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oksana lutsyshyna, poland, 2012-2013

Fulbright Year: 2012-2013
Country: Poland
Proposal Type: Research
Proposal Title: Towards the Theory of Phantasmagoria: In Search of Bruno Schulz’s City-Text
UGA Major/Department: Comparative Literature
Degrees: B.A., Comparative Literature, University of South Florida
Hometown: Tampa, FL

Oksana Lutsyshyna’s Fulbright year will find her in Krakow, Poland, conducting research on author and painter Bruno Schulz (1892-1942), but it also sounds as if she’s also about to embark on a compelling international mystery sojourn.

“Bruno Schulz’s legacy has a long become sort of a detective story in academia,” said the Ph.D. candidate, who will study at Jagiellonian University, which possesses a Schulz portfolio with one of his original drawings. “His archive was confiscated by the Soviet KGB after World War II; the murals he painted on the walls of a building in his native Drohobych (a city once located in Poland, now in Ukraine) were stolen and taken out of the country.”

“It’s very hard to stumble upon Schulz’s original work, so when you know you have a chance to actually see it and experience it, you just don’t hesitate.”

A native of the Ukrainian region known as Transcarpathia (located near Transylvania), Oksana – who will study under Professor Jerzy Jarebski at Jagiellonian University – has been to Krakow before, although she admits her first visit didn’t yield much but a pair of blue jeans.

“When the borders were finally opened in 1991, we all traveled to the neighboring countries, but not for fun; the governments did not exchange money but you could bring different kinds of stuff over to sell it and spend the money on buying what you needed,” she said. “I visited Krakow’s market place on the outskirts of town. I was 17 and I was proudly selling children’s potties and with the money I raised, I bought, of course, a pair of jeans.”

While living in Ukraine, Oksana participated in the Fulbright-administrated Junior Faculty Development Program (which sends young faculty from developing countries to the United States to observe American teaching methods) and she says she knows better than to predict what experiences she’ll have during her year in Krakow.

“Technically, if you live abroad, you are constantly in the space of learning,” she said. “It’s a misconception, thinking that you can plan your experiences. I do look forward to being immersed in the Polish language, though. This is what makes everything alive and real – the language, its sounds and its system of meanings.”

Saying she “truly hopes to make a contribution into Schulzian studies,” Oksana looks forward to working with Jarzebski, fully investigating “a different kind of Krakow,” and seeing her family.

“Ukraine is right around the corner,” she said. “I am going to present a paper at an international Schulz festival in Drohobych and it’s only a few hours by train from where my parents live.”

With the long-term aim of becoming a professor, Oksana hopes her Fulbright year will further her vision of bringing different cultures together.

“I am sure my Fulbright year will be invaluable to me in terms of international experience and the experience of grant writing,” she said. “But most importantly, I see myself as a kind of bridge, or, to sound more formal, a cultural ambassador, and I hope to use any expertise I have or will have – thanks to my Fulbright year – to work towards strengthening ties between cultures and nations, in or out of academia.”

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