John Vsetecka

Year in Program: Fourth

Fields: Soviet/East European History (major); Modern European History (major); Communist Studies (minor); Violence and Memory (minor)

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Pauly

Committee: Dr. Matthew Pauly (Chair), Dr. Ronen Steinberg, Dr. Aminda Smith, and Dr. Amy Simon

Research Languages: Ukrainian, Russian

Educational Background: Master of Arts (History)-University of Northern Colorado, 2014; Bachelor of Arts (History; minor in English), 2012.


I am a historian of East-Central Europe, with a particular focus on 20th-century Ukraine. My research surrounds the Holodomor, a man-made famine that desecrated Ukraine between 1932-33. For my M.A. thesis (completed in 2014 at the University of Northern Colorado), I examined survivor testimony to produce a social history that focused solely on survivors and their memories of the famine.

My current research focuses on the aftermath of the 1932-33 and 1946-47 famines in Soviet Ukraine. Particularly, I examine the ways in which Ukrainians (and others) attempted to make sense of the famines they lived through and the processes in which they used to recover their lives. During the 2020-2021 academic year, I will be a Fulbright fellow in Kyiv, Ukraine where I will conduct research for my dissertation “In the Aftermath of Hunger: Recovery, Relief, and Retribution in Soviet Ukraine, 1933-1947.”

I am also the founder and current co-editor of H-Ukraine, part of the larger H-Net platform. You can find more on H-Ukraine here.

I welcome contact from those who have questions about graduate school, history as a discipline, and/or Michigan State University as a whole.

You can find my CV here.