Wilson Center Projects
Dnipropetrovsk: Managing the Transition, 1987-1997
Shawn Conroy is a third-year PhD candidate in Eurasian history at the Ohio State University working under Prof. David Hoffmann. His dissertation topic examines how the Dnipropetrovsk region managed the transition from Soviet to independent Ukraine, focusing on the period 1987-1997. The project covers themes of state-building and center-region relations. Actors of relevance to the project include politicians, industrial leaders, and members of the intelligentsia, among others.
He first became interested in Ukraine through a gap year in Vladimir, Russia teaching English. Faced with a barrage of unprompted Russian opinions on Ukraine, he began to learn more about Ukraine for himself. By the time he entered his PhD program, he had changed his dissertation focus from Russia to Ukraine.
After completing my candidacy exams in the summer of 2021, he began preparations to travel to Ukraine to gather dissertation research material; however, COVID (and, it turned out, intelligence reports) prevented me from using his Boren grant. Nevertheless, Shawn could not resist the researcher’s drive and decided to travel to Ukraine anyway in January 2022. Shawn spent just two—albeit very productive—weeks in Kyiv before the State Department requested that all American citizens leave the country.
Since Russia expanded its invasion of Ukraine—first started in 2014—on February 24, he has conducted research trips to Harvard and Stanford (Hoover Institution).
Shawn thank the Kennan Institute for the opportunity to finish the gathering stage of his dissertation research. The summer research grant will help to contribute to the scholarship on Ukraine and inform more people about the unique and riveting history of Ukraine.