2016 Outstanding Achievement Award
The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce that Dr. Lisa Kirschenbaum is winner of the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. Kirschenbaum is Professor of History at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. An extraordinary scholar, whose distinguished record of continuous publication has set the highest standards in our field, Dr. Kirschenbaum is also a caring mentor, and a warm and generous colleague who has served both the ASEEES and the AWSS in numerous roles.
2016 Heldt Prizes
Best Book in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Women's Studies
The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland (Cornell University Press, 2015).
The Devil's Chain
, Keely Stauter-Halsted has painstakingly excavated the archive to provide a rich and detailed portrait of sex work, the sex industry, and the trafficking in women in the lands of partitioned Poland. Drawing on newspaper accounts, police registries, medical reports, records of rescue shelters, charitable associations, reports from international congresses devoted to sex trafficking, writings of contemporary experts touching on women's sexuality and mental health and sexology, and trial proceedings of traffickers, Stauter-Halsted places prostitution and its attendant disorders at the center of discussions about the Polish nation's future.
2016 Mary Zirin Prize
The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce Dr. Margaret Samu as the recipient of the 2016 Mary Zirin Prize for independent scholarship.
Dr. Samu received her PhD from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts in 2010, specializing in art history. The list of Dr. Samu's activities and accomplishments is impressive. She currently maintains adjunct positions at New York University, Parson's School of Design at the New School, and the Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University, while maintaining an active schedule of conference presentations. Dr. Samu serves as a lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she has previously been a Fellow, research assistant, and translator. Her museum experience includes time at the Neue Gallery in New York and the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
2016 Graduate Research Prize
The AWSS Graduate Research Prize is awarded annually to support promising graduate-level research in any field of Slavic, East European, or Eurasian Studies by a woman, or on a topic in Women's or Gender Studies related to Slavic, East European, or Eurasian Studies by either a woman or a man. For 2016 the AWSS Graduate Research Prize is awarded to Rebecca Hastings, PhD candidate in History at the University of Oregon (Major Advisor: Julie Hessler). Hastings's project, "Oil and Society in Azerbaijan, 1860-2015," examines the intersection of ethnic identities and regional cultures in shaping the development of the oil industry in Azerbaijan under the Imperial Russian, Soviet, and Post-Soviet states. Her project is a study of both imperial exploitation and regional development, taking a holistic approach to these policies and their implications surrounding the oil industry and the South Caucasus. AWSS is pleased to support Hastings in her research trip to Baku and her pursuit of this project.
2016 Graduate Essay Prize
The Graduate Essay Prize Committee is delighted to award the graduate essay prize to Joy Neumeyer, a Ph.D. student in History at the University of California at Berkeley, for her masterful essay, "Brezhnev, Vysotsky, and the Death of Developed Socialism: A Tragic Farce in Five Acts." The committee was unanimous in their great appreciation of this essay. It is beautifully written, a pleasure to read, and the rare scholarly piece that makes an effective argument through an engaging and analytical narrative structure. By contrasting the cult of Brezhnev and the cult of Vysotsky as the "twin faces of late socialism," Neumeyer captures the cultural atmosphere of the late Brezhnev years. On the one hand, Brezhnev was becoming a living corpse, "every year, the medals on his chest expanded while his wrinkles grew deeper and his speech slurred." Vysotsky, on the other hand, was a dynamic and popular figure, but he, too, was linked to death "through his songs and his signature role of Hamlet" and because of his addiction to drugs. Neumeyer tells their two stories in parallel, illuminating the frustrations of the Brezhnev era through underground jokes, Vysotsky's lyrics, and the population's reactions to these two men as they lived and died. While fans despaired at the death of Vysotsky, they were secretly relieved at the passing of Brezhnev from a living corpse into a dead one, and aware that his death made a new era possible. The committee hopes that Ms. Neumeyer will submit this essay for publication in the near future so that it can receive the wide audience it deserves. For now, we are pleased to award her the AWSS Graduate Essay Prize
Join Us for These AWSS Events in Washington, DC!
The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is sponsoring two events at this year's ASEEES national convention, both on FRIDAY November 18.
First, AWSS is sponsoring a roundtable, Gender and Global Thinking: The Impact on our Scholarship and our Profession, on Friday morning, 8:00 to 9:45am, at the Marriott, Exhibition Level, Washington Room 2. Roundtable participants are Choi Chatterjee, Karen Petrone, Judith Pallott, Natalia Mitsyuk, Natalia Pushkareva and Christine Worobec.
The round table brings together representatives of organizations of women in Slavic Studies from AWSS, RAIZHI (Russian Association for Research in Women's History), and the BASEES Women's Forum. Scholars will describe how their respective organizations have helped to foster transnational links. They'll also discuss the transnational, global, or comparative research projects that they're currently engaged with and consider the ways that this scholarship has the potential to transform Slavic Studies.
On Friday evening, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., AWSS hosts its annual Awards Presentation and Reception at the Wardman DC Marriott, Mezzanine, Thurgood Marshall South. This reception has been great fun in the past: please join us to honor our award recipients and enjoy the incomparable company of colleagues and friends! (Light snacks and cash bar.)
