Blog Archive

11 Dec 2013

Dr. Mark Andryczyk


When you help Dr. Mark Andryczyk, you help many


Robert F. Clark Graduate Fellowship in Ukrainian Language and Literature, 1998-2005
CFUS Scholarly Publications Program Grant, 2011

Mark is the administrator of the Ukrainian Studies Program and lecturer in Ukrainian Literature at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Columbia University.

He grew up in the Ukrainian American community of Philadelphia, going to a Saturday School and enjoying his time in the Ukrainian American Scouting Organization, Plast USA. It was in the 1990’s, however, when he began traveling to Ukraine, that he developed his real interest in the country and its culture.

“There were exciting things going on in Ukraine. I became really interested and involved in its culture and literature.”

After several trips to Ukraine, including brief periods living there, he returned home and back to university. Already with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering under his belt, he wanted to concentrate on his newly developed fascination. He earned a Masters in Central and European Studies from Le Salle University in Philadelphia.

He continued his studies at the University of Toronto Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, first earning his Masters and later his PhD in Ukrainian Literature.

“University of Toronto has one of the best, most diverse Slavic programs in North America. It’s doubtful anyone involved in Ukrainian studies anywhere is unaware of it.”

The financial commitment required to earn a PhD is onerous for any student. Not being a resident of Ontario, it was an even bigger challenge for Mark. He believes he would not have been able to do it without the help of CFUS. To support his studies at U of T, CFUS awarded him the Robert F. Clark Graduate Fellowship in Ukrainian Language and Literature. (insert link when available.)

As well as lecturing at Columbia, Mark continues to research, write and translate. In 2012, he published The Intellectual as Hero in 1990s Ukrainian Fiction, the first English monograph on post-Soviet Ukrainian literature. A CFUS Scholarly Publication Grant (insert link when available) enabled him to hire an indexer to prepare the work for publication by University of Toronto Press.

“Many of the writers in this first wave are leading writers in Ukraine today. Able to write and publish freely, they established paradigms that are still being followed.”

Mark thinks the support CFUS gives to the publication of translations and scholarly works is imperative. Some of the cost of publication falls to writers themselves. And there is a growing body of translation, his own and others, that remains unpublished. He and other lecturers depend on these works to teach. More then helping just the writer, they help every professor and every student of Ukrainian studies.

“The more materials students can work with, the better.”

Mark is currently working on an anthology of Ukrainian literature translations. He plans to spend the summer of 2013 in Ukraine presenting his own book and meeting and working with writers. Among the writers he’ll be working with is Yuri Andrukhovych, whose work he plans on translating.

11 Dec 2013

Dr. Irena Makaryk


Dr. Irena Makaryk puts Ukrainian achievement on a world stage.


CFUS Scholarly Publications Program Grant (year?)
Danylo Husar Struk & Oksana Pisetska Struk Endowment Fund, 2011

Dr. Makaryk is Professor of English with a cross-appointment to the Department of Theatre at the University of Ottawa. She has been teaching at the University for the past 32 years, where she has also occupied a number of administrative positions. The most recent of these is that of Vice-Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

“One of my goals is to bring to the attention of a wide audience the achievements of Ukrainian culture, especially theatre.”

Dr. Makaryk considers her work to be an act of “bridging” her research interests across a variety of disciplines, including English, Theatre, Slavic Studies, History, and Cultural Politics. Her research and publication focus has been on Shakespeare’s “afterlife” (the critical and theatrical reception of his works – and a prism through which cultural and ideological concerns may be examined); Ukrainian modernism; and theatre during periods of great social duress.

Her Shakespeare in the Undiscovered Bourn: Les Kurbas, Ukrainian Modernism, and Early Soviet Cultural Politics is the first book in English to analyse the Shakespeare productions of the theatrical genius and polymath Les Kurbas. The book also deals more broadly with the concept of theatrical modernism in Ukraine and was the runner-up for the Raymond Klibansky Prize for the best scholarly book published in English in the humanities in Canada. Translated into Ukrainian as Peretvorennia Shekspira [Transformation of Shakespeare], it won the Book of the Year Award for Literary Criticism in Ukraine (sponsored by Kyiv-Mohyla State University and Litakcent Journal). The translation book would not have been possible without the help of the Danylo Husar Struk & Oksana Pisetska Struk Endowment Fund. (Link to award description when available.)

“CFUS fulfills an essential service not only to the Ukrainian community broadly conceived, but also to the wider reading public.”

Modernism in Kyiv: Jubilant Experimentation (with Virlana Tkacz) is the first book to examine the city of Kyiv as an important centre of modernist experimentation, and the first to examine the contribution of various groups (Ukrainian, Jewish, Russian, German, Polish) to the creation of great modernist and avant-garde works. A Scholarly Publications Grant from CFUS was instrumental in the last phase of the project, when an indexer was hired to work on the manuscript. (Link to grant description when available.) The book is currently being translated into Ukrainian, thanks again, in part, to a grant from CFUS.

Shakespeare in the Worlds of Communism and Socialism (with Joseph G. Price) also brings to a wider audience the achievements of Ukrainian theatre artists. Similarly dealing with little-known Ukrainian subject matter is About the Harrowing of Hell: A Seventeenth-Century Ukrainian Play in Its European Context, the first translation into English and first sustained critical analysis of this17th century gem of a play.

Among Dr. Makaryk’s other notable achievements is the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory, currently being translated into Arabic and Chinese. On the list of the University of Toronto Press’s One Hundred Most Influential Books (2001), it was also a Doubleday Book Club choice.

