Awards The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is very pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 Prize Competitions.

Outstanding Achievement Award

Congratulations to Elena Gapova, the winner of the 2013 AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award

Professor Gapova is Associate Professor of Sociology at Western Michigan University and the founding director of the Centre for Gender Studies at European Humanities University. Founded in Belarus in 1997, the Center now operates in Vilnius, Lithuania. The Award Committee was deeply impressed with Professor Gapova's deep commitment to Gender Studies in every aspect of her professional life: first as a researcher through her own voluminous writings on the topic; second as the founder and director of one of the most vibrant programs in Gender Studies in the post-Soviet space; third as a personal mentor to the dozens of graduate students, mostly female, earning their degrees at the Centre for Gender Studies; and fourth as a public intellectual, bringing feminism and issues of women's equality to the attention of the public.

As the nomination letter notes, Professor Gapova has published more than 50 works in Russian, Belarusian, English, and French, as well as edited several scholarly collections. In these works, she "explores post-Soviet society by putting the most controversial and urgent questions, such as the intersection of gender and class in the post-Soviet countries, post-Soviet intellectuals and the production of knowledge, [and] nationalism and national language" in front of a scholarly audience, and "boldly challenging their assumptions in the interest of advancing knowledge."

Yet perhaps her most notable achievement is the founding of the Centre for Gender Studies at the European Humanites University, in which she created a heady atmosphere of intellectual freedom for gender scholars in Belarus. Professor Gapova has persisted in pursuing this course, even after the Centre was forced to relocate to Vilnius. As the founder and intellectual inspiration for this Centre, Professor Gapova has touched the lives of many young scholars. One of her students explains, "She taught [us] how to articulate and fight for our rights, how to pursue our goals, how to maintain our economic, political and intellectual independent position being a woman from Eastern Europe. For me as a young female scholar and queer person she gave powerful tools to define and defend my opinion and to realize a range of opportunities that I had."

Her students especially appreciate her caring support, her sympathy, and her commitment to help them advance their careers. They also admire her role as a public intellectual. In the words of another former student: "Although she is not present in Belarus in a physical sense, she remains an important and visible public figure who always speaks on behalf of the most unrepresented and disadvantaged people."

For her scholarly achievements, her tireless advocacy of women's and gender studies in Belarus in particular and Eastern Europe in general, and her generous mentorship of students and fellow scholars, we honor Professor Gapova's inspiring career in Women's and Gender Studies with the AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award.

Mary Zirin Prize for Independent Scholars

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce Carolyn J. Pouncy as its 2013 Mary Zirin Prize winner.

Dr. Pouncy received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1985, completing a dissertation titled, "The Domostroi (Domestic Order) As a Source for Muscovite History." The 1994 Heldt Prize for Best Translation in Slavic Studies was awarded to Dr. Pouncy's edited translation of The Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible (Cornell University Press, 1994).

As an editor, Dr. Pouncy has contributed substantially to contemporary Slavic Studies . Dr. Pouncy presently serves as Managing Editor of Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History (School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University), as Assistant Editor of Russian Studies in History and as Assistant Editor of Russian Politics and Law. Moreover, she has completed editorial work for the journals Sociological Research, Problems of Post-Communism, and Chinese Studies in History. As a freelance editor for Cornell University Press, she has helped bring into print a number of books of interest to women in Slavic Studies, such as Barbara Alpern Engel's Breaking the Ties That Bound (2011). Other titles she has worked on include: Valerie Kivelson, Cartographies of Tsardom; Rebecca Manley, To the Tashkent Station.

Despite the heavy demands of her work in academic publishing, Dr. Pouncy has maintained, independently, a robust research agenda, producing an article, "Stumbling Toward Socialist Realism: Ballet in Leningrad, 1927-1937" on the life and times of Agrippina Vaganova (Russian History/Histoire Russe, 32.2 pp. 171-93). But her heart remains with Moscovite Russia.

Her current and independent research involves Moscow and the Tatar khanates of the 1530s, the setting for a series of five historical novels. The first novel, The Golden Lynx (Legends of the Five Directions 1: West), was published in 2012, under the pseudonym C. P. Lesley. The second novel, The Winged Horse (Legends of the Five Directions 2: East), is forthcoming in 2013–14. With this series of books, Dr. Pouncy wishes "to extend the teaching of Russian history—especially Muscovite history—beyond the confines of the classroom while ensuring that the history is accurate."

With this award, the committee wishes to acknowledge Dr. Pouncy's valuable service to the field of Slavic Studies, her behind-the-scenes support of women publishing in the field, and the high quality of her scholarship and writing. The committee wishes to support Dr. Pouncy's on-going commitment to historical research and outreach to a broader, reading public evidenced by her turn toward historical fiction.

Zirin Prize Committee:

  • Stepanka Korytova
  • Jenifer Patico
  • Marilyn Schwinn Smith (chair)

Graduate Research Prize

Congratulations to Jessica Zychowicz (Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan), recipient of the 2013 AWSS Graduate Research Prize

We are thrilled to present the 2013 AWSS Graduate Research Prize to Jessica Zychowicz. Jessica will be using the funds for a trip to Kyiv to work with a local curator and feminist critic, as well as conduct archival research and a final round of interviews to complete her dissertation, "Superfluous Women: Gender, Art, and Activism After the Orange Revolution."

Engaging an impressive range of fields -- sociology, Slavic studies, women & gender studies, visual and performance culture -- Jessica's project is yet firmly established at the crossroads of two concerns: gender and power, and the process by which protest become meaningful. Her work combines archival research with interviews, ethnographies, attendance at art exhibits, performances and meetings, from which she is crafting case studies of contemporary feminist performance and art-activist groups in the Ukrainian capital. These case studies explore both the ways in which art-activists to engage public discussion of gender and power as well as their broader role in the creation of a post-Soviet civic language for Ukrainian protest.

Jessica's recommenders praise her language skills, comparative talents, the extensive network of scholars and activists she has built around the project, and her desire to combine the academic with the activist. We are pleased to be able to support her work. For a list of past recipients click here.

Graduate Essay Prize

Congratulations to Steven Jug, Winner of the 2013 AWSS Graduate Essay Prize

AWSS is pleased to announce that Steven Jug, a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Illinois, and a lecturer at Baylor University, is the recipient of this year's Graduate Essay Prize.

Steven submitted a chapter of his dissertation, All Stalin's Men? Soldierly Masculinities in the Soviet War Effort for the competition. This chapter, titled "Hating and Killing: Defining Oneself Against Enemy and Non-Combatant Amidst Defeat, 1942," undertakes a sophisticated analysis of the ways the evolving course of the war during 1942 influenced male soldiers' views of their masculinity. Using personal documents such as soldiers' letters as well as official army pronouncements and propaganda, Jug shows how soldiers understood the implications for their masculinity of the growing numbers of women assuming military roles, and the worsening plight of their female relatives at home, whom they were supposed to protect. The chapter provides fresh and deeply researched insights into the still understudied topic of the gender dimensions of World War II in the USSR. Steven writes with a critical yet compassionate eye about the rank-and-file soldier, whose patriotism, manhood, and attachment to home and hearth were put to the ultimate test when they faced the German invaders. Members of the committee look forward to the completion of the dissertation and its publication.

Heldt Prizes

AWSS is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 Heldt Prizes:

Best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women's studies

Judith Pallot and Laura Piacentini, with the assistance of Dominique Moran, Gender, Geography, and Punishment. The Experience of Women in Carceral Russia (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Gender, Geography, and Punishment is a fascinating and disturbing chronicle of the world of penal colonies women confront when incarcerated by the Russian state. The analysis is a deft combination of theoretical engagement and empirical analysis that is sensitive to the historical and cultural specificities of the Russian prison system, and to the peculiar circumstances that arise when women commit offenses and must be isolated from society. Contemporary penal colonies, the authors argue, are shaped by the “distinctive spatiality” and “techniques of punishment and surveillance” of the past, pre-Soviet as well as Soviet. Valuable chapters on the historical geography and contemporary structures of the penal system are followed by heart-wrenching stories of women’s experiences as prisoners, articulated in their own words. We travel along with prisoners as they acquire a new legal status, are subjected to the rigors and uncertainties of long distance travel, and dropped off in the middle of nowhere with strangers they would just as soon avoid. We learn a great deal about what it is like to live in a prison barracks, to eat and work there, to adjust to isolation from friends and family, and negotiate the processes required to leave the prison walls behind. The authors confronted extensive difficulties in conducting their research; luckily for us they devised creative alternatives to circumvent barriers to access. We learn of these trials and tribulations in a useful chapter on doing research on penal colonies in Russia. We have been rewarded by their perseverance. This is an immensely rich, powerful, and thought-provoking account and has been awarded the Heldt Prize in the category of Best Book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women’s Studies.
Honorable Mention:Louise McReynolds. Murder Most Russian. True Crime and Punishment in Late Imperial Russia (Cornell University Press, 2013)

Founded on extensive research, erudition, and imagination, Louise McReynolds’ book tells a fascinating story about murders and trials in late imperial Russia and brings the reader not only into the intricacies of Russia’s judicial system but also in the realm of Russia’s social mores as a new post-reform public debated the finer points of law, justice, urbanization and modernity. This entertaining read interweaves in an innovative way the history of justice, gender, class, and sensationalism as it masterfully depicts Russian murder with its universal and unique facets. Relating archival facts of real trials to public discussions in newspapers and to crime fiction and from there shedding new light on the evolving Russian politics of autocracy and more broadly the formation of the modern state, this book will appeal not only to Russian historians but to all readers interested in the intersection of criminology, the birth of new journalism and gender politics. Louise McReynolds’ iconoclastic and path-breaking scholarship over the years has led to a serious reconsideration of Russian history and politics in the pre-revolutionary era, and we believe that her present work will engender much debate and discussion in the academy. Murder Most Russian. True Crime and Punishment in Late Imperial Russia has received Honorable Mention in the category of Best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women's Studies.

Best article in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women's studies

Yana Hashamova, “War Rape: (Re)defining Motherhood, Fatherhood, and Nationhood” in Helena Goscilo and Yana Hashamova edited, Embracing Arms. Cultural Representation of Slavic and Balkan Women in War (Central European University Press, 2012)

Yana Hashamova’s essay is an important intervention in the debate over the fate of women raped in wartime. Her discussion complicates the usual depiction of survivors as hapless victims by focusing on the dilemmas women faced when they bore a child against their will. Two fictional works addressing this predicament—one a novel by Slavenka Drakulić, the other a film by Jasmila Žbanić—weave painful stories of “impossible motherhood.” Building on Kristeva’s argument about the power of maternity, Hashamova insists that we recognize the active subjectivity women demonstrate: first in choosing motherhood despite their reservations, and then living with the consequences in a society still aching with hatred and suspicion. The essay is a powerful indictment of the violence of war and the traumas that linger in peace: whether they be homegrown, or committed abroad when images of victimhood dominate the narrative. Hashamova calls on us to be witnesses to suffering, and to the redemption found in a child’s loving face. The Committee awards Yana Hashamova the prize for Best Article in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women’s Studies.

Best book by a woman in any area of Slavic/East European/Eurasian studies

Karen Petrone, The Great War in Russian Memory (Indiana University, Bloomington, 2011)

In her outstanding second monograph, The Great War in Russian Memory (Indiana University, Bloomington, 2011), Karen Petrone has performed an act of incredible historical reconnaissance and recovery, a veritable conjuring trick! At least two generations of scholars have argued that unlike in Western Europe, where the memory of World War I played a significant role in creating both an unified public memory and a modern ironic consciousness, in Russia the experiences of 1917, Civil War, Stalinism and the World War II effaced both the commemoration as well as remembrance of the war. In this wide ranging study based on the careful scrutiny and brilliant analysis of a wide array of sources that include forgotten memoirs, novels, autobiographies, films, visual propaganda, historical monuments, and artifacts, Petrone demonstrates that that the war time experiences of millions of men and women were not suppressed and erased, instead they found expression in unorthodox ways and in multiple cultural products such as films, novels and memoirs. Unable to create a unified mythic memory of a just war, veterans took recourse to a variety of cultural practices to remember both the heroism and the shame of war time conduct that included cruelty to non-combatants and ethnic minorities on a massive scale. As Petrone shows, these complex private memories and the hitherto unknown discourses that were generated about the Great War formed a backdrop to the efforts of the Soviet state to create legitimating myths about heroism, gender norms, and patriotism in preparation for the next war. Petrone has not only recovered a forgotten terrain for historical scholarship, but the resuscitation of comparative material from the Russian war theater will interject new thinking about the legacy of World War I in Western Europe. As the Russian state struggles to create an appropriate official memory for the World War I in the centennial celebrations of 2014, the publication of Petrone’s monograph marks an important intervention into the current political debates in post-Soviet Russia. The AWSS Committee is very proud to award the Heldt Prize in the category of Best Book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Studies to Karen Petrone.
Honorable Mention:Nancy Kollman, Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Nancy Kollman’s monograph, Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2012), marks a significant milestone in her long and illustrious career. Although all historians aspire to be at the forefront of a paradigm change in historical research, few produce scholarship that forces us to seriously reconsider older categories of understanding. In her previous book, By Honor Bound. State and Society in Early Modern Russia (1999), Kollman showed that while the Muscovite State in the sixteenth and seventeenth century was autocratic in principle, in practice it had to accommodate a variety of societal interests and identities that were located in family relationships, household arrangements, social status and geographical location. In arguing that the lived experience in Muscovy was not greatly dissimilar to that in Western Europe in that period, Kollman advanced a radically new way of thinking about Russian history in the early modern period, one that challenged the particularity of Russian historical development as compared to the “normal evolution,” of Western Europe. In her current book, Kollman’s has used her meticulous and exhaustive historical research to destroy similar myths about the supposed “lawlessness” of early modern Russia as compared to the legal bases and rationality of West European states and societies. She argues that in addition to written law that governed the disposition of criminal cases, Muscovite judges were constrained by local circumstances and local expectations of what constituted justice. Thus while the state administered spectacular punishments in criminal cases, like that in Western Europe, to bolster its legitimacy, it was also capable of tactical capitulations to the moral economy of the crowd. Based on copious data, and written with conviction and verve, Kollman’s monograph has received Honorable Mention for the Heldt Prize in the category of Best Book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Studies.

Best translation in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women’s studies

Vladimir Propp. The Russian Folktale (Wayne State University Press, 2012). Translated and edited by Sibelan Forrester

Based on a series of lectures delivered by Vladimir Yakovlevich Propp at Leningrad State University, this never-before-translated book provides a valuable addition to Propp’s first work, Morphology of the Folktale. Artfully translated and excellently edited, the book examines the history and theories behind the genre of Russian folktales, discusses in depth individual tales and compares them to classical tales from other cultures. Enlightening and authoritative, this translation is important for what it adds to our knowledge about Propp and for its contribution to the topic, making it a priceless resource for readers and scholars in folklore studies and literary theory. This English version will be of immense value to researchers worldwide that are engaged in literary scholarship and comparative folklore. The AWSS Committee awards Sibelan Forrester the Heldt Prize for the Best translation in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women’s Studies.