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Alcoholism, Degeneration, and Ukrainian Nationalism: Doctor Sofia Parfanovych and the Vidrodzhennia Anti-Alcohol Society in the Interwar Galicia
Presenter(s): Kateryna Ryban
New York University
December 8, 2018, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Analyzing writings of Dr. Parfanovych, a political activist and the head of the Vidrodzhennia (Renaissance) Anti-Alcohol Society allows to see how medical professionals politicized certain social and medical conditions, putting them into the spotlight of nationalist educational work. While it was illnesses of an alcohol-addicted individual that doctors treated, the health of the nation was a key concern of the Vidrodzhennia Society, establishing a direct linkage between sobriety, freedom from alcohol, and Ukrainian political independence. In the Ukrainian anti-alcohol campaigns of the 1930s, “social” and “medical” dimension of alcohol consumption were shifting, shaping a new vision of “social disease” that was highly dangerous for the collective political body of the nation, especially for the next generations. Dr. Parfanovych particularly addressed women as mothers who were responsible for the healthy biological reproduction. Medicalizing the project of political modernization, doctors like Parfanovych attempted to gain more power and authority over each individual body and thus shape the future of the nation.