Academics as part of a community

Striking, but probably not enough

The invasion of Ukraine raises many questions, both academic and practical: certainly it has the feel of an event that will shape a lot of lives for a very long time.

Part of that has been the question of how to respond, as an individual and as part of a community.

I’ve had to deal with this a bit more than many, as a function of chairing UACES, the UK’s European Studies association.

We have a few Ukrainian (and Russian) members, plus many more with personal or familial ties, reflecting the entangled nature of European society.

Like many other academic bodies, we issued a statement that condemned the invasion and called on members to help where they could. However, we also didn’t want to just leave things there.

As a result, we’ve carried on working to link up with bodies that can provide direct support, such as CARA and Scholars at Risk, to try maximise the connections that exist, while also opening ourselves up to help people more individually, as best we can.

How much help that ends up providing remains to be seen, but already at this stage it has underlined for me the importance of not falling into a performative trap of simply declaring “X is Bad” and the moving on.

If you have examples of how you see ways we could be doing more, then I’m really keen to hear them. Each of us might not be able to do much to address or remedy the situation, but equally it behoves us all to try where we can.

One Reply to “Academics as part of a community”

  1. Thank you for doing this and please know that symbolic acts of solidarity matter for morale. Other than that, Ukrainians now mostly need protective equipment (vests, etc.) If you could direct your donations to organizations that are doing that — great. If you could lobby your representatives to do that — even better. For instance, Colorado’s governor & CU Boulder police bought protective gear to send to Ukraine.

    As academics — just keep talking about this because more people than we’d like are either apathetic or affected by propaganda and think that we don’t know the truth, while it’s one of those rare historical situations when the truth is evident.

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