides being Ukrainian, Korostelina teaches at George Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) where she focuses her research on social identity and identity-based conflicts. She’s also the director of the program on History, Memory and Conflict at S-CAR.

book coverHer new book, “Constructing the Narratives of Identity and Power: Self-Imagination in a Young Ukrainian Nation” (Lexington Books), is the result of nine months of research over the last three years in Ukraine as well as constant contact with those back home; her insights go well beyond the sometimes simplistic coverage by the media as she uses her expertise to examine the origins, and perhaps the solutions, to the country’s roiling turmoil.

The author of 13 books about conflict and post-conflict issues, Korostelina says this one is more personal for her. “In this one I tried to find ways Ukraine actually imagines itself in the world and how a perception of national identity can be developed,” she says.

Korostelina will present her findings during a book launch event on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. at S-CAR, located in the Metropolitan Building at Mason’s Arlington Campus. Visit the S-CAR event website for details.