Finally, though we will not have an AWSS booth this year in the Exhibition Hall, we will have a table in the ASEEES registration area, with badges for AWSS members. We hope you'll take a badge when you collect your ASEEES materials and wear it throughout the convention to advertise our organization and its amazingly talented members(!)
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.
Although eventually I was awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor, my tenure experience was so agonizing that I feel I have post-traumatic stress disorder from it. I revisit this negative experience every year when I write my faculty report and receive from my department chair a letter, which inevitably ranks my teaching behind my service and professional development. The weights assigned by the faculty handbook to each category always make my numbers appear low. In addition, the chair always writes that my teaching evaluations are not good enough to support my promotion to full professor, yet my achievements in other areas are very good. Every year when I read this letter from my chair, I have a horrible day of self-doubt as to whether I even merit tenure. I feel quite paranoid that the department will now try to seek its revenge and never give me promotion. Is there anything I can do? The facts in the chair's evaluation are generally correct. More importantly, how do I move past this "PTSD" from the horrible tenure experience?
|Research Notes: Call for Contributions
Members of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies are invited to submit a brief (250-500 words) article for the Research Notes column of Women East-West. If you have some interesting field research experience to share, a new database you created or source you discovered, or some observations on the state of your field that others would find interesting and useful, please consider writing up a piece for the newsletter. Items may be in any language. As mentioned earlier, they should be brief and of interest to other scholars in women's and/or gender studies. Please submit your ideas or articles to
or to Melissa Stockdale at
|Greening the Imagination
by Choi Chatterjee, California State University, Los Angeles
As a professional organization, AWSS has been very active in ably representing the interests of women scholars and students in Slavic Studies. Our founding mothers and daughters have waged and are waging a long and serious battle to include women more equitably in our profession and put women's topics and gender at the front and center of our research agenda. I know that I am a beneficiary of every progressive change that has taken place in our field, and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. Today I am asking you to join another fight, the fight for global sustainability. Read More...
We live in a world of acidic oceans, bleached and collapsing coral reefs, dammed and depleted rivers, catastrophic deforestation, forest fires, loss of bio-diversity, topped off by melting glaciers and polar ice caps. AWSS can't solve all our problems, but I know that organized and motivated women can change the world for the better.
|Call for AWSS Conference 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.
Helen Azar. The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness for the Russian Revolution, Westholme Publishing of Yardley, PA, 2015. 180 pp. Illustrations. Glossary. List of Romanov family members. Index. Cloth and Paperback.
Reviewed by: Lee Farrow, Auburn University at Montgomery
On Wednesday, March 15, 1917, Olga Nikolaevna Romanova, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, wrote, "On the 23rd [February] at breakfast got sick with measles - was put to bed. Aleksei [got sick] during the day, and Anya too" (93). She then proceeds to list the other family members who fell ill as well, making no note of the more enormous event occurring in those same days - her family's imprisonment at Tsarskoe Selo and her father's abdication from the throne. This was the grand duchess's last diary entry. We know nothing of what Olga thought of these events, nor what her family might have discussed, nor what fears they might have shared as their entire world came crumbling down. We are left wanting to know more about the inner lives of these people who ruled a nation and died in a hail of gunfire the following year.
Colleen McQuillen. The Modernist Masquerade: Stylizing Life, Literature, and Costumes in Russia, The University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. xiii, 282 pp. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Paperback.
Reviewed by: Iva Glisic, Institut für Osteuropäische Geschichte und Landeskunde, The University of Tübingen
The Modernist Masquerade
, Colleen McQuillen explores the phenomenon of masquerades-defined as a category of entertainment comprised of masked and costume balls-in Russia between 1872 and 1914 (3). Drawing upon works of literature, contemporary press reports, journals, memoirs, and an interesting array of visual materials (including advertisements, photographs, caricatures, and fashion illustrations), the study positions the masquerade as an important trope of Russian modernism, and offers unique insight into the richness and complexity of social life in Russia at the turn of the century. Ultimately, by illuminating the relationship between costume design and the construction of social identity, the author asserts that the masquerade "reflected the evolution of identity from an essentialist trait to a fluid construct during the final decades of tsarist Russia" (6).
MICHELLE LAMARCHE MARRESE (1964-2016)
It is with great sadness and sorrow that I must inform the loving community of AWSS that one of our members and dear friends, Michelle Lamarche Marrese, died this past weekend of 29-30 October. On behalf of the organization, I would like to express our collective condolences to Michelle's family and friends. A trailblazing scholar in Imperial Russian women's and gender history, a fixture at the Russian archives of RGADA and RGIA, and a cheerleader for all our work, Michelle will be sorely missed. May she rest in peace!
