Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 promises to be among the critical events moving the end of this epoch in which we live. It has manifestly disrupted, and destroyed, the lives of so many Ukrainians and brought Russians into a criminal assault for which many, including they themselves, must wonder about their culpability. Too many ordinary Germans waited to consider their responsibility until (long) after their Nazi regime fell. Russians should not wait.
This war also follows on the heels of COVID-19 disruptions, and the ever-worsening global climate disaster, all of which, in combination, exacerbate inequalities and magnify risks of multiple waves of catastrophe across the world.
We are all also at risk of thinking about this war through our own preferred lenses, whether shaped by our passports, our familiar solidarities, or our intellectual and political dispositions. But it’s worth considering such globally consequential developments from within the cultural politics of the event itself—a position from which one can better explore its unexpected consequences. Ukrainian voices have been centered, albeit not to the degree one might wish. These frames from within the war might also lead us to rethink our assumptions about the war, what has led to it, and what it means for global social change.