2018 Outstanding Achievement Award
The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is extremely pleased to announce that Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild is the winner of the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award. One of the founders of our organization and first president, Rochelle has been a critical leader throughout its 30-year history. She is an exemplary scholar, a champion of women's studies and women's achievements, as well as a mentor to colleagues and students in the US and abroad.
Moreover, her activism in the Boston feminist community and support for feminists around the world has made a significant impact. The selection committee makes this decision based not only on Dr. Ruthchild's long-standing service and scholarship but on the testimonials of multiple other senior colleagues, who often stated their astonishment that Rochelle had not received this honor already. In this 30th anniversary year of AWSS, we are therefore correcting this oversight and acknowledging the numerous contributions Dr. Ruthchild has made to our field, to our profession, and to feminist communities all over the world.
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2018 Heldt Prizes
Best book by a woman in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Edyta Materka, Dystopia's Provocateurs: Peasants, State, and Informality in the Polish-German Borderlands. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017.
Best article in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Arthur Clech, "Between the Labor Camp and the Clinic: Tema or the Shared Forms of Late Soviet Subjectivity," Slavic Review 77, no. 1 (Spring 2018): 6-29.
Igor Fedyukin, "Sex in the City that Peter Built: The Demimonde and Sociability in mid-Eighteenth Century Saint Petersburg," Slavic Review 76, no. 4 (Winter 2017): 907-930.
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2018 Mary Zirin Prize
The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce Iva Glisic as the 2018 recipient of the Mary Zirin Prize for independent scholarship.
Dr. Iva Glisic is a historian of Russia and the Balkans who examines the history of radical ideas, and the relationship between avant-garde art, politics and ideology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Her work also contributes to the fields of oral history, memory politics and archival theory.
Since obtaining her PhD in Russian History from the University of Western Australia (UWA), she has served as a Postdoctoral Fellow within the Institute for Eastern European History and Area Studies at the University of Tübingen, and a Lecturer and Research Associate at UWA and Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Alongside her continuing research, Dr. Glisic serves as a researcher for the Australian Academy of the Humanities in Canberra, contributing to a project on the future of Australia's humanities workforce.
2018 Graduate Essay Prize
The AWSS Graduate Essay Prize Committee is delighted to award the prize to Natalia Fomina, a Ph.D. student in Sociology and Sociology of Anthropology at Central European University.
In a beautifully written, well-researched, ethnographic essay, Fomina investigates the intersection of Russian Orthodox Christianity with athletic and paramilitary youth groups among contemporary Russian men. Instead of characterizing these militant patriotic and religious young men as skin-heads, Putin's thugs, or brainwashed by the church, she takes seriously their desires for dignity and moral self-expression framed in a vocabulary of faith, self-sacrifice and community. Whereas an anti-government and radical ethnic nationalism animated many male youth movements and subcultures in the first decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Fomina finds that this is no longer the case.
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2018 Graduate Research Award
The AWSS Graduate Research Award Committee is pleased to award the prize for 2018 to Alexandra Novitskaya, PhD Candidate in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stony Brook University.
Novitskaya's dissertation project, "More than 'Safety from Persecution': Non-heterosexual Russian-Speaking Migrants in New York City," examines the lives and experiences of LGBTQ migrants from Russia, especially those seeking asylum and protection in the United States following the "gay propaganda ban" in Russia in 2013. Through oral interviews with recent immigrants, Novitskaya seeks to produce a thick description of community construction, and to determine whether migrants' expectations of LGBTQ-friendliness in the United States have been met. Novitskaya is completing her research this fall and plans to defend her dissertation in June 2019.
Graduate Research Prize Committee:
Sharon Kowalsky (Texas A&M), chair
Melissa K. Stockdale (University of Oklahoma)
Deborah Field (Alma College)
With more than two decades of experience in Slavic Studies and lots of chutzpah, she'll share with you her hard-won wisdom. Under a cloak of anonymity, you can safely ask Aleksandra anything you like, and in doing so you'll help not just yourself but probably others as well who no doubt have the same questions. Please send your questions to
and put "Ask Aleksandra" in the subject line.
