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Dr Rory Finnin

Rory Finnin
Position(s): 
Head, Department of Slavonic Studies
University Senior Lecturer in Ukrainian Studies
Director, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies programme
Chair, Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES)
Department/Section: 
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 335 007
Location: 

Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DA
United Kingdom

About: 

Dr Rory Finnin directs the Ukrainian Studies programme at Cambridge and chairs the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES). He received his PhD (with distinction) in Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He also holds Certificates from the Harriman Institute and from the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.

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.

Research interests: 

Rory Finnin's primary research interest is the interplay of literature and national identity in Ukraine. He also studies Soviet Russian dissident literature, Turkish nationalist literature, and Crimean Tatar literature. His broader interests include nationalism theory, human rights discourse, and problems of cultural memory. Finnin's current project is a comparative study of the role of lyric poetry in the emergence of modern European nationalisms.

Published works: 

Selected publications:

  • '"A Bridge Between Us": Literature in the Ukrainian - Crimean Tatar Encounter', Comparative Literature Studies (forthcoming)
  • 'Captive Turks: Crimean Tatars in Pan-Turkist Literature', Middle Eastern Studies 50.2 (Spring 2014)
  • Remembering Katyn, co-authored with Alexander Etkind, Uillieam Blacker, Julie Fedor, Simon Lewis, Maria Mälksoo and Matilda Mroz, Polity Press (2012)
  • 'The Poetics of Home: Crimean Tatars in Nineteenth-Century Russian and Turkish Literatures', Comparative Literature Studies 49.1 (January 2012)
  • 'Forgetting Nothing, Forgetting No One: Boris Chichibabin, Viktor Nekipelov, and the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars', Modern Language Review 106.4 (September 2011)
  • 'Nationalism and the Lyric; or, How Taras Shevchenko Speaks to Compatriots Dead, Living, and Unborn', Slavonic and East European Review 89: 1 (January 2011)
  • 'Silence and Extinction in Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors', Slavic and East European Performance 28.1 (Winter 2008) 


  • 'Attendants to the Duel: Classical Intertexts in Desportes's "Adieu a la Pologne" and Kochanowski's "Gallo Crocitanti"', Comparative Literature Studies 44.4 (Winter 2007)
  • 'Mountains, Masks, Metre, Meaning: Taras Shevchenko's Kavkaz,' Slavonic and East European Review 83:3 (July 2005) 


  • 'Prelude to a Revolution: Reflections on Observing the 2004 Presidential Elections in Ukraine', with Adriana Helbig, Harriman Review 15:2-3 (May 2005). Reprinted in Aspects of the Orange Revolution, ed. Ingmar Bredies et al., vol. 4 (Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2007)

Selected commentary:

  • 'A Revolution of Languages, One Hundred Years On', Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (March 2018)
  • 'Reality Check: Ukraine's Multilingualism', Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (January 2017)
  • 'Don't Call It a Civil War: Ukraine's Conflict Is an Act of Russian Aggression', with Thomas D. Grant, The Conversation (August 2015)
  • 'Fighting "Crimnesia": The Question of Crimea in the Russia-Ukraine War', Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (April 2015). In Ukrainian translation: 'Поборюючи “кримнезію”: постійне питання Криму в російсько-українській війні', Historians.in.ua (April 2015). Also in Ukrainian as 'Не про Україну...', Всесвіт 5-6 (2015), pp. 225-27
  • 'Ukrainian Studies in Europe: New Possibilities', Journal of Ukrainian Politics and Society (April 2015)
  • 'Navigating the "Arm Ukraine" Debate', Huffington Post (February 2015)
  • 'After Russia's Annexation of Crimea, a Nation under Siege', Huffington Post (September 2014)
  • 'The Crimean Tatar Sürgün: Past and Present', Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities  (May 2014). In Turkish translation: 'Kırım Tatar Sürgünu: Geçmis ve Bügün', Emel 246 (December 2014)
  • 'A Divided Ukraine: Europe's Most Dangerous Idea', Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities  (March 2014)
  • 'Ukrainians: Expect-the-Unexpected Nation', Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities  (December 2013). In Ukrainian translation: 'Українці: сподівано-несподівана нація', Krytyka.com (December 2013). In Russian translation: 'Украинцы: ожидаемо-неожиданная нация', Historians.in.ua (January 2014)

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Slavonic News

'Brilliantly original': Night Train Theatre and Cambridge Revive the Work of Mykola Kulish

19 July 2018

A brilliantly original and powerfully acted revival of Mykola Kulish’s controversial 1933 play Maklena Grasa is playing to packed houses in London. It is a product of work in the Cambridge Ukrainian Studies programme in the Slavonic Studies Section at Cambridge.

Natalia Sutta (1921-2018)

16 July 2018

Natalia Iosipovna Sutta ("Mrs Sutta") died last Saturday evening at her home in Cambridge. She was 96½. She taught Russian language at Cambridge University from 1970 to 1991. There will be a small family gathering, celebrating her life, at 9.15am on Thursday 19 July, at Cambridge City Crematorium, Small Chapel. All are welcome to join to remember this remarkable lady.