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About Us

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Cambridge Ukrainian Studies is an academic centre 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 500 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 Associate Professor of Ukrainian Studies

Rory Finnin launched Cambridge Ukrainian Studies in 2008. 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. His new book is Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity (University of Toronto Press, 2022).

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

Olenka Pevny, University Associate Professor of Early Slavonic History and Culture

Olenka Pevny 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.

Andrii Smytsniuk, Language Teaching Officer in Ukrainian

Andrii Smytsniuk holds a degree in pedagogical methodology in teaching Ukrainian as a Foreign Language from Ivan Franko National University of L'viv. He has taught Ukrainian at the Ukrainian Catholic University in L'viv and, as a Fulbright Scholar, at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States.

Smytsniuk was a part of the Reform Support Team of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and has consulted the Ukrainian government on questions of education reform and on the development of teaching standards, specifically in the area of ​​language instruction.

In 2020, as a participant of the Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute, Smytsniuk was awarded the Theodosius and Irene Senkowsky Prize for Achievement in Ukrainian Studies. Currently, he s a Chair of Cambridge4Ukraine, a volunteer initiative founded by four Ukrainians in the UK who decided to do everything and a little more to stop Russia's war against Ukraine. His teaching interests include the use of technology in language teaching; his research interests include the interplay between language and identity, orthography, linguistic policy, and language teaching policy.

Recent PhD Awardees

Name College Research Topic Supervisor
Daria Mattingly Robinson College ʻIdle, Drunk and Good-for-Nothing': The Rank-and-File Perpetrators of 1932-1933 Famine in Ukraine Dr Rory Finnin
Iryna Shuvalova St John's College Voices of the War in Donbas: Exploring Identities through the Prism of War Songs Dr Rory Finnin
Jon Roozenbeek Darwin College Media and Identity in Wartime Donbas, 2014-2017 Dr Rory Finnin
Bohdan Tokarskyi St John's College 'A Fragment of Wholeness': The Making of the Poetic Subject in Vasyl Stus's Palimpsests Dr Rory Finnin

PhD Candidates

Name College Research Topic Supervisor
Mariia Terentieva Queens' College From Informal Social Capital to Public (Self)-Service: Exploring Digital Civil Society in Post-2013 Ukraine Dr Rory Finnin


Contact information

University of Cambridge
Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages
Sidgwick Avenue

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

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Upcoming events

Latest News

Slavonic Studies Taster Day

21 May 2024

Nations and Cultures Academic Taster Day: Polish, Russian & Ukrainian Calling all Slavonic-curious linguists, literary critics, cultural historians and political scientists! Applications are open until 9 June , for the Cambridge University Slavonic Studies Taster Day on Wednesday 3 July. This event is followed by the...

Rory Finnin Wins Two ASEEES Book Prizes

21 September 2023

We are delighted to share that Professor Rory Finnin has been awarded two prestigious prizes by the Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) for his book Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity (University of Toronto Press, 2022). These ASEEES prizes follow on from two other awards for Blood of Others announced earlier this year.