UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Ursula Woolley


Ursula Woolley

Supervisors: Professor Andrew Wilson, Dr Pete Duncan

Email: ursula.woolley.16@ucl.ac.uk

Present status: PhD Candidate (expected 2023)

Title of thesis: ‘Where’s Your Mannerheim Line?’ On the ‘History Front’ in Ukraine: Interventions in Civic Discourses of Public History (2012-2021) Tackling Russia’s Revanchist ‘Dominion of Meaning’.

My thesis examines how Ukraine was tackling Russian history propaganda in the decade before the start of the full-scale invasion.  The thesis explores the strategies used by Ukraine in the field of public history to deflect this propaganda and protect against its effects.  It shows the patterns of thought and activism which appear to have made this possible.  It analyses local interventions in discourses of public history in Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro and Poltava, interviews with regional and national actors and public history material from national content providers. How does the IR Copenhagen School theory of the securitisation of identity respond to this research?  How could the concept of loosely associational agency emerging from the research be applied to other comparable cases involving cross-border ‘information autocracy’?  How does this area-led, public-history-focused study shed light on the nature of the pre-2022 engagement between these polities, and on the differences between them?

PGTA teaching: Understanding Politics (1): the Big Questions: 2023; Approaches to Knowledge: Introduction to Interdisciplinarity: 2023; Undermining Democracy: Political Manipulation in Comparative Perspective: 2022; Post-Soviet Politics and Society: 2021, 2020. 

Forthcoming publication (expected 2023): “Holier Than Thou?” Discourses of Orthodox Interdenominational Ecclesiastical Historical Politics in Ukraine at the time of the Ukrainian Autocephaly Process’ in Berezhnaya, L. and Hein-Kirche, H. (eds.), Sacralization of History in (Contemporary) Eastern Europe: Actors - Networks - Topics, Herder Institute and Leibniz Institute.

My article ‘Ukraine and Putin’s Post-Soviet Imperialism’ was published in Political Insight in March 2022.

My chapter on recent historical politics in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, ‘The Securitization of Entangled Historical Identity? Local and National History Discourses in Dnipro During the Poroshenko Presidency’, was published in Amacher, K., Portnov, A. and Serhiienko, V. (eds.), Official History in Eastern Europe: Transregional Perspectives Osnabrück: Fibre Verlag, 2021.

September 2022: EUTIM visiting researcher at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) / Słubice.  

October-November 2021: graduate student research fellow at the Chair of the Entangled History of Ukraine at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) / Słubice.  

Research interests: Ukraine; the post-Soviet relationship between Ukraine and Russia; the securitisation of historical memory; narrative as argument; affect in political communication; historical politics, identity politics and decolonisation; intersubjectivity between academic discourse, elite public discourse and government policy formation. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ursula-woolley-8bb84425/