Call for Papers

8th Biennial AWSS Conference: Roots and Legacies of Revolution
Thursday, April 6, 2017
The Westin Alexandria, Alexandria, VA

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) solicits paper presentations on the theme of "Roots and Legacies of Revolution: Transformations for Women and Gender" for its 8th Biennial Conference to be held on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at the Westin Alexandria Hotel in Alexandria, VA. The conference will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Southern Conference on Slavic Studies (SCSS), which opens Thursday evening and runs through Saturday. Participants of the AWSS Conference are encouraged to attend and participate in the SCSS conference as well (a separate CFP will be issued for that conference) and can attend both conferences with the same registration.

The conference theme recognizes the centennial of the Russian revolutions of 1917, which had a significant impact on the status and lives of women, as well as on the configuration of gender relations and representations throughout our region. We also draw attention to the roots of those revolutionary transformations in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian social, economic, political, literary, and creative practices and events of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Moreover, we are still living with the legacies of 1917, especially the effects on women and the post-Berlin Wall gender order. Thus, while we commemorate the Russian revolutions, we welcome papers across chronological and geographical spans from the tsarist era to the present day, from Berlin to Vladivostok.

We encourage potential participants to broadly address one or more of the following questions:

  • How did the nineteenth century conditions of women and the gender order in Russia and other parts of Europe contribute to the transformations of the 1917 revolutions?
  • How revolutionary was 1917 for women?
  • How might we see the legacies of a Bolshevik approach to gender throughout the Soviet period, in the USSR, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia?
  • What has been the impact of the 1917 revolutions on women and gender in Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the former Soviet states?
  • What effect have the revolutions of 1989-91 had on women's lives and gender relations?

The keynote speaker will be Rochelle Ruthchild, currently Research Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies of Harvard University, Resident Scholar at the Women's Studies Research Center of Brandeis University, and Professor of Graduate Studies, Emerita, The Union Institute and University. In addition to being one of the founding members and a past president of AWSS, as well as its long-term clerk, Professor Ruthchild (PhD 1976, University of Rochester) has a long career of teaching and research in the field of Russian women's history and in Russian Studies in general. In 2010 she published Equality and Revolution: Women's Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905-1917 (University of Pittsburgh Press), which received honorable mentions for both the Zelnick and Heldt Prizes. The title of her talk will be "Bread, Bullets, and Ballots: Russia's Women and Gender in 1917."

The conference organizers invite proposals from scholars at all stages in their careers and in any discipline of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (history, literature, linguistics, political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, gender studies, etc.). We especially encourage graduate students to participate in this conference. Proposals should consist of a 250-word abstract of the paper (including the paper's title) and a brief one-page CV that includes author's affiliation and contact information. Proposals are due by December 15 to Sharon Kowalsky, Associate Professor of History, Texas A&M University-Commerce ( or Betsy Jones Hemenway, Director of Women's Studies/Gender Studies, Loyola University Chicago ( Participants will be notified of their acceptance approximately four weeks after the proposal deadline. AWSS has limited funds to help defer the costs of attendance for graduate students (to cover registration fees and hotel accommodations). Please indicate in your proposal if you are interested in applying for graduate student funding.

Any questions about the conference or the program should be directed to Sharon Kowalsky ( or Betsy Jones Hemenway (

Latest Bibliographies

Call for Submissions: 2016 Mary Zirin Prize

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) is pleased to announce a call for nominations for the Mary Zirin Prize in recognition of an independent scholar in the field of Slavic Studies. The award of $500 is named for Mary Zirin, the founder of Women East-West.

Working as an independent scholar, Zirin produced and encouraged fundamental works in Slavic/East European Women's Studies and has been instrumental in the development of the AWSS. The Prize aims to recognize the achievements of independent scholars and to encourage their continued scholarship and service in the fields of Slavic or Central and Eastern European Women's Studies.

The Committee encourages the nomination of candidates at all career stages. For the purpose of this award, an independent scholar is defined as a scholar who is not employed at an institution of higher learning, or an employee of a university or college who is not eligible to compete for institutional support for research (for example, those teaching under short-term contracts or working in administrative posts). We welcome nominations from CIS and Central and Eastern Europe.