I've begun a two-year full-time position off the tenure track teaching a 4/4 course load as a Visiting Assistant Professor at a university where a tenure-track line fitting my qualifications might open. Given the precarity of my employment, I must apply for tenure-track openings at other universities in addition to positioning myself for a potential opening at my present university. I have a recent Ph.D., journal publications, and am active in my profession. There are no service expectations of me in my present job, but I know that contributing to the university community would help in case I apply for a tenure-track line here in the future. Nevertheless, I am aware that women can often be expected to contribute more service than men and that this inequity can interfere with their research. Given my heavy teaching load, how do you recommend that I balance the need for visibility in my current job as well as pursue scholarship that will qualify me for tenure-track jobs elsewhere?
You are not alone. All too many recent PhDs have to hop from gig to gig for several years until they land on their feet with a permanent job somewhere. And those are the lucky ones. In contemporary academia, the shift away from tenured positions as the norm is a disgrace. I've heard very senior scholars who finished their PhDs in the 1970s-when, indeed, the academic job market was contracting-tell me how bad things were for them. Like, seriously? Dudes, what exactly are you smoking?
Join us for AWSS-sponsored events at ASEEES in Boston
Once again, AWSS is sponsoring two events at the ASEEES national conference this year. Both will take place on Saturday, 8 December.
This year our AWSS-sponsored panel is a roundtable on "Gender Studies in Russia: The Current State of the Field," scheduled for 8-9:45 am in the Yarmouth room of the Marriott Copley Place.
This roundtable, featuring Russian gender studies scholars, will explore the current state of the field in Russia, addressing such questions as: what is the actual experience of teaching and researching gender studies in the current political climate? Participants include several of our colleagues from Russia: Natalia Pushkareva, Anna Temkina, Elena Zdravomyslova, and Natalya Mitsyuk, as well as Elizabeth Wood and Rochelle Ruthchild. We anticipate a lively discussion.
Our annual Awards Presentation, Business Meeting, and Reception will take place the same evening from 6 to 8 pm in the St. Botolph room of the Copley Place Hotel. (Please note that the reception has moved from our usual Friday night to Saturday). We hope you will join us to celebrate the award winners and mingle with colleagues and friends. We will have the usual light snacks and cash bar.
In addition to these two events, the ASEEES Committee on the Status of Women will have a roundtable discussion on mentoring that will take place on Friday, 7 December, from 4:30 to 6:15pm in the Massachusetts room. We encourage you to participate in this dialogue as well.
I look forward to seeing many of you in Boston in December!
Betsy Jones Hemenway
Call for Papers
9th Biennial AWSS Conference: Crossing Borders in Slavic Women's and Gender Studies
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Renaissance Battle House Hotel and Spa, Mobile, AL, USA
The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) solicits paper presentations on the theme of "Crossing Borders in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Women's and Gender Studies" for its 9th Biennial Conference to be held on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at the Renaissance Battle House Hotel and Spa in Mobile, Alabama. 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, March 16. Participants of the AWSS Conference are encouraged to attend and participate in the SCSS conference as well (see a separate CFP in this issue for that conference) and can attend both conferences with the same registration. *
Call for Papers
57th Annual Meeting
Southern Conference on Slavic Studies
March 14-17, 2019
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS: January 15, 2019
The Fifty-Seventh Annual Meeting of the Southern Conference on Slavic Studies (SCSS) will be held at the Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa in Mobile, Alabama, March 14-17, 2019. The meeting will be hosted by the University of South Alabama. The SCSS is the largest of the regional Slavic and Eurasian Studies associations and its programs attract national and international scholarly participation. The purpose of SCSS is to promote scholarship, education, and in all other ways to advance scholarly interest in Russian, Soviet, and East European studies in the Southern region of the United States and nationwide. Membership in SCSS is open to all persons interested in furthering these goals.
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Report on AWSS International
Conference on Women and
Gender in Russia, 1914-1922
Urbana-Champaign, June 21-24, 2018
Brought together by their shared interest in gender and women in Russian history, an international group of scholars gathered in June of 2018 at the Summer Research Lab, held every year by the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center (REEEC) at the University of Illinois. Conference participants spent two full days discussing twelve papers that will be published in 2020 as a volume in the series published by Slavica, Russia's Great War and Revolution, 1914-1922. The attendees included both the authors of the pre-circulated papers, and up to twenty scholars attending the Summer Research Lab, who greatly enriched discussions with their varied disciplinary and regional perspectives. Enjoying both beautiful summer weather and the exceptional hospitality and support of REEEC and AWSS, all the participants collectively created a conference environment that was intellectually stimulating and mutually beneficial.
