Alexander J. Motyl

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Alexander John Motyl. 2012. Ukrainian cultural center (in the library of the UKCentre), Donetsk, Ukraine Motil'1.jpg
Alexander John Motyl. 2012. Ukrainian cultural center (in the library of the UKCentre), Donetsk, Ukraine

Alexander John Motyl (Ukrainian : Олександр Мотиль; born October 21, 1953) is an American historian, political scientist, poet, writer, translator and artist-painter. He is a resident of New York City. He is professor of political science at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey and a specialist on Ukraine, Russia, and the Soviet Union.


Motyl's parents emigrated as refugees from Western Ukraine after World War II, when the region was occupied by the Soviet Union. [1] He was born in New York City on October 21, 1953. He graduated from Regis High School in New York City in 1971. He studied at Columbia University, graduating with a BA in History in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Political Science in 1984. [2] Motyl has taught at Columbia University, Lehigh University, the Ukrainian Free University, the Kyiv-Mohyla University, and Harvard University and is currently[ when? ] professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark. [3] Aside from academic work, he also writes opinion columns in publications such as Foreign Policy , [4] 19FortyFive, and the Kyiv Post . [5]

Academic career

Motyl is the author of eight academic books and editor or co-editor of over fifteen volumes. [6] Motyl has written extensively on the Soviet Union, Ukraine, revolutions, nations and nationalism, and empires. [7] All his work is highly conceptual and theoretical, attempting to ground political science in a firm philosophical base, while simultaneously concluding that all theories are imperfect and that theoretical pluralism is inevitable. In Imperial Ends (2001), he posited a theoretical framework for examining the structure of empires as a political structure. [8] Motyl describes three types of imperial structures: continuous, discontinuous, and hybrid. [9] Motyl also posits varying degrees of empire: formal, informal, and hegemonic. He discussed the Russian example in an earlier book, The Post Soviet Nations. [10] [11]

Other activities

Motyl is also active as a poet, a writer of fiction, and a visual artist. [7] A collection of his poems have appeared in "Vanishing Points". [12] His novels include Whiskey Priest (2005), Who Killed Andrei Warhol (2007), Flippancy (2009), The Jew Who Was Ukrainian, My Orchidia (2012), Sweet Snow (2013), Fall River, Vovochka (2015), Ardor (2016), A Russian in Berlin (2021), Pitun's Last Stand (2021) and Lowest East Side (2022). [7] [12] He has done readings of his fiction and poetry at New York's Cornelia Street Cafe and Bowery Poetry Club. Motyl has had one-man shows of his art in New York, Toronto, and Philadelphia. His artwork is part on the permanent collections of the Ukrainian Museum in New York City and the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Winnipeg. [7]

Motyl is also a contributing editor to the national security publication 19FortyFive. He is the 2019 Laureate of the Omelian and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation. According to Academic Influence, Motyl was ranked sixth among the “Top Ten Most Influential Political Scientists Today.”

In 2008–2014, he collaborated with former Andy Warhol Superstar Ultra Violet on a play entitled Andy vs. Adolf, which attempted to explore the similarities and differences between Warhol and Hitler. Although two readings of the play took place, the work was never produced. Motyl subsequently described his working relationship with Ultra Violet in an essay in the magazine 34th Parallel.[ citation needed ]

In a review of his novel The Jew Who Was Ukrainian, Michael Johnson wrote in The American Spectator:

Protagonist Volodymyr Frauenzimmer was born of a rape at the end of World War II, when his mother was a Ukrainian Auschwitz guard who hates Jews and his father a Stalinist thug and Jew who hates Ukrainians. They married but lived in separate rooms and rarely spoke to each other... Alexander Motyl was clearly having great fun when he wrote his latest book, The Jew Who Was Ukrainian, a comic novel with half-serious historical underpinnings. It manages to amuse and challenge without losing its headlong momentum into the realm of absurdist literature. [13]

Selected works

Academic books

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Korenizatsiia</span> 1920s Soviet policy of promoting its indigenous ethnic groups

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The history of Kyiv (Kiev), officially begins when it was founded in 482, but the city may date back at least 2,000 years. Archaeologists have dated the oldest known settlement in the area to 25,000 BC. Initially a 6th-century Slavic settlement, it gradually acquired eminence as the center of East Slavic civilization. Kyiv's Golden Age as the capital of medieval Kievan Rus' came from 879 to 1240.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bibliography of Ukrainian history</span>

This is a select bibliography of English-language books and journal articles about the history of Ukraine. Book entries have references to journal reviews about them when helpful and available. Additional bibliographies can be found in many of the book-length works listed below. See the bibliography section for several additional book and chapter-length bibliographies from academic publishers and online bibliographies from historical associations and academic institutions.


  1. "The Reminiscences of Alexander J. Motyl". Harriman Institute . 26 July 2016.
  2. "BOOKSHELF". Columbia College Today. September 2005. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  3. "Faculty Q&A with Alexander Motyl". Rutgers Focus. December 31, 1969. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  4. Motyl, Alexander J. (7 January 2023). "Alexander J. Motyl". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  5. "Alexander J. Motyl, Author at Kyiv Post". Kyiv Post. 8 May 2022. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  6. "Alexander Motyl". European Leadership Network.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Dr. Alexander Motyl, a scholar and an artist". Rutgers University.
  8. Motyl, Alexander J. (2001). "Information". Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires. Columbia University Press. ISBN   978-0-231-12110-1.
  9. Bromund, Ted (May 2002). "Bromund on Motyl, 'Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires'". Humanities and Social Sciences Online.
  10. Kirrilov, Victor B. (April 1, 1996). "Book Reviews : The Post-Soviet Nations. Perspectives on the Demise of the USSR edited by Alexander J. Motyl. New York, Columbia University Press, 1995". International Relations. 13 (1): 104–106. doi:10.1177/004711789601300109. S2CID   144917880.
  11. "Alexander Motyl". 19FortyFive. Retrieved 2022-09-21.
  12. 1 2 Saunders, Robert A. (December 8, 2015). "On Putin, Politics, and Popular Culture: An Interview with Alexander J. Motyl". E-International Relations.
  13. Johnson, Michael (July 18, 2011). "A Romp Through History". The American Spectator. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2015.