The Zirin Prize Committee will accept nominations (including self-nominations) until September 1, 2016. Nominations must include: (1) a nomination letter of be no more than two-pages double-spaced; (2) the nominee's current curriculum vitae; and (3) a sample publication (e.g., article or book chapter). The nomination letter must describe the scholar's contribution to the field, as well as work in progress.

Nominations should be sent to Marilyn Smith at, or by postal mail to Marilyn Schwinn Smith, 14 Allen Street, Amherst, MA 01002.

Call for Submissions: 2016 AWSS Graduate Research Prize

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) Graduate Research Prize is awarded annually to fund promising graduate level research in any field of Slavic/East European/Central Asian studies by a woman or on a topic in Women's or Gender Studies related to Slavic Studies/East Europe/Central Asia by either a woman or a man. Graduate students who are at any stage of master's or doctoral level research are eligible.

The grant can be used to support expenses related to completion of a thesis or dissertation, as well as travel, services, and/or materials. The award carries a cash prize of $1000.00. Nominations and self-nominations are welcome. In addition to two letters of recommendation, please send a CV, a letter of application in which you outline how the money will be used and why it is necessary for progress on the project and, if appropriate, a list of archives and/or libraries or other research resources that you plan to use.

Completed submissions must be received by September 1, 2016. Please send them to Committee Chair, Sharon Kowalsky, Associate Professor of History, Texas A&M, Commerce:

Call for Submissions: 2016 AWSS Graduate Essay Prize

AWSS invites submissions for the 2016 Graduate Essay Prize. The prize is awarded to the author of a chapter or article-length essay on any topic in any field or area of Slavic/East European/Central Asian Studies written by a woman, or on a topic in Slavic/East European/Central Asian Women's/Gender Studies written by a woman or a man. This competition is open to current doctoral students and to those who defended a doctoral dissertation in 2015-2016. If the essay is a seminar paper, it must have been written during the academic year 2015-2016. If the essay is a dissertation chapter, it should be accompanied by the dissertation abstract and table of contents. Previous submissions and published materials are ineligible. Essays should be no longer than 50 double-spaced pages, including reference matter, and in English (quoted text in any other language should be translated). Completed submissions must be received by September 1, 2016. Please send a copy of the essay and an updated CV to each of the three members of the Prize Committee as email attachments. Please address any questions to the chair of the prize committee.

Karen Petrone, Committee Chair
Professor of History
University of Kentucky

Professor Adrienne Harris
Associate Professor of Russian
Baylor University

Professor Amy Randall
Associate Professor of History
Santa Clara University

Call for Nominations, 2016 AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes the work of a scholar in the field of Slavic Studies, who has also served as a mentor to female students/colleagues in this field. To submit a nomination, please write a letter detailing what your candidate for this award has achieved in Slavic Studies in terms of scholarship or other professional accomplishment, and mentoring of female students/colleagues. In addition, please provide a short list of references with accompanying email addresses so that the committee can contact these referees directly for further information. The committee recommends that this list include both peers and students/staff. A list of past Outstanding Achievement Award recipients is available here.

Please email your letter and list by September 1, 2016 to Choi Chatterjee (Chair) at:, Elizabeth Hemenway at: and Karen Petrone at:

2016 Heldt Prize Competition

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies invites nominations for the 2016 Competition for the Heldt Prizes, awarded for works of scholarship. To be eligible for nomination, all books and articles for the three prize categories must be published between 15 April 2015 and 15 April 2016. Nominations for the 2016 prizes will be accepted for the following categories:

  • Best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women's studies;
  • Best article in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women's studies;
  • 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 Washington, DC, in November 2016.

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 2016:

Betsy Jones Hemenway, Chair, Heldt Prize Committee
Women's Studies & Gender Studies/History
116 Crown Center
Loyola University Chicago
1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60660

Charlotte Rosenthal
457 Mitchell Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

Melissa Bokovoy
Department of History
MSC06 3760
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1181

Carol Nechemias
314 Oak Hill Drive
Middletown, PA 17057

For article submissions, you may send a pdf to the Heldt Prize committee chair at for distribution to the rest of the committee.

2016 AWSS Officers and Board

The 2016 Board has eleven members including two graduate students.


