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Tatyana Zhukova

Teaching Affiliate/ PhD Student, Faculty of Arts



I am currently working on my doctoral thesis, 'The gift-giving culture of Anglo-Muscovite diplomacy: gifts, charters and letters of Elizabeth, James and the Russian Tsars, 1566-1623' (see more under research), funded by the John Robinson PhD Studentship in History. I have previously completed an the University of Oxford (2013). My thesis on the Elizabethan New Year's gift-exchange examined the significance of gifts, ceremony and political culture in the courtly life of the male members of senior nobility.

Teaching Summary

I am a seminar tutor on the first year module: 'From Reformation to Revolution, 1500-1789'.

Research Summary

My current research thesis is entitled: 'the gift-giving culture of Anglo-Muscovite diplomacy: gifts, charters and letters of Elizabeth, James and the Russian Tsars, 1566-1623'.

Utilising British and Russian archival holdings and adopting innovative, interdisciplinary approaches from anthropology, art history and material culture studies, my research explores the complexities of giving, receiving and reciprocating diplomatic gifts in Anglo-Muscovite diplomatic context, c. 1566-1623.

Focusing on commission, display, exchange and transmission of given gifts, charters and royal letters, it investigates the role of gift-giving and exchange within early modern diplomatic practice (specifically within the Anglo-Muscovite context) noting patterns of cross-cultural interchange and instances of cultural misperception.

The research aims to refute previous historiographical portrayals of Anglo-Muscovite gift-exchange as unilateral and insignificant (and thus of little scholarly interest) and argue that the practice was an essential component of non-verbal communication, which was indispensable for a favourable progression of diplomatic negotiations.

Broadly, it hopes to invigorate the state of current research on diplomatic gift-giving and ensure that future scholars are not relegating material objects to museum exhibitions but are assimilating gained insights into wider historiographies.


Zhukova, T.A., 'Review of Catherine Fletcher, Diplomacy in Renaissance Rome: the Rise of the Resident Ambassador (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)', The Sixteenth Century Journal, 47/1 (2017), pp. 197-99.

I have also produced several reviews for IHR's Reviews in History (to be found at: and have given conference papers in Czech Republic, Russia, Portugal and throughout the UK.

Zhukova, T.A., 'Review of Jan Hennings, Russia and Courtly Europe: Ritual and the Culture of Diplomacy, 1648-1725 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)', Reviews in History,

Zhukova, T.A., 'Review of Felicity Stout, Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan Commonwealth: The Muscovy Company and Giles Fletcher, the elder (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015)', Reviews in History,

Past Research

'The New Year's Gifts: Gift- Exchange in the Courtly Life of the Elizabethan Senior Nobility, 1559-1603', MSt dissertation (University of Oxford, 2013).

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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