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|Moscow, November 7, 1918. The first anniversary of the Communist revolution. Circus performers on the Red Square. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (97.R36)
Cursed Days: The Getty Collection of Soviet Photographs from 1918
By Marina Khrustaleva
The Getty Research Institute
's archive holds four thick folders titled "Soviet photos 1918." This vast collection contains 595 black and white photographs. The Getty acquired them in 1997. With translations and assistance from Katya Yudina and David Woodruff, Annette Leddy processed them in 1998. Russian-language photo captions written on the back of each photo in pencil were translated into English. Brief biographies of the main people shown in the photos were composed. The photographer remains unknown, but it has been established that the Photography and Film Committee of the People's Commissariat of Enlightenment (Narkompros) commissioned the photographs. Getty archivists suggested that some of these images might be stills from the Russian weekly newsreel Kinonedelia (Film Week), which famous documentary director Dziga Vertov edited. Kinonedelia was his first job in cinema.
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Tatyana V. Bakhmetyeva. Mother of the Church: Sofia Svechina, the Salon, and the Politics of Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Russia and France. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press. 2016. Xii+271 pages. Notes. Bibliography. Index. $45.00 paper.
Reviewed by: Kate Graney, Skidmore College
Tatyana V. Bakhmetyeva's fascinating new biography of Sofia Svechina, better known to most historians as the Parisian salonnaire "Madame Swetchine," arrives at an opportune moment. The questions that defined Svechina's life-What does it mean to be Russian? What does it mean to be European? What is the relationship between Russia and Europe, and between Russianness a
How can one, if at all, attend both to the needs of one's soul as a faithful subject of (Roman Catholic) Christendom and to the needs of one's mind as a creature of the Enlightenment? How does one do this, especially, when one is a female?-are as politically relevant today as they were during the years when Sofia Svechina helped shape the tenor of religious and political debate in both St. Petersburg (until 1816) and Paris (until her death in 1857).
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Amy Bryzgel. Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960. Manchester, Great Britain: Manchester University Press, 2017. 366 pp. ISBN 978-1784994228. $34.93 paperback.
Reviewed by: Alina Haliliuc, Denison University
Amy Bryzgel's second book on performance art in Eastern Europe follows her Performing the East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland Since 1980(2013). The scope of the second book is broader and more ambitious, not only in its geographic and historical reach, but also in aiming to critically question and amend a Western-centric understanding of performance art that has treated its Eastern-European counterpart as marginal, derivative, or singularly political. Indeed, the author's interlocutor of choice is Roselee Goldberg, whose histories of global performance art, Bryzgel argues, overlook the scope of artistic work in the region. Bryzgel succeeds in covering an impressive number of countries: from former Soviet nations to satellite states, East Germany, and non-aligned Albania, interviewing over 250 artists during two years of extensive field research. What emerges is a portrait of a region rich in creative activity, connected with artistic trends in the West while developing in parallel behind the Iron Curtain.
Julia L. Mickenberg. American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. 427 pp. Index, Notes.
Reviewed by: Norma C. Noonan, Augsburg University
This work is a fascinating study of American women who traveled and worked in Russia during the 1920s, 1930s, and World War II. A few had already visited Russia, before 1917, but most of them went to Russia "chasing the dream" promised by the Communist Revolution. Mickenberg uses published works, diaries, and other unpublished materials to describe the complexities of the lives and experiences of the women. Each chapter explores a different theme and then delves into the lives of a few individuals and their experiences. A few of the women are well known, like the dancer Isadora Duncan and the journalist Margaret Bourke-White, but most are little known or forgotten. Some of the women were already involved in progressive causes or were fellow travelers before they went to the USSR.
Olga Partan. Vagabonding Masks. The Italian Commedia dell'Arte in the Russian Artistic Imagination (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2017). ISBN: 978-1-61811-571-3 (hardcover), 978-1-61811-572-0 (e-book). 294 pp.; 24 illus. $79.00.