  • President: Choi Chatterjee (2015-2016)
  • Vice-President/President Elect: Betsy Hemenway (2015-2016)
  • Past-President: Karen Petrone (2015-2016)
  • Secretary: Melissa Stockdale (2016-2017)
  • Treasurer: Lisa Kirschenbaum (2016-2017)
  • Clerk: Valerie Sperling (2016-2017)
  • Investment Officer: Rochelle Ruthchild (2016-)


  • AWSS-L Representative: Christine Worobec, Northern Illinois University
  • Co-Editors, WEW: Barbara Allen, La Salle University and Jill Massino, University of North Carolina, Charlotte,
  • Facebook Monitor: Paula Michaels

2016 Board Members

  • Sharon Kowalsky, Texas A&M University-Commerce (2012-2013, 2014-2015, 2016-2017)
  • Cynthia Simmons, Boston College (2012-2013, 2014-2015, 2016-2017)
  • Adrienne Harris, Baylor University (2016-2017)
  • Amy E. Randall, Santa Clara University (2016-2017)
  • Sally Boniece, Frostburg State University (2016-2017)
  • Melissa Feinberg, Rutgers University (2013-2014, 2015-2016), term ends December 2016
  • Michele Rivkin-Fish, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (2014-2015, 2016-2017)
  • Hilde Hoogenboom, Arizona State University (2014-2015, 2016-2017)
  • Jill Massino, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (2015-2016), term ends December 2016
  • Graduate Student Representatives: 2015-2016 terms end December 2016:
    Natasha McCauley Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan (2015-2016), terms end December 2016
    Mariya Melentyeva, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, Canada (2015-2016), terms end December 2016

Committees & Chairs

  • AWSS Travel Grants: Rochelle Ruthchild and Michele Rivkin-Fish
  • Graduate Essay Prize Committee: Karen Petrone
  • Graduate Research Prize Committee: Sharon Kowalsky
  • Heldt Prize Committee: Betsy Hemenway
  • Mary Zirin Prize Committee: Marilyn Schwinn Smith
  • Membership and Publicity Committee: Natalie McCauley
  • Mentoring Committee: Cynthia Simmons
  • Nominating Committee: vacant
  • Outstanding Achievement Award Committee: Choi Chatterjee, Betsy Hemenway and Karen Petrone
  • Research: Sharon Kowalsky
  • AATSEEL Liaison: Jessica Zychowicz

AWSS Prizes 2015

Outstanding Achievement Award

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce that Dr. Sarah Phillips is winner of the 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. Phillips is Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington. A distinguished scholar, caring mentor, a model activist, efficient administrator, and an esteemed colleague, Dr. Phillips embodies the complete scale of values espoused by the AWSS.

Dr. Phillips is both a productive and a thoughtful scholar, with an uncanny knack of selecting unusual and little researched topics in women and gender studies. Her first book, Women's Social Activism in the New Ukraine: Development and the Politics of Differentiation (2008), was named the co-winner of the best book prize awarded by the American Association for Ukrainian Studies in 2008-2009. In her second monograph, Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine (2011), Dr. Phillips sensitively explored the world of disabled persons in post-Soviet states, creating a new locus and agenda for gender research.

Through the course of its investigations this committee has officially concluded that Dr. Phillips does not sleep. In addition to her demanding administrative position as Director of REEI, Bloomington, Dr. Phillips serves tirelessly on various scholarly organizations, on the boards of prestigious journals, and was even the editor of the Anthropology of East Europe Review. She is currently the Treasurer for the AWSS (2014-2015), and was recently elected Board Member-at-large for ASEEES (2015-2017). Outside academia, Dr. Phillips has founded a non-profit humanitarian foundation that has helped people with disabilities and chronic illnesses in Ukraine. And during the recent crisis in Ukraine she arranged a series of events on her campus to raise funds for the victims of the military conflict.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Dr. Phillips is an outstanding professor and mentor to her many graduate students. We received a large of number of glowing commendations from current and former graduate students. They describe Dr. Phillips as a caring and demanding professor, and it appears that she opens her home to foreign students during holidays when they are stranded on campus. She pushes her students to excel, to compete for grants, to finish their theses in time, and to make their scholarship useful to the world through activism. Dr. Phillips' students continue to rely on her advice and support after graduation, and this is perhaps the single greatest honor a student can bestow on a professor.

