Article by: Anna Mostovych, Ph.D.
Vasyl Cherepanyn, lecturer in Cultural Studies at the National University of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA) and director of the Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC), was violently attacked in Kyiv on Tuesday, September 23, reports Ukrainska Pravda.
As described in the press release issued by the Visual Culture Research Center, at around 19:15 near the entrance to the Kontraktova Ploshcha metro stop, unknown persons in camouflage suddenly attacked Cherepanyn and began to beat him savagely in front of passers-by.
By the time the police arrived, the attackers had escaped. Cherepanyn suffered serious bodily injuries, including many bruises and broken facial bones. He attributed the attack to his professional activities
Cherepanyn, who holds a Ph.D. in art history, is a lecturer in Cultural Studies at the National University of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA), director of the Visual Culture Research Center, and editor of the journal Political Critique. He is also organizer of numerous conferences, public discussions and art exhibitions, including a series of events for the Maidan Open University. Recently, he was one of the organizers of the international conference Ukraine: Thinking Together, featuring Timothy Snyder, Ivan Krastev, Agnieszka Holland, Paul Berman and other leading world intellectuals.
As noted in the Visual Center’s press release, “at a time when military aggression is being carried out against Ukraine, aggressive young men in military uniforms carry out an unprecedented brutal attack on a university lecturer in the center of the capital,” it states. “Groundless and absurd charges of ‘separatism’ made by the attackers against Cherepanyn are being used by aggressive and ignorant individuals to impose their own ideology of hatred and the rejection of all forms of critical thinking,” the press release concludes.
Cherepanyn figured prominently in the controversy surrounding the art exhibit called The Ukrainian Body, which was held at the Visual Culture Research Center in early 2012. Detractors, including the right-wing Svoboda party, claimed the exhibit was pornographic and promoted homosexuality. NaUKMA administrators closed down the exhibit for public viewing, even though journalists and interested individuals were able to view it privately. At that time, the center, which had been part of the university since 2008, was spun off and continued to operate independently.
In March this year, Cherepanyn issued a public appeal on behalf of the center calling for Russia to cease its military aggression against Ukraine and for the world to support Ukraine’s democratic aspirations.
“This authentically emancipatory national uprising was European in nature,” he wrote. “A new Europe was born on Maidan, a Europe of solidarity, dignity, self-organization, and freedom.”