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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Stefan Lacny

PhD Candidate
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom

Teaching interests: 
  • SLA3: Introduction to Russian Culture
  • SL13: Introduction to the Language, Literature and Culture of Poland

Languages (in addition to English)     

  • French (advanced)
  • Russian (advanced)
  • Polish (intermediate)
  • Spanish (intermediate)
  • Ukrainian (basic)
  • German (basic)
Research interests: 

My doctoral research investigates how early Soviet cinema processed its encounters with cultural “others” in the USSR’s western borderlands in the period 1925-1941, with a particular focus on the region of Western Ukraine. Through a close analysis of a range of feature and documentary films made both in the Soviet centre and in the national republics, I examine cinematic depictions of Poles, Western Ukrainians, Jews and ethnic groups such as the Hutsuls, recognising Western Ukraine as a diverse meeting place of multiple nationalities and traditions that posed challenges to Soviet attempts to incorporate the region into established frameworks of Soviet Ukrainian identity. Taking as a focal point the Soviet annexation of Western Ukraine in September 1939, the project explores Soviet models of appropriation and “othering” in cultural discourse and questions whether Sovietisation in the period 1939-1941 was a process solely based on homogenisation. My research also considers the extent to which the annexation of Western Ukraine influenced formulations of Soviet Ukrainian identity and touches on the significance of borders in the Soviet cultural imagination before and after 1939.

Prior to my doctoral studies, I completed a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Russian) and an MPhil in European Literatures and Cultures (specialising in Slavonic Studies) at the University of Cambridge. Subsequently, I worked at the European Parliament in Luxembourg and taught at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, before coming back to Cambridge in October 2019.

Research Topic

Foreign Encounters in the Western Borderlands: Depictions of Western Ukraine in Soviet Cinema, 1925-1941


  • Trinity College Internal Graduate Studentship
  • Trinity College Pre-Research Studentship for Linguistic Study
  • Zdanowich Prize for Polish Studies (2019 and 2021)

Conference Papers

  • "'Ukrainian in Form, Socialist in Content?' The Soviet Conquest of Western Ukraine in Cinema, 1939-1941", Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Studies Conference (Virtual), 25-27 March and 2-3 April 2022. 

  • "Creating 'Otherness' in the Western Borderlands: the Image of the Pole in Soviet Cinema, 1925-1941", British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies Annual Conference 2022, Robinson College, University of Cambridge, 8-10 April 2022. 

  • "Learning to be Soviet: the Reconfigured Image of the Pole in Soviet Cinema, 1939-1941", Association for the Study of Nationalities Convention (Virtual), 4-7 May 2022. 

  • "Constructing the Ukrainian Internal 'Other': Soviet Cinematic Depictions of Western Ukraine, 1939-1941", Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, 10-13 November 2022.