Her most recent publication, Shakespeare and the Second World War: Memory, Culture, Identity (with Marissa McHugh), reflects her continuing interest in the place of culture within the context of great social, economic, and political upheavals.

Dr. Makaryk is currently at work on a new book examining the impact of Soviet theatre arts at the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et industriels modernes, as well its impact elsewhere.

11 Dec 2013

Alexandra Stadnyk


Alexandra Stadnyk asks the difficult questions


Stephania Bubniuk Award in Journalism Studies, 2007
Olga Wirsta Award in Communications, Journalism and Media Studies, 2007

With Ukrainian grandfathers on both sides, Alexandra grew up steeped in the culture of Toronto’s Ukrainian Canadian community. Her Ukrainian education began early, with attendance at a Saturday School and elementary schools that offered Ukrainian language classes. She was also a member of the Ukrainian Youth Association and attended summer camps, both as a camper and later as a counselor.

“As a child, I was fully immersed in the Ukrainian Canadian experience.”

Alexandra’s interest in journalism developed while she was studying for her undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. She wrote about events taking place in Ukraine for the mass media in Waterloo. She also wrote an article for The Cord, the university’s student newspaper, about the Holodomor, the Famine-Genocide in Ukraine.

“I developed an interest in journalism during the time of Viktor Yushchenko and the Orange Revolution that swept through Ukraine.”

Alexandra’s Holodomor article sparked much debate on the campus among both students and professors. To support her position that the famine was genocide and should be recognized as such, she researched period documents and past writings as well as interviewed survivor Mykola Latyshko.

After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier, Alexandra went on to earn her Masters in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. As part of her studies, she completed an internship with the Brussels office of Associated Press. She returned to Canada from Brussels with mounting debt, her Master’s degree still incomplete and her future uncertain. Her timely receipt of the Olga Wistra Award in Communications, Journalism and Media Studies and the Stephania Bubniuk Award in Journalism Studies (create hyperlink as the site is built) was welcome news. She credits the award with allowing her to complete her studies.

“When I received the award, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.”

As important as the financing was to her studies, it was more than just money for Alexandra. It gave her confidence. She describes it as a lifeline to the Ukrainian Canadian community and a reassurance that it was thriving.

She speaks passionately about the need to continue researching Ukrainian events. She believes that so much was hidden in Soviet archives, and for so long, that researchers have only begun to uncover the truth. There is still a considerable amount of work to be done, and grants like this can help make it happen.

Today, Alexandra runs her own communications company, Bearwood Consulting, and acts as an independent communications consultant to the energy and electricity sector.

She also maintains her interest in journalism as well as Ukrainian and Ukrainian Canadian culture and history. She continues to discuss her ideas for articles with the editor of the Kyiv Post, where she worked upon graduating from Western. She recently published a story in the Globe & Mail about her grandfather, Stefan Yakubiw. Her grandfather and his generation are also the inspiration for an article she is currently writing on Ukrainian identity. And she continues to be an active member of the Ukrainian Canadian Holodomor Awareness Committee.

11 Dec 2013

Olena Decock


Olena puts theory to practice and takes it on the road.


Olga Wirsta Award in Communications, Journalism, and Media Studies, 2011

Olena Decock is the first graduate of the University of Ottawa to use film as the medium for her Master’s thesis. Her thesis began as an examination of cultural identity as portrayed in Canadian and Quebecois films. She soon understood that film offered a good way to explore her ideas, and also a good way to present them. Combining original and archival footage, Olena delivered her final thesis, with a focus on Ukrainian identity in Canada, in the form of a short film.

Growing up in a Dutch-Ukrainian family in Toronto, Olena didn’t spend much time thinking about cultural identity. Hers was an openly multicultural home in a vibrantly multicultural city. Only upon enrolling at the University of Ottawa to study French literature did she begin to examine the concept of cultural identity. As one of the few non-francophone students in her classes, she observed that her francophone classmates were not only aware of being culturally French, but further identified with the French Canadian subsets such as Quebecois, Acadian, Fransaskois and Franco-Ontarian.

“The two cultural identity constructs in my family are very different.”

While both sets of Olena’s grandparents left their homelands out of necessity, it was her Ukrainian grandparents who suffered the greatest sense of exile. For this reason, she kept her thesis focused on the Ukrainian immigrant experience in Canada.

The cost involved in making a film as opposed to writing a thesis made the winning of the Olga Wistra Award in Communications, Journalism and Media Studies (create hyperlink as the site is built) a welcome event for Olena. The funding has provided her with the means to rent camera equipment, pay the artist’s licensing fee for original music and interview a greater number of Ukrainian Canadians for the film. It has also allowed her to make multiple copies of the finished film that she, in turn, gave back to the community. In addition to giving a copy to the University of Ottawa, she has  provided copies to St. Vladimir Institute and CFUS itself.

“Winning the award meant I was able to make a much deeper, richer film.”

The CFUS foundation did not only provide Olena with financial support; it helped her find subjects for her film and introduced her to other resources, including the Canadian Ukrainian Research and Document Centre and the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies.

When you start to ask the big questions about who you are and where you belong, you realize that you need organizations like CFUS.”

Through the process of making the film, and with the guidance of CFUS, Olena has become more knowledgeable and more engaged with the Ukrainian Canadian community. She feels that the completion of her film is not an end, but a beginning. Even while working full time administrating the Cronenberg Project at Toronto International Film Festival, Olena has taken the time to give an artist’s presentation of her film at St. Vladimir Institute and has interest from other organizations. Because she was able to donate copies of her film, students and others can show the film and continue the discussion provoked by Olena’s work.