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Russia’s War on Ukraine in Historical Perspective: A George Mason University Online Speaker Series

Russia’s War on Ukraine in Historical Perspective: A George Mason University Online Speaker Series

On February 24, 2022, drawing upon a variety of demonstrably false historical analogies, Vladimir Putin ordered a mass invasion of Ukraine, extending a war that had been ongoing since 2014. Ukrainians have suffered horrific crimes at the hands of the Russian invader, but Ukraine has inspired the world through its remarkable resistance and resilience.

How can an understanding of history help us make sense of this earthshaking event? When we try to understand the present, we always call upon our knowledge of the past in a variety of ways—through a search for origins, through historical causal explanation, through historical analogy and through an exploration of the politicized use and misuse of history by contemporary political and cultural figures. Often we only implicitly draw upon history to understand the present, but how do we explicitly build our base of historical knowledge and use it to understand current events?

In this 12-part speaker series, a dozen professional historians will present the results of their career-long research and explicitly address the question of how they use their knowledge of history to make sense of the war. For details on the full series, visit

Cosponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University (OLLI Mason). 

About OLLI Mason

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In celebration of George Mason University’s 50th anniversary, OLLI Mason is pleased to collaborate with George Mason University’s Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies to provide the interactive course Russia’s War on Ukraine in Historical Perspective.

OLLI Mason provides intellectual and cultural experiences to curious individuals. Learn more at


This program is appropriate for ages 18+. Register at An individualized zoom link will be sent to you. 

YouTube channel where all Speaker Series Events will be simulcast:

Monday, November 28, 2022
3:00pm - 4:15pm
Library Branch:
Virtual Event
This is an online event. Event URL:
FCPL Event Guidelines


  • September 12: Steven Barnes, George Mason U "How Do Historians Make Sense of the Present: Reflection on the Russo-Ukrainian War"
  • September 19: Cynthia Hooper, College of the Holy Cross, "What Went Wrong with Russia?"
  • September 26: Serhii Plokhii, Harvard U, "The Return of History: The Russo-Ukrainian War Through the Eyes of a Historian"
  • October 3: Steven Seegel, U of Texas-Austin, "Digital Activist Communities, Contemporary Ukrainian Studies, and the Making of The February 24th Archive"
  • October 10: (SPECIAL 3:30PM START TIME) Marci Shore, Yale U., "The Meaning of the Maidan: Looking back at the Revolution of Dignity, Eight Years Later"
  • October 17: Christopher Hamner, George Mason U, "Military History and Russia's War on Ukraine"
  • October 24: Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Northwestern U., "The Ukrainian War-Time Discourse: Self-Image, Enemy Alien, and Cultural Mobilization"
  • October 31: Sofia Dyak, Taras Nazaruk, Natalia Otrishchenko, Center for Urban History, Lviv, Ukraine, "Scholars Documenting the War in Real-Time"
  • November 7: Francine Hirsch, U of Wisconsin, "Historians Push Back: Countering Putin's Distortion and Manipulation of the Past"
  • November 14: Olesya Khromeychuk, Ukrainian Institute London, "Writing History, Narrating War"
  • November 21: Karina Korostelina, George Mason U, "Historical Perceptions and Willingness to Fight or to support a Peace Agreement in the Russo-Ukrainian War"
  • November 28: Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic, "How History Writes the Present"

Event Organizer

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FCPL Administration Staff

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