Reviewed by: Elena Yushkova, Independent Scholar, Russia
Olga Partan's research is interdisciplinary and innovative. She investigates "the three-century-long history of the Italian masks vagabonding through Russian culture" (p. 263) from the first appearance of Harlequin and his fellow masks during the time of the Empress Anna Ioannovna until the last example known to the author at the very beginning of the twenty first century. Analyzing numerous "visual and textual allusions" to Italian commedia dell-arte in Russian classical literature, performance art, and popular culture, the author shows the "impact of the commedia on Russian culture through its Russification and gradual transformations" during three centuries that extends beyond the widely studied "Russian modernism infatuation with the commedia dell'arte" (p. 13). The book is arranged chronologically and uses "a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary approach" (p. 25). Russian literature of the 18th century, literature of the 19th century, Russian and Western medieval folk theater, Silver Age studies, Nabokov literary works, and finally (not expected at all) Soviet and Russian Estrada (popular music and culture) are masterfully combined in the book. Thus, the author shows the development of Russian culture from a new perspective-of commedia dell'arte elements and spirit present in it. The separate case studies are well connected, even when they seem completely incompatible (like the chapter on Vladimir Nabokov and the following piece on Soviet pop-star Alla Pugacheva).
Obituary: June Pachuta Farris (August 2, 1947-July 27, 2018)
By Diana Greene
June's death on July 27, 2018 is a great loss to Slavic scholars, Slavic librarians, and to AWSS.
In 2012, June was the first librarian to be honored with the AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award, which recognizes the work of a scholar in Slavic Studies who has also served as a mentor to female colleagues in this field. The AWSS citation stated in part, "The entire profession has been enriched by June's unassuming yet dedicated commitment to helping scholars wherever they work-whether formally, through her many published bibliographies on subjects as diverse as Dostoevsky and Czech and Slovak emigres, or informally through her willingness to respond to countless queries from individuals. June's services to the field of women's and gender studies make her an especially deserving recipient of this award."
Benefactor: $1,000 and above
Patron: $500 to $999
Sponsor: $250 to $499
Friend: $100 to $249
Donor: $50 to $99
Alicia Kate White
New lifetime members (2017-18)
(Lafayette College) was interviewed about her scholarship for the article, "Domestic Violence Treaty Rattles Governments Across Eastern Europe" by Claire Nuttall, published by IntelliNews magazine on May 31, 2018. In the article, Fabian cites evidence from her recently published chapter, "The Politics of Domestic Violence in Central Europe: International and Domestic Contestations," pp. 125-50 in Global Perspectives on Domestic Violence, edited by Eve S. Buzawa (NY: Springer International Publishing, 2017).
(The Ohio State University) has published Screening Trafficking: Prudent and Perilous(Budapest-New York: Central European University Press, 2018). Combining fieldwork in NGOs, social science data and the critical analysis of Western and South-East European anti-trafficking films and media and their reception in the United States and the Balkans, Hashamova identifies a disconnect between the global flow of trafficking images and their local comprehension. She seeks to explain why, despite substantial attention to the problem, communities continue to react with indifference and denial, and turn a blind eye to the problem.
(UC Berkeley) won a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2018-19, for her dissertation, "Geopoetics and Geopolitics: Landscape, Empire, and the Literary Imagination in the Great Game." Her dissertation adviser is Harsha Ram.
(Manhattan College), who retired as Professor Emerita as of this academic year, published the article, "'A Magical Theater of Strength and Beauty': The 1912 Slet in Prague," in Austrian Studies, Vol. 5: Celebrations: Festkultur in Austria (2017): 136-147.
(Washington University in St. Louis) is co-recipient of a 2018 Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The three-year, $296,455 grant will support "The Holocaust Ghettos Project: Reintegrating Victims and Perpetrators through Places and Events." An endeavor of the Holocaust Geographies Collaborative, the project will create a historical geographic information system (GIS) model of 1,400 Nazi-era Jewish ghettos. Anne Knowles (University of Maine) is project director, while Walke and Paul Jaskot (Duke University) serve as co-directors. In spring 2018, Anika also published "Split Memory: The Geography of Holocaust Memory and Amnesia in Belarus," in Slavic Review, vol. 77, no. 1 (2018): 174-197.