Dr. Robert Romanchuk, Fellow at Harvard, takes his research on the road

Fri, 10/19/18
Robert Romanchuk

Robert Romanchuk, Pribic Family Associate Professor of Slavic in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics and MLL’s Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies from 2014 to 2018, is on a long-awaited sabbatical for the 2018-19 academic year.

In Fall 2018 he is a HURI/Ukrainian Studies Fund Fellow at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard, and will be a Visiting Scholar at UCLA in Spring 2019. He is preparing a critical edition of the Byzantine romantic epic Digenis Akritisin its Old Slavic translation—a work of considerable importance to Byzantine, Slavic, and oral-traditional studies. Digenis exemplifies the medieval Eastern Mediterranean, perhaps even a kind of “Greater Mediterranean.”Composed in 12th-c. Constantinople on the basis of (probably) 10th-c. Anatolian frontier epic songs, on a romantic frame borrowed from Hellenistic Greece, by the 13th c. it had reached the Terra d’Otranto in the heel of Italy and either Daniel of Galicia’s Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia or, a century later, Macedonia in Stefan Dušan’s Empire of the Serbs and Romans; by the 15th c. it had apparently reached Crete, probably via the Pontic Greeks of the southern Black Sea. This latter manuscript and another Italo-Byzantine manuscript seem to have met up in 16th-c. Venice, where an omnibus version was produced for an edition that never saw the light of day. There are Arabic analogies to Digenisas well.

He has been gathering no moss. Besides working on Digenis, he was recently invited with his colleague and co-author Roman Koropeckyj of UCLA to Monash University in Melbourne, where they worked on a major Australian Research Council grant proposal and delivered a talk, “Pre-National Writing between Knowledge and Enjoyment: The Case of Little Russian Literature.”He has also been invited to Cambridge University, where he will speak on the topic “What Is Little Russian Literature?”; present on “A Twelfth-Century Slavonic Ekphrasis of Hippodrome Scenes in the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv?”with his former student and current colleague Brad Hostetler of Kenyon College; and lead a graduate workshop on “The Old Slavic Digenis Akritis: Its Origin, ‘Formulaic Style,’ and Problems of Its Edition.”

The Pribic Family Professorship was endowed in 2008 thanks to the generosity of Dr. Rado Pribic (BA 1968, German and Russian, FSU), Oliver Edwin Williams Professor Emeritus of Languages at Lafayette College. In memory of Rado’s parents Drs. Nikola and Elisabeth Pribic, who established the Slavic Program at FSU in 1965,the Professorship focuses on comparative South Slavic and Russian studies.