In preparing this announcement, I had the pained pleasure of rereading all of the online reviews that I could find of Michelle's authoritative
A Woman's Kingdom: Noblewomen and the Control of Property in Russia, 1700-1861
(Cornell University Press, 2002). The reviews form a testament to Michelle's phenomenal legacy as a scholar. Indeed, I have rarely seen so many superlatives with regard to a single monograph: "definitive," "path-breaking," "creative and daring," "immensely authoritative," "a marvelous and pioneering work," "meticulously researched and tightly argued," "a prodigious feat of research," "a study of remarkable clarity and insight," "an example of women's history at its best," and finally, "a tour de force of historical imagination and good detective work." With "impressive linguistic, quantitative, and analytical skills," Michelle examined an astounding 8,000 provincial notarial records of property transactions, a sample of 133 wills, and countless other sources to demonstrate the ways in which the patriarchal Russian noble society allowed women through a key 1753 law to have control over their own property in marriage, how women exercised that property right, and the ways in which they defended it before the courts. As owners and managers of property, Russian noblewomen enjoyed rights that distinguished them from their European and American counterparts and allowed them to play public roles that blurred the boundary between the public and private. Given her exemplary scholarship, it is little wonder that Michelle was invited to contribute entries to the prestigious Cambridge History of Russia, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, and the Encyclopedia of Russian History.
In 2011 Michelle won the esteemed Heldt Prize for the best article in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women's Studies for her brilliant article "'The Poetics of Everyday Behavior' Revisited: Lotman, Gender, and the Evolution of Russian Noble Identity,"
11.4 (Fall 2010). There and in another article on Princess Dashkova and the politics of language, she overturned the notion that bilingualism in French and Russian created a traumatized nobility searching for a national identity, arguing persuasively instead that private correspondence among noblewomen in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century revealed an "unproblematic cultural bilingualism." These works, together with a piece on Princess Dashkova and serfdom and a new book chapter on "Lonely Wives" at court and in the family [the latter appears in
The Europeanized Elite in Russia, 1762-1825
, ed. by Andreas Schönle, Andrei Zorin, and Alexei Evstratov (Northern Illinois University Press, 2016)], provide us all with a preview of a book that Michelle was planning to write on Princess Dashkova and the women at the Russian Imperial court during Catherine's reign. The consummate detective, Michelle worked in archival repositories in not only Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also Dublin, Edinburgh, London, and Paris. She delighted in the women's personal narratives and keen observations, the clothing and especially the jewelry they wore, and the roles that they carved out for themselves. If only she had been able to finish that book!
I myself did not know Michelle well, but I have very fond memories of the times I did get to know her somewhat. I met her at an ASEEES conference in the mid-1990s, when she was an eager and articulate senior graduate student at Northwestern University. Our paths did not cross in any substantial manner until the fall of 2004, when I conducted several weeks of research at RGADA in Moscow. I recognized Michelle in the reading room immediately, and we began to have lunch together fairly frequently and the occasional dinner. I was in awe of Michelle's ease in the reading room and her close friendships with the reading room staff. She introduced me to a very bright graduate student from Brandeis named Marlyn Miller, whom she was helping navigate the intricate rules of the Russian archives. I remember, too, the care with which Michelle took in preparing for a talk that she had to give to a Russian academic audience. Ever the perfectionist, Michelle practiced her speech for several days in advance, and as usual wowed her audience with her erudition, clarity of thought, and flawless presentation. In the late spring of 2006, I had planned to join Michelle in one of our favorite cities, Helsinki, for three weeks so that we could carry out our individual research and keep each other company in the evenings. Unfortunately, a bad back forced me to cancel my trip, a decision that I regretted having to make. In the past year, having learned of my husband's death, Michelle reached out to me several times to inquire about my state of being. She gave me comfort and sympathy, which I dearly appreciate. I will miss Michelle very much.
As a way to memorialize Michelle, I invite those who knew her to share a memory or two.
If you would like to be included in "Member News," send your accomplishments to
. Please include your affiliation. For articles and books, send full publication information. We are also happy to publish photos from members' travels and research in the region; please include a caption.
(Arizona State University) received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in May 2016 in the School of International Letters & Cultures at Arizona State University. She also published an article that aims to make the novels of women writers, especially Sophie Cottin, Stéphanie Félicité comtesse de Genlis, and George Sand, more visible in the Russian literary market and in Russian literature: "Sentimental Novels and Pushkin: European Literary Markets and Russian Readers," Slavic Review 74, no. 3 (Fall, 2015): 553-74.
published two book reviews in World Literature Today in 2016. In the March/April issue, her review of Czech writer Jiří Pehe's Three Faces of an Angel, translated by Gerald Turner (Jantar Publishing, 2014), appeared. Her review of Magdaléna Platzová's book, The Attempt, translated by Alex Zucker (Bellevue Literary Press, 2016) was published in the September/October issue. In addition, an interview by her, "Meet John Sabol: the new 'Czech Voice in Cleveland Radio'" was published in the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, Inc. newsletter Zpravy (June 2016).
(Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada) has been promoted to Professor, elected to a two-year term as President of the Canadian Association of Slavists, and was awarded the 2016 Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching at Concordia University.
Laurie S. Stoff
(Arizona State University) has been presented with the Smith Award from the European Section of the Southern Historical Association for her most recent book, Russia's Sisters of Mercy and the Great War: More than Binding Mens' Wounds (University Press of Kansas, 2015). The SHA's European Section gives the Smith Award for "the best book published in European history by a member of the Section or a faculty member of a Southern college or university, or by a Southern press" (