Volume One, Issue II
November 2012
In This Issue
Graduate Essay Prize
2012 Heldt Prizes
2012 Mary Zirin Prize
Member News

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The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce the winner of its Outstanding Achievement Award for 2012, June Pachuta Farris.


Serving for more than twenty-five years as the Bibliographer for Slavic and East European Studies at the Joseph Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago, June has developed a superb collection of Slavic, East European and Eurasian resources there, many of them found nowhere else in the world. Scholars and students at the University of Chicago are far from the only beneficiaries of her expertise, however. The entire profession has been enriched by June's unassuming yet dedicated commitment to helping scholars wherever they work.  June's services to the field of women's and gender studies make her an especially deserving recipient of this award. Members of AWSS have grown to depend on her quarterly and annual Current Bibliography on Women and Gender in Russia and Eastern Europe,which has appeared in the AWSS Newsletter since 1999. Collaborating with Irina Liveazanu, Christine Worobec, and Mary Zirin, June also produced an invaluable two-volume publication,Women and Gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia: A Comprehensive Bibliography(2007). Last but far from least, June is known by her fellow Slavic librarians as a generous mentor. For her selfless, consistent, and dedicated service to scholars, students, and fellow bibliographers, AWSS is proud to honor June Pachuta Farris.

2012 Graduate Essay Prize


 The 2012 Graduate Essay Prize is awarded to Chiara Bonfiglioli (University of Utrecht) for "From Comrades to Traitors: The Cominform Resolution of 1948," which is chapter 5 of her recently defended dissertation, "Revolutionary Networks. Women's Political and Social Activism in Cold War Italy and Yugoslavia (1945-1957)." The selection committee praised her work as original and well developed in terms of research and engagement with scholarship. The essay brings new insights to questions having to do with women's political involvement in the establishment of the communist regimes in post-war Europe, as well as their role in international networks for women and for communist regimes and parties across the world. By choosing to focus on the time of the Tito-Stalin split, Bonfiglioligives greater clarity to the implications of that event for women's organizations, as well as revealing the great strain this polarization brought to women's efforts to find their own voice in the postwar communist organizations.

2012 Heldt Prizes



Best Book by a Woman in any area of Slavic/East European/Eurasian Studies:  


Gail Kligman and Katherine Verdery, Peasants under Siege. The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962 (Princeton University Press, 2011)


Peasants under Siege is a magisterial account of the collectivization of agriculture in Romania. Kligman and Verdery move deftly between the highest offices of the land and the humblest county seat in their comprehensive depiction of the changes in property, personhood, and state power collectivization initiated. The study is firmly grounded in an exhaustive archive they and their research colleagues compiled, a project of inestimable value, in particular as the materials include first-hand accounts. In the introduction, Kligman and Verdery discuss intelligently and thoroughly the methodological problems posed by relying on oral history and party-state documents for their analysis.


With those caveats in mind, the authors strive, and handily succeed, in providing an "'experience-near' account" by quoting extensively from the interviews and documents. The voices of beleaguered peasants can be heard as clearly as the commands of the party-state and the complaints of local party operatives. It is a testament to Kligman and Verdery's theoretical prowess that they are able to sustain an intimate historical account in the course of a sophisticated analysis of the complex social dynamics of party-state formation and agricultural modernization. A crucial claim in the book is that the arduous process of collectivization consolidated the fledgling Romanian Communist Party while the nation's infra-structure and the personnel of the emerging party-state had to be built from the ground up. Kligman and Verdery argue that the character of the fabled Securitate was forged in the struggle over collectivization. In this and other ways, the book clarifies the degree to which socialist collectivization, long seen as a unilateral event, was a process bound to be shaped by the contingencies of local politics and economy. Peasants under Siege is a model of scholarship, and demonstrates that not all collectives are doomed to failure.  


  Honorable Mention:  


Katerina Clark, Moscow, the Fourth Rome: Stalinism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Evolution of Soviet Culture, 1931-1941 (Harvard University Press, 2011)


In her impressive new study, Moscow, the Fourth Rome, Katerina Clark aims to "integrate a rather neglected international dimension into the overall interpretation of Stalinism." Her book more than lives up to this promise: this is a uniquely nuanced and rich account of a decade-the 1930s-which has long inspired starkly black and white histories. Never denying the growing nationalism of the 1930s, Clark discerns instead the simultaneity of competing trends, and then zooms in on the evolving fates of internationalism and cosmopolitanism at this time.


Clark anchors her account around four fascinating "intermediaries" between Soviet culture and its Western counterparts: Sergei Eisenstein, Ilya Ehrenburg, Mikhail Koltsov, and Sergei Tretiakov. "Agents of Soviet power intent on converting their Western counterparts," these figures emerge from Clark's account as neither martyrs nor grey Stalinist bureaucrats, but instead as some of the "most colorful figures of their era." Tracing their peregrinations through the West, Clark's highly readable account never skims the surface: from the very first chapter, we delve deeply into seminal intellectual exchanges around the author as producer between Tretiakov, Brecht, and Benjamin in pre-Nazi Berlin.  Analyzing official and popular culture, the mainstream Pravda along with more marginal internationalist journals, Clark once more produces fresh and immediately authoritative accounts of the architecture, literature, film, and ideology of the 1930s. A special highlight is Clark's development of her previous benchmark study on Socialist realism in a thesis about the centrality of writing, and particularly of biography, as the iconic artifact of the Soviet Kunststadt. Moscow, the Fourth Rome will undoubtedly become a reference book for anyone interested in Stalinism. A model archeology of a neglected period of world literature/culture, the book also sets a standard for contemporary research in this currently expanding field.

