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, 2014. 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

Zirin Prize Committee

  • Marilyn Schwinn Smith (chair)
  • Sascha L. Goluboff
  • Susan N. Smith

For a list of past Mary Zirin Prize recipients, click here.

Congratulations to Carolyn J. Pouncy, winner of the 2013 Mary Zirin Prize

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.