The MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine program, undertaken by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and its partners, brings the latest innovations of information technology to studies of modern Ukrainian history and contemporary political geography. We conduct our own studies and encourage scholars and students within Harvard community and beyond to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for illustrating and explaining economic, historical, political, and social transformations within Ukraine using spatial and temporal analysis.
The Great Famine project, undertaken in cooperation with the State Scientific and Production Enterprise “Kartographia”, the Institute for Demography and Social Studies and the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, focuses on the history of the Holodomor ("death-by-starvation") – the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33. The Famine took lives of close to four million inhabitants of Ukraine and is one of the most studied, but also one of the most vigorously debated topics of twentieth-century Ukrainian and Soviet history. The maps within this project present geographic data on the demographic losses of 1932-33, ethnic composition and administrative division of Ukraine in the 1920s and 1930s, the country's ecological zoning, as well as Soviet government policies and their results, including levels of collectivization of agriculture, grain procurement plans, and data on the fulfillment of those plans. The interactive maps allow one not only to conduct spatial analysis of historical data, but also help to formulate new questions and, we hope, stimulate new research on the history of the Great Famine.
The History and Identity project aims to contribute to a reconceptualization of regionalism in Ukraine. Mapping data on the region (oblast) level avoids arbitrary scaling into predefined macro-regions, and allows researchers to explore and explain intraregional and cross-regional differences and similarities in the changing social and political context of 2013 and 2015 Ukraine. The History and Identity project contributes to the comparative cross-regional analysis of identities and historical memory in today’s Ukraine using the most recent sociological survey data.
The Independent Ukraine project, undertaken in cooperation with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, deals with popular attitudes towards Ukrainian sovereignty since 1991 as measured by support or opposition to unity with Russia. The annual survey data, supplied by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (Ukraine’s leading surveying and polling agency), maps the changing popular preferences in Ukraine’s twenty-six administrative units and reveals interesting dynamics before and after the turbulent events of the Euromaidan Revolution and the subsequent undeclared war with Russia. Ukraine’s regional cleavages have been at the forefront of academic debate and more recently public discourse as leading factors of national disunity and even causes of Crimea’s secession and annexation, and the current war in the Donbas region of the country. Contrary to these analyses, the maps show how Ukrainian civic nationhood has strengthened over the years and how any organic separatist pro-Russian movements had more popular support in mid to late 1990s than in 2013 or 2014.
The Rus’ Genealogy project is part of a larger attempt to shift the perceptions of modern scholars to include Rus’ in the wider narrative of medieval Europe, and create a picture of the medieval European world that fits the evidence from the primary sources - one that stretches from the Atlantic in the west to the Dnieper River in the East. One of the chief ways to do this is by looking at the connectivity between Rus’ and the rest of Europe - and one of the most interconnected places was in the arena of dynastic marriage. The ruling family of Rus’, the Volodimerovichi (also known as the Riurikids), had marital connections with the ruling families of most of medieval Europe. The project attempts to display these marriages on a map of medieval Europe, thereby visually, and dramatically, highlighting the way in which the Volodimerovichi of Rus’ intermarried throughout Europe. It is clear from just the first glance at this map that Rus’ was part of a medieval European system of dynastic marriage in which they participated fully. Beyond that first glimpse of interconnectivity, tools were also built into the map to allow for searches, chronological scalability and geographic scalability. These tools, and the map itself, should allow researchers on medieval European dynastic marriages the tools they need to demonstrate visually that Rus’ was part of medieval Europe.
The Historic Podillya in the late Middle Ages project presents the place names (settlements, castles, hydronyms) identified up to date in the territory of historical Podillya in the Late Middle Age.
If you are using GIS in your research on Ukraine and would like to become part of MAPA GIS Network, please register your project with us. This will help us link the community of GIS scholars working on Ukraine, share findings, and organize future workshops and conferences related to GIS research.
The MAPA: Digital Atlas of Ukraine program is partially funded through support provided by the Eugene and Daymel Shklar Foundation and the Ukrainian Studies Fund, Inc.