AWSS is proud to honor Dr. Phillips with the AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award for her scholarly achievements, her advocacy of women's and gender studies, her activism for social justice, and her generous mentorship of students and fellow scholars.

Mary Zirin Prize

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce Dr. Rosamund Bartlett and Dr. Ellen Elias-Bursac as the two recipients of the Mary Zirin Prize.

Dr. Bartlett received her DPhil from the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford in 1991 and has a sterling record of scholarly publications, academic teaching and activism. Dr. Bartlett is a well-known public intellectual and she has disseminated her research in Russian cultural history at various public forums throughout the world. Her scholarship reveals a broad and deep understanding of Russian cultural history in its intersection with Western Europe. The field would find it hard to fit her into a single category. She is widely known as a translator, thanks to her unsurpassed translations of nineteenth-century Russian prose. Her volumes of Chekhov's stories are hauntingly beautiful. Her new Anna Karenina (2014) is the best there is. But Bartlett is also an immensely talented literary biographer and her excellent studies of Chekhov: Scenes from a Life (2004), and Tolstoy: A Russian Life (2010) set new standards in the field of Russian literature. In addition, Dr. Bartlett is widely published in the field of music, beginning with her multidisciplinary monograph, Wagner and Russia (1995). Her edited volume, Shostakovich in Context (2000), is an indispensible companion for anyone working critically on that composer, while her edition of the futurist opera, Victory over the Sun (2012), is the definitive one. Bartlett is also an important activist on many fronts. She played the central role in raising the funds needed to preserve Chekhov's house in Yalta.

Bartlett has modeled for young women scholars on both sides of the Atlantic what someone CAN do—without sponsorship, without salary, without affiliation—and do it brilliantly. The AWSS is pleased to honor Dr. Bartlett's multiple contributions to the field with the award of the Mary Zirin prize.

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce Dr. Ellen Elias-Bursac as recipient of the 2015 Mary Zirin Prize.

Dr. Elias-Bursac received her doctorate in Croatian Languages and Literature from Zagreb University in 1999. Her thesis provided a comparative/contrastive linguo-stylistic analysis on translations of Anglo-American literature into Croatian. A prolific literary translator from South Slavic languages, Dr. Elias-Bursac, along with Ronelle Alexander, is the co-author of Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, a Textbook, winner of AATSEEL Best Contribution to Language Pedagogy in 2009 and, currently, the most used textbook in U.S. and foreign Slavic departments.

Over the course of her six years work as translation reviser at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, she discovered that the roles of translation and interpretation in international criminal courts had received little scholarly attention. Dr. Elias-Bursac has begun to rectify this situation, publishing in 2012 "Shaping International Justice: the Role of Translation and Interpreting at the ICTY in The Hague," in the Journal of Translation and Interpreting Studies. This year, her monograph Translating Evidence and Interpreting Testimony at a War Crimes Tribunal: Working in a Tug-of-War was published by Palgrave Macmillan.

With Translating Evidence and Interpreting Testimony at a War Crimes Tribunal, Dr. Elias-Bursac has accomplished multiple services to the field. The monograph's cogent and detailed account of the history and workings of international tribunals promises to raise the profile of the critical work done by translators and interpreters within the broader public. Further, it makes a sophisticated case for the importance of language study. Highlighting the necessity for both diverse linguistic and cultural competencies, the book demonstrates the relevance of inter-disciplinary academic work to the "real-world" work of justice. Indeed, it will inspire women and men interested in applying their linguistic skills to such critical work defending human rights.

The AWSS is pleased to recognize and honor Dr. Elias-Bursac's work as scholar and translator with the award of the Mary Zirin Prize.

Heldt Prizes

Best Book in Slavic and East European Women's Studies

Valerie Sperling, Sex, Politics, and Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia (Oxford University Press, 2015).

