Muskingum University Associate Professor of Political Science Richard Arnold recently completed a five-month Fulbright Scholar experience in Poland, from September 2022 to February 2023.
Dr. Arnold’s research expertise is the post-Soviet region, particularly the Cossack movement and its role in both Ukrainian and Russian national identity. In early 2022, he received a Fulbright grant for teaching and study in Ukraine. His experience was relocated to Poland after war was declared.
He was based at the University of Wroclaw, where he taught a master’s level course on ethnic conflict and nationalism and a bachelor’s level course on international politics and sports. He conducted research on the perceptions of the Cossacks, holding in-person focus groups with Ukrainian refugees in Poland and online interviews with Ukrainian fighters in the war.
Highlights of his time in Poland include visiting the train station in the Polish border town of Przemyśl which has become the hub for travel to and from Ukraine; delivering a remote presentation on the causes of the Russian invasion for a conference in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, during which connectivity was unstable due to the bombardment of the utility infrastructure; and attending President Joe Biden’s February 21 speech in Warsaw on a backstage pass as a guest of the U.S. Embassy. He also attended conferences in Helsinki, Finland and Wittenberg, Germany.
“Teaching and studying in Poland in the current political climate was an incredible experience,” Dr. Arnold said. “It was very humbling to spend time with Ukrainian refugees as well as to see Ukrainian students in my classes return home to a war zone for the Christmas holidays. It gives quite a perspective on all that we take for granted living in the United States. I am very grateful to the Fulbright program, Muskingum University, and my wife Kerry for their support of this opportunity, which is allowing me to help raise further awareness of the situation in the Ukraine and assist the Ukrainian people through my research.”
Dr. Arnold also received a grant from the U.S. Department of State to support additional research at the University of Toronto, where he will spend the remainder of the current academic year. He will return to Muskingum’s classrooms at the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester.