Heldt Prize

2014 Heldt Prizes

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies invites nominations for the 2014 Competition for the Heldt Prizes, awarded for works of scholarship. To be eligible for nomination, all books and articles must be published between 15 April 2013 and 15 April 2014. Nominations for the 2013 prizes will be accepted for the following categories:

  1. Best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women's studies;
  2. Best article in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women's studies;
  3. Best book by a woman in any area of Slavic/East European/Eurasian studies.

One may nominate individual books for more than one category, and more than one item for each category. Articles included in collections as well as journals are eligible for the "best article" prize, but they must be nominated individually. The prizes will be awarded at the AWSS meeting at the ASEEES National Convention in San Antonio, Texas, in November 2014. The translation prize, which is offered every other year, will be awarded next in 2015 for works published between 15 April 2013 and 15 April 2015.

To nominate any work, please send or request that the publisher send one copy to each of the four members of the Prize committee by 15 May 2014:

Choi Chatterjee, Heldt Prize Committee chairperson
Professor of History
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032

Yana Hashamova
Professor and Chair
Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures
400 Hagerty Hall; 1775 College Road
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210

Ali İğmen, Associate Professor of History and Director of Oral History Program
California State University at Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd. FO2-116
Long Beach, CA 90840-1601

Mary Neuburger
Director, Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies
Chair, Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies
Professor, Department of History
University of Texas at Austin
128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104
Austin, TX 78712-1739

2013 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.

View a partial list of past Heldt Prize recipients.