It is easy to see that Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime displays a hyper-masculine, sexist, and homophobic form of power. What is remarkable about Valerie Sperling's new book is that she shows us in great detail how gender norms have operated as foundational pillars of the post-1991 Russian state. Drawing on the tools provided by feminist and gender theory, masculinity and sexuality studies, as well as more traditional modes of political analysis, Sperling argues that these practices, although visible to an extreme in Russia, are by no means unique. In case studies on political youth groups, patriotism, military conscription, pro-natalism, feminism, and, of course, Pussy Riot, Sperling demonstrates how both supporters and opponents of the Putin regime remain trapped within the same patriarchal paradigms, unable to break down the symbolic and rhetorical structures that bolster the regime. While resistance to authoritarian rule has not experienced much success, Sperling argues that the case of Pussy Riot constitutes one of the most explicit challenges to Russian patriarchal norms. At the same time, the Putin regime used the controversy and trial to reinforce the "patriarchal church-state nexus" and to mark all feminists as standing outside the acceptable gender boundaries – and thus as enemies of the state. Nevertheless, in Sperling's view feminism remains one of the most powerful tools for recognizing and combatting the injustices of authoritarian states. Gender is thus not simply an essential category of analysis in comparative politics; it is the key to understanding the obstacles to full gender equality and, perhaps more importantly, the dynamics of democratization.

Honorable mention: Kristen Ghodsee, The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe (Duke University Press, 2015).

Written with compassion, conviction, and courage, The Left Side of History tells the story of two communist believers, British officer Frank Thompson who parachuted into Bulgarian-occupied east Serbia to join the Bulgarian partisans and Elena Lagadinova, the 14-year-old Bulgarian girl who was ready to sacrifice her life in the partisan movement fighting the Nazi-allied Bulgarian government. While Frank Thomson perished in Bulgaria during the war, Elena Lagadinova survived the resistance struggles. As a high-ranking leader of the Bulgarian women's movement during socialism, she continued to believe in and work for the betterment of human conditions and especially women's rights. Ghodsee's moving infatuation with the idealism and bravery of these two people, evident in her captivating prose, serves a larger purpose: the author narrates a complex story about the experience, perception, and memory of communism and the disillusionment with the dreams of democracy and free market economy after 1989. After the last page of this compelling tale is closed, the reader is left eagerly anticipating Ghodsee's next chronicle.

Best Book by a Woman in Slavic and East European Studies

Luba Golburt, The First Epoch: The Eighteenth Century and the Russian Cultural Imagination (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014).

Luba Golburt's book The First Epoch, the Eighteenth Century and the Russian Cultural Imagination is a true original. Golburt skillfully unearths the eighteenth-century literature that gave rise to the Pushkin era Golden Age. She argues that the culture of the nineteenth-century's Russian Golden Age emerged while the intellectuals of that era attempted to define their place in history. She shows that the Pushkin-era literary history writing mostly came about because of intellectual inquiry of the past, and despite its relegation to obscurity. This beautifully written book offers a fresh reading of the works of Derzhavin, Pushkin, Lomonosov, Viazemsky and other giants of literature. Golburt proves that the eighteenth century was a testing ground of periodization, belonging, and representation that, unlike Europe, did not abandon the 'ancient' while becoming 'modern.' Finally, Golburt's book succeeds in turning our attention to how Derzhavin, Pushkin and others imagined their literary origins, and desired to be remembered.

Honorable mention: Mary Elise Sarotte, The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall (Basic Books, 2014).

Insightful and compelling, The Collapse offers a fresh reading of the opening of the Berlin Wall. Contrary to more traditional historiography of the fall, which grants agency and power to a handful of world leaders from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to Mikhail Gorbachev and guided by meticulous archival research and extensive interviews, Mary Elise Sarotte contends that ordinary people -- bureaucrats, dissidents, and journalists -- caused the opening of the Wall. With a sense of suspense, the reader learns about brave East German citizens who took great risks to smuggle the truth to West Germany as well as committed and curious journalists who grabbed the opportunity to trumpet the opening that was perhaps mistakenly announced by the Berlin boss of the Communist Party. An absorbing read, the book pursues its argument of the political chaos in East Germany that accidentally led to the collapse with consistency and conviction.

