Dr. Irena Makaryk

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.