KU welcomes Ukrainian food anthropologist, historian as visiting professor

Ihor Lylo 

LAWRENCE — An anthropologist and historian from Lviv, Ukraine, with expertise in the cultural exchange and culinary traditions of Eastern Europe has joined the University of Kansas for the 2024-25 calendar year.

The departments of Slavic, German & Eurasian Studies and History are supporting Ihor Lylo as a visiting assistant professor as part of the Scholars at Risk Network’s initiative to protect scholars in crisis.

As part of his appointment, Lylo will deliver a public talk titled "Food as Power: Between Decolonization and Nationalism of the Gastronomic Culture," which will take place at 7 p.m. April 15 at the Hall Center for the Humanities Conference Hall, with an option for audiences to watch online.

The event will explore the cultural significance and influence of Eastern European gastronomic traditions, particularly on Ukrainian cuisine. Lylo argues that traditional gastronomic practices of social and religious groups play a crucial role in shaping collective memory. This poses a danger to totalitarian regimes that use food and supply security as a tool of terror or political propaganda.

During his time at KU, Lylo also teaches the SGES course REES 110: Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe as well as HIST 390/SLAV 379: Cultural Heritage of Ukraine while continuing his own research.

Lylo recently served as a visiting professor of history as part of the Scholar at Risk program at the University of California, San Diego. He was a researcher and educator at the King John III Palace Museum in Warsaw and held professorships at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, and the Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, Ukraine.

Lylo's publications include the co-written “Lviv Cuisine” (in Ukrainian), published by Znak Krakow in 2023 and “UKRAINE: Food and History” (in English, French, Italian and German), published in 2021. He has written several travel guides of Ukraine.

Lylo’s appointment has been made possible through contributions from various university units, including the SGES and history departments, Office of Research, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Hall Center, the Institute for Policy & Social Research and Institute for Global & International Engagement, as well as the Scholars at Risk Network.