Honorable mention: Anna Cichopek-Gajraj, Beyond Violence: Jewish Survivors in Poland and Slovakia, 1944-48 (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Anna Cichopek-Gajraj‘s Beyond Violence: Jewish Survivors in Poland and Slovakia, 1944-48 offers an original, well-researched and stimulating comparative study of the return of Jewish holocaust survivors to Poland and Slovakia. Cichopek-Gajraj details the complex fates of postwar Jews in these contexts with considerable nuance, offering an important corrective to past assumptions about the unmitigated hostility and violence that met these returnees. Instead Beyond Violence explores accommodation, empathy, the shared fates of Jews and non-Jews and their ultimate reintegration into postwar Poland and Slovakia.

Best Article in Slavic and East European Women's Studies

Anika Walke, "Jewish Youth in the Minsk Ghetto: How Age and Gender Mattered," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 15, 3 (Summer 2014): 535-62.

Anika Walke's article "Jewish Youth in the Minsk Ghetto" sits at the intersection of three important, but under-investigated, dimensions of World War II historiography: the Jewish experience in occupied Soviet territory, the lives of children and youth in the ghetto, and the gendered differences in those experiences. In addition to German and Soviet wartime documents, Walke taps recently produced oral histories, video testimonies, and written memoirs of survivors who were children during the war, to paint a rich picture of life in the Minsk ghetto under German occupation. Having grown up in the 1930s in a secular Soviet culture, these children had little sense of Jewish identity or community to sustain them emotionally or materially through the systematic imprisonment and killing that the German forces perpetrated in Belorussia after 1941. Facing the prospect of almost certain death, they managed to survive by caring for one another and escaping the ghetto when the opportunity arose. Walke highlights the silence surrounding the pervasiveness of sexual violence and the contributions of women to the partisan forces. Moreover, in bringing attention to the particular plight of Soviet Jewish youth and their exclusion from Soviet scholarship on the Great Patriotic War, Walke makes a substantial contribution that adds nuance and complexity to our understanding of the Holocaust and the German occupation of Minsk.

Honorable mention: Nadia Kaneva and Elza Ibroscheva, "Pin-ups, strippers and centerfolds: Gendered mediation and post-socialist political culture" European Journal of Cultural Studies 2015, vol. 18(2) 224-241.

Nadia Kaneva and Elza Ibroscheva's "Pin-ups, strippers, and centerfolds: gendered mediation and post-socialist political culture" published in the European Journal of Cultural Studies, offers a fascinating exploration of the ways that a contingency of female politicians in post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe have packaged and deployed their own sexuality for political ends. As Kaneva and Ibrosheva convincingly argue, such women were not unwittingly "exploited" by the magazines, videos, and other press media that have sought out and "exposed" them in sexualized imagery. Instead these women have participated in and helped form a new post-socialist political culture, in which sex plays an important role.

Best Translation in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women's Studies

Olga Sedakova/ Caroline Clark, Ksenia Golubovich, Stephanie Sandler, In Praise of Poetry (Open Letter, 2014).

Until 1988 with the publication of her poetry in Russian, Olga Sedakova's work was known in the USSR only in samizdat circles. This belated recognition during Glasnost came two years after the publication of Sedakova's first Russian-language book in Paris. Her talent has since been recognized in Russia, Germany, France, Italy and Vatican. This English-language volume by Caroline Clark, Ksenia Golubovich and Stephanie Sandler offers new translations of the work of this exceptional poet and writer. It helps the readers understand Sedakova's personal development as a spiritual individual, and her process of becoming a poet by providing translations of her poetry, "Old Songs," "Tristan and Isolde," and her memoir-essay, "In Praise of Poetry." The translators enrich this unique project by including an interview with Sedakova, and her 2011 acceptance speech as the winner of the Masters Translation Prize in Moscow. This volume not only provides us with full translation of all the texts in English, but also helps us appreciate Sedakova's brilliance by juxtaposing her wisdom in religious texts and folklore, and her mysterious poetry. Sedakova said in 2011, her task as a translator was to translate foreign-language poems into Russian without "putting them into her own words," or making them sound "more familiar and conventional." These three translators just did that, successfully and beautifully translated Sedakova's work into English by allowing her to say what she wanted to say.

