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Cambridge Ukrainian Studies

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


About Us

'Shevchenko Way', a University of Cambridge street named after Taras Shevchenko in 2013-14

Cambridge Ukrainian Studies is an academic centre in the Department of Slavonic Studies in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge. It was launched in 2008 to advance knowledge about Ukraine, the largest country within Europe. Cambridge Ukrainian Studies was made permanent in 2010. Since its inception, the programme has trained over 400 students.

Cambridge Ukrainian Studies works in partnership with the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES) and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).

Rory Finnin, University Senior Lecturer in Ukrainian Studies

Rory Finnin is the Founding Director of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies. He gives lectures and supervisions to undergraduate and postgraduate students on Ukrainian culture and society. He leads Papers SL 9 and SL 10 and teaches an MPhil module in Russian, Polish and Ukrainian literatures and nationalisms. In 2015 Finnin won a Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecturer from the Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU), the representative body for all students at the University.

Finnin's primary research interest is the interplay of literature and national identity in Ukraine. He also works in Russian, Turkish, and Crimean Tatar literatures. His broader interests include solidarity studies, nationalism theory, human rights discourse, and problems of cultural memory in the region of the Black Sea.

Finnin received his PhD in Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He is also a Fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge; former Chair of the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES) (2011-2018); and former Head of the Department of Slavonic Studies (2014-2018). He also directs (with Sander van der Linden in the Department of Social Psychology) the University's Special Interest Group on Disinformation and Media Literacy. He is on research leave in the 2019-20 academic year.

Olenka Pevny, University Lecturer in Early Slavonic History and Culture

Olenka Pevny is Director of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies. She studies the art and culture of Kyivan Rus’ and Ruthenia. She is particularly interested in the reception and acculturation of the Orthodox tradition in Eastern Slavic lands and in the place of visual culture in narratives of national, regional, religious and gender identity. Her involvement in conservation and preservation initiatives guides her interest in the ways in which scholars, theorists, politicians and cultural activists in the late Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and contemporary Ukraine and Russia relate to and interact with the medieval past. In the summer of 2016, she organised and led a field research trip for Cambridge postgraduates to medieval sites of interest in Ukraine.

Prior to arriving in Cambridge, Dr. Pevny was Associate Professor of Byzantine and Medieval Art History and Chair of the Art and Art History Department at the University of Richmond, VA. She has worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, in a curatorial capacity on The Glory of Byzantium exhibition, and as an archaeologist in Crimea and Greece. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

Dr. Pevny is completing work on a monograph on the medieval Church of St. Cyril of Alexandria in Kyiv and the transformation in its form and decoration over the centuries. Her current research interests include medieval Chernihiv; confessionalism and visual culture in Volyn’ and Zhytomyr; the Cossack Baroque; and the art and architecture of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Kyiv.

PhD Candidates

Name College Research Topic Supervisor
Daria Mattingly Robinson College Forgotten Soldiers of the Grain Front: Cultural Memory of the Rank-and-File Perpetrators of the Holodomor Dr Rory Finnin
Iryna Shuvalova St John's College Representations of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath in Ukrainian Poetry Dr Rory Finnin
Jon Roozenbeek Darwin College The Construction of Narrative Borders by Russian, Western and Ukrainian Media within Ukraine Dr Rory Finnin
Mariia Terentieva Queens' College Transformations of New Media in Participatory Society: Investigating Public (Self-)Service Media in Ukraine Dr Rory Finnin
Bohdan Tokarskyi St John's College The Planet of Heart: Vasyl Stus's Poetry of Becoming Self Dr Rory Finnin


Contact information

University of Cambridge
Department of Slavonic Studies

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages
Sidgwick Avenue

Telephone: +44 (0)1223 335 007
Email: info [at] cambridgeukrainianstudies [dot] org