Dr Talia Zajac

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

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Biography

I am a social historian exploring the agency of royal women as political actors, religio-cultural patrons, and diplomatic ‘bridge builders’ between Early Rus’ (medieval Belarus’, Ukraine, and Russia) and Latin Christendom during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Currently, I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library where I am investigating this topic as part of a project titled, ‘Royal Women, Cultural Exchanges, and Rus’ Ecumenical Marriages, circa 1000 –1250.’ More broadly, my research interests include medieval church history (especially Catholic-Orthodox relations), the theological and legal history of marriage, cross-cultural exchanges in the Middle Ages (particularly between Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Byzantium), and the roles of queens and female rulers in medieval society.

I hold a PhD from the University of Toronto (2017) and previously have taught at the University of Toronto Mississauga (2017), the University of Nottingham (2018–2019) and the University of Manchester (2019– 2020). Prior to coming to the John Rylands Research Institute and Library, I have also been a Eugene and Daymel Shklar Research Fellow at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (2018) and an Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (2020– 2021). I continue to be an honorary Research Fellow at this institution and Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto, Canada.

In addition to my academic interests, I engage in creative writing about the past. My libretto for the oratorio Golden Harvest, set to music by composer Larysa Kuzmenko to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the settlement of Ukrainian-Canadians, was premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on 18 March 2016.

 

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