Graduate Research Prize

The committee is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2015 Graduate Research Prize is Margarita Safronova, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Safronova's project studies the effect of culture on political integration and political identity among ethnic Russian youth in Kazakhstan and Latvia. She uses surveys, focus groups, and analysis of educational materials to assess the role of culture in the integration of the ethnic Russian minority in two post-Soviet states with very different governmental structures. Safronova employs a unique perspective that highlights the importance of culture in the political assimilation of ethnic minorities. Her study hopes to determine how political identity and assimilation translate into political support and economic stability. Safronova plans to use her grant to fund a follow-up trip to Kazakhstan to conduct research in two Kazakh cities with large ethnic Russian populations.

Graduate Essay Prize

Katarzyna Kaczmarska, "Russia, A Different Version of the International," a chapter of her Ph.D. dissertation, "The Politics of Representing the International: International Society and the Russian World," 2015.

In contrast to contemporary International Relations (IR) scholarship, Dr. Kaczmarska takes seriously the representations of the international that have emerged in contemporary Russian discourse and explores the conditions of their production. She emphasizes Russia's articulation of the idea of a "multipolar" world that puts Russia in competition with the West. Russia seeks to be an equal partner with the West, driven simultaneously by feelings of inferiority that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union and confidence in Russia's "historic mission" as a unique and superior civilization. Paradoxically, "the Russian World" cannot exist without reliance on "the West" as the primary frame of reference with which to construct the Russian view of the international. By examining Russia "in its own terms," Dr. Kaczmarska provides powerful new insights into the motivations that drive Russian actions on the international stage. Dr. Kaczmarska's work brings a fresh and original perspective to the field of IR, which often proves to be American or Eurocentric while claiming to be objective. This thesis reframes the subfield by placing the concept of "the Russian World" at the center of analysis and calling IR's claims of objectivity into question. Dr. Kaczmarska effectively presents a balanced picture of Russian thinking without reproducing Russia's own biases.

Dear friends of theatre, Alexandra Kollontai and feminist history,

With the author's permission and with the help of her many suggestions, I have completed a translation of Agneta Pleijel's 1979 play (in Swedish) about Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952).

As a young Russian woman Kollontai immersed herself in Marxist writings and spoke often at political meetings before the 1917 Russian Revolution. She militated both for the liberation of workers, and in particular women workers, and for sexual equality, She travelled abroad to socialist meetings and conferences on the "woman question". Able to speak effectively in a number of languages and well versed in Marxist theory (she published articles, books, broadsides), she became a key figure in the Marxist/Bolshevik movement. When the Revolution came she was the first (and for a while the only) woman appointed to the government (first female People's Commissar).

By 1922 the Russian government decided to send her abroad as a diplomat and she served as envoy and later ambassador (another first for a woman) in Norway, Mexico and Sweden. Probably thanks to her distance from the grim purges in Moscow in the 1930s, she was one of a very few "old Bolsheviks" to survive the era of the purges and show trials.

The play text includes two essays, one by the author about Kollontai and the revision of the play in 1979, and the other by Alf Sjoberg, who directed the play in Stockholm in 1979. Sjoberg had met Kollontai while she was ambassador in Stockholm and adds his own very stimulating views on the role of theatre in art and society.

What Pleijel and I are hoping is that the play can be made available to English-speaking friends of theatre, early 20th Russian history, feminism, etc. This might take the form of publication, posting on a website and hopefully even a stage production. So, as much as anything, I'd like to hear from you with ideas on that.

Be well,
Harald Hille

Read now!

AWSS-L Listserv

The AWSS listserv, located at, is a service provided to AWSS members. The listserv carries bi-weekly job lists and daily announcements of interest to members as well as discussions on current topics and problems in Eurasian/Central/Eastern European women's studies. If you would like to post a job ad, please send the relevant information to Emily Liverman ( June Pachuta Farris and other librarians and scholars are generous with research help.

AWSS on Facebook

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Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History

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ASPASIA is an English-language international peer-reviewed yearbook that brings out the best scholarship in the field of interdisciplinary women's and gender history focused on and produced in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. This region includes such countries as Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine. In these countries the field of women's and gender history has developed unevenly and has remained only marginally represented in the "international" canon. Through its contributions, ASPASIA transforms "European women's history" into more than Western European women's history, as is still often the case, and expands the comparative angle of research on women and gender to all parts of Europe.

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