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Political Ecologies seminar on June 2nd, co-curated with Fabienne Rachmadiev and with guest speaker Darya Tsymbalyuk | 2 June, 17.00 – 19.00 hrs. | Belle van Zuylen in the University Library.
Event details of Memory of Coal: Stories of Extractivism, Fossil Fuels, and Vegetal Pasts from the East of Ukraine
2 June 2023
17:00 -19:00

In this talk I focus on different memories contained in coal, a fossil fuel at the heart of constructing an industrial region in the east of Ukraine framed as “Donbas”, and trace (hi)stories of extraction through which the project of “Donbas” has been shaped. Since 2014, parts of the east of Ukraine have been occupied by Russia, where the industrial extraction of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union has been superseded by the military extraction of Russian imperialism. Focusing on these different modes of extraction and exploitation, I also stay attuned to ways of resisting being turned into a fossil fuel, or what I call resisting fossilfuelisation, a concept that closely aligns with Asia Bazdyrieva’s theory of “resourcification” (“No Milk, no Love” 2022). Examining coal as an archive of vegetal memory, I therefore discuss alternative narrativisations of the east of Ukraine, such as Lyuba Yakimchuk’s now canonical cycle of poems “Apricots of the Donbas”.