Best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women's Studies:  


Beth Holmgren, Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America (Indiana University Press, 2012)


In this beautifully written and thoroughly engaging biography of the leading Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska, who emigrated to the United States in 1876 and became the American star "Countess" Helena Modjeska, Beth Holmgren demonstrates a striking mastery of the Polish and American theaters, and the ways that Modjeska navigated between them. In an impressively researched work that follows Modrzejewska/Modjeska from birth to death, and then explores her memory and legacy, Holmgren uncovers the life history of an extraordinary and powerful 19th century woman. With deep knowledge of late 19th century Polish culture and a noteworthy expertise in American theater history, Holmgren creates a complex and multi-layered narrative of Modjeska's Polish theatrical career and self-fashioning, her reinvention as an American celebrity and Shakespearian actress, and her identity as a cultural intermediary -- a Polish patriot and philanthropist and a "living symbol of Poland on American soil" who also sought to elevate the American theater and aid the Polish immigrant community in the United States. Holmgren's work shows Modrejewska/Modjeska as a dynamic actor deftly negotiating a multitude of women's roles on and off stage, from the real bastard child and "fallen woman" who herself gave birth to illegitimate children, to the complex women portrayed in the new drama of the era, to the director of her own career and repertoire, shaping her own self-images in binational stardom. This rich portrait of a remarkable 19th century woman in both Poland and America is a model of a new scholarship that explores women's lives across national boundaries. For this reason we are proud to award Starring Madame Modjeska the Heldt Prize.


Best Article in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women's Studies:


Agn�s Kefeli, "The Tale of Joseph and Zulaykha on the Volga Frontier: The Struggle for Gender, Religious, and National Identity in Imperial and Post-Soviet Russia," Slavic Review 70, No. 2 (Summer 2011)


Concentrating mainly on the tale of Joseph and Zulaykha, Agn�s Kefeli offers a sophisticated analysis of the role this and other stories of the prophets played in defining and defending religious and ethnic identities and boundaries in the multiconfessional and multiethnic middle Volga region of the Russian Empire during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drawing on Russian, Tatar, and Central Asian sources, she demonstrates in particular how the variants of the tale of Joseph and Zulaykha told by non-Russian Muslim traditionalists and modernists, Christianized non-Russians, and Orthodox Russians represented the images and actions of the protagonists in ways that reflected the specific circumstances, reinforced the identity, and promoted the conversion efforts or political agenda of each group. Kefeli also shows that the differing versions of the tale depicted women and their agency differently, with the traditionalist Muslim variants legitimizing and supporting the important role played by Muslim women in religious education and the conversion of non-Russian Christians and pagan animists to Islam prior to 1917. She concludes by noting how in the post-Soviet period modernist Muslim versions of the tale of Joseph and Zulaykha have been resurrected in support of the claim that adherence to Islam is an essential element of Tatar nationality. This is an original, impressively researched, and persuasively argued study that merits recognition as the Heldt Prize article for 2012.

2012 Mary Zirin Prize


Recipient: Susan N. Smith


The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce Susan N. Smith as its 2012 Mary Zirin Prize winner.


Dr. Smith earned her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 2005 and, without benefit of a permanent academic position, has continued to pursue an active research agenda. Her first book manuscript, currently under revision, analyzes museum practices in the provincial Russian city of Vladimir across the 1917 divide. Dr. Smith has nurtured this project along in the transition from dissertation to book manuscript while carrying the unpredictable and often heavy teaching load typical of adjunct work. Her persistence is admirable. Smith has published on this topic in one of the leading journals in our field, The Russian Review, and has to her credit several Russian-language publications related to her work on museum history in Vladimir that speak to her active links with her Russian colleagues.


As she moves toward competing her first book manuscript, she is launching a promising new study on post-Stalinist tourism-both domestic and international-to the so-called Golden Ring cities that encircle Moscow. The committee was impressed by the project's scope and ambition, which will be all the more challenging to pursue without the resources afforded to academics with a permanent institutional home.


Though still early in her career, Dr. Smith has already demonstrated her commitment to producing serious work as an independent scholar and the committee very much hopes that this award and the recognition it brings serves to encourage and support her in this endeavor.


AWSS Events at ASEEES, New Orleans, November 15-18, 2012


Please join us at the AWSS Awards Reception and Annual Gathering on Friday, November 16. New this year: an evening reception instead of a luncheon, with a cash bar. There will be a brief business meeting followed by the presentation of AWSS awards.


