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Reviewed by:
Christopher Hann and Paul Robert Magocsi, editors. Galicia: A Multicultured Land University of Toronto Press. x, 260. $65.00, $35.00

With the passage of time, the former Habsburg province of Galicia, which existed between 1772 and 1918 and is now divided between Poland and Ukraine, has only gained allure in the eyes of historians and social anthropologists. Once a multicultural eastern borderland in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, and other nationalities lived together for centuries, during the last hundred years Galicia saw its coexistence patterns destroyed in the fires of ethnic nationalism and totalitarianism. The collapse of the Habsburg Empire brought about an ethnic conflict between Poles and Ukrainians, the Nazi occupation regime wiped out Galicia's Jews, and for the first time in history the postwar resettlement programs made the two halves of Galicia almost homogeneous – overwhelmingly Ukrainian in the east and Polish in the west.

Contemporary nationalists and many twentieth-century historians lauded the transformation of multinational empires into nation-states. However, now that Europe is moving beyond the idea of a nation-state and its historians beyond the national history paradigm, Galicia's common multicultural past under the Habsburgs has become more interesting than the separate national histories of its various peoples. The excellent collection edited by Christopher Hann and Paul Robert Magocsi is thus at the cutting edge of European Studies.

The editors have assembled an impressive international team of experts, who focus on three main themes in Galicia's past and present. The authors of the first three articles concentrate on the history of ethnic and religious [End Page 362] coexistence in Galicia before the age of modern nationalism. Paul Robert Magocsi provides a helpful historical overview of the region's ethnic make-up, while John-Paul Himka surveys its confessional history. Jerzy Motylewicz discusses the ethnic make-up of Galicia's towns between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, including the patterns of settlement and balance of power within the guilds. Stanisław Stęńpień portrays the city of Przemyśl during the early nineteenth century as a vibrant multicultural locale, where a Ukrainian cultural revival was facilitated, not hindered, by close co-operation between Ukrainian, Polish, and Czech intellectuals. The next group of articles is devoted to the period when modern nationalist mobilization and religious strife destroyed the previous patterns of tolerance. Volodymyr Potulnytskyi shows how Galician identity came to be understood as a regional variant of a common Ukrainian identity. Kai Struve deals with the mobilization of Galician peasants for the Ukrainian and Polish national movements by way of patriotic celebrations. Harald H. Jepsen discusses the reintroduction of the Orthodox Church in Galicia during the twentieth century and the attendant conflicts. Anna Veronica Wendland studies the way official politics of memory in interwar Poland translated into denunciations of neighbours in the city of Lviv. Finally, the authors of the last three articles address present-day efforts to redefine Galicia as Poland's 'European' past (Luiza Bialasiewicz), as a stronghold of Ukrainian identity (Yaroslav Hrytsak), and as a land of confessional coexistence (Christopher Hann).

Written by scholars coming from different disciplines and diverse national schools, the articles in this collection nevertheless fit together remarkably well. This is partly because all the contributors share a critical attitude to nationalist mythologies and are engaged in a common project of recovering Galician diversity, which had been manipulated into cultural homogeneity. As is the case with other recent history books from University of Toronto Press, a tasteful cover design adds to the attractiveness of this thought-provoking collection.

Serhy Yekelchyk

Serhy Yekelchyk, Department of History, University of Victoria

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 362-363
Launched on MUSE
2007-03-27
Open Access
No
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