When: Friday, November 16, 6:30-8:30 pm


Where: Marriott Hotel, Bonaparte Room


AWSS Roundtables: AWSS is participating in two discussion panels this year, both on Friday, November 16, 3:45-5:45:


Women Navigating Academia: The Status of Women in the Profession, Then and Now   

Participants: Adele Lindenmeyr (Villanova University), Christine Worobec (Northern Illinois University), Anna Aries Berman (McGill University), Laura Ann Miller-Purrenhage (Kettering University)


This roundtable will examine the changing status of women in our profession over the last several decades. What boundaries have women crossed, which ones remain intact and which have we, perhaps, created? The roundtable is sponsored by the ASEEES Committee on the Status of Women.


Where: Preservation Hall Studio 1


The Reality and Future of Part-time and Temporary Teaching Positions   

Participants: Lynne A. Hartnett (Villanova University), Maya Karin Peterson (UC Santa Cruz), Mariela Toteva Dakova (Boston College), Paula Anne Michaels (University of Iowa), Chair.


Where: Bonaparte Room

AWSS Research Notes


The Fifth International Research Conference of the Russian Association of Researchers in Women's History (RARWH)


ByKaren Petrone, University of Kentucky and Choi Chatterjee, California State University, Los Angeles


The Fifth International Research Conference of the Russian Association of Researchers in Women's History (RARWH) was held in Tver' on 4-7 October 2012. Dan Healey, Professor of History at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom has written a wonderfully detailed and scrupulous conference report (see link below). As both participants and observers, we echo Professor Healey's sentiments and in this companion piece elaborate on a few of the points that he raised in his report. Read More...
Member News

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Caroline Adderson's most recent novel, The Sky Is Falling (Toronto: Thomas Allen, 2010), concerns the fear of nuclear war and the love of Russian Literature. The novel was both long-listed for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize.


Alyssa Dinega Gillespie edited Taboo Pushkin: Topics, Texts, Interpretations, a publication of the Wisconsin Center for Pushkin Studies (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012). The book contains chapters by editor Gillespie as well as Irina Reyfman, Igor Nemirovsky, Joe Peschio, Oleg Proskurin, Igor Pilshchikov, J. Douglas Clayton and Natalia Vesselova, Jonathan Brooks Platt, Andrew Kahn, Katya Hokanson, David M. Bethea, Alexandra Smith, Carol Any, and Caryl Emerson.


Adrienne M. Harris (Baylor University) has recently published the following articles: 

  • "Memorialisations of a Martyr and her Mutilated Bodies: Public Monuments to Soviet War Hero Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya (1942-the present)." The Journal of War and Culture Studies 5, no. 1 (2012): 77-90.
  • "'Something Like Happiness' in Northern Bohemia:  Post-1989 Cinematic Portrayals of the Czech Industrial North." East European Politics and Societies. 26, no. 3 (2012): 447-453.  [Although the title does not reflect it, this article is largely about masculinity in these cinematic portrayals.]
  • "The Lives and Deaths of a Soviet Saint in the Post-Soviet Period: The Case of Zoia Kosmodem'ianskaia." Canadian Slavonic Papers 53, nos. 2-3-4 (2011): 271-304.


Geraldine Kelley (Ph. D. Slavic Languages and Literatures, Wisconsin), and Mary Schaeffer Conroy (Ph. D. Indiana University), translator and editor, respectively, have published an English version of Rolf Torstendahl and Natal'ia Selunskaia's Zaroshdenie  demokraticheskoi kul'tury (Moscow: Rosspen, 2005) . The English title is The Birth of Russian Democratic Culture in Late Imperial Russia: Reforms and Elections to the First Two National Legislatures, 1905-1907 (Altus History 2012).  The book is path-breaking is several respects.  The authors assert that, since the regime of Nicholas II remained in power, there was no actual revolution in 1905 despite violent upheavals from that year through 1907.  Having mined newly accessible archival materials on elections to the first two State Dumas in six gubernii, the authors (and their graduate students) document that the elections to the first two State Dumas were inclusive of the male electorate.  Although critical of Stolypin's June 3, 1907, electoral law, they compare the political system of the Russian Empire with those obtaining in other continental states, particularly Austria-Hungary and Germany, to illustrate that Russia did not lag far behind in the legal and participatory aspects of her political system. The 390-page paperback, with maps, tables and charts, is available at www.amazon.com or www.altushistory.com for $19.95.


Esther Kingston-Mann (University of Massachusetts Boston) presented a paper entitled "How Much Land Does a Woman Need?  A Comparative Study of Women, Property Rights and Privatization" at the Rural Women's Studies Association in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada in July 2012.  An earlier version of this paper was presented at Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. Both papers build on her earlier work on peasant women, in particular: "Claiming Property: The Soviet-era Private Plots as "Women's Turf,'" in Borders of Socialism: Private Spheres of Soviet Russia, edited by Lewis Siegelbaum (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 25-46.   


Lisa A. Kirschenbaum has published "Exile, Gender, and Communist Self-Fashioning: Dolores Ib�rruri (La Pasionaria) in the Soviet Union," Slavic Review 71, no. 3 (Fall 2012): 566-89.


Claire Nolte, Professor of History at Manhattan College, received a Fulbright Fellowship to undertake research in the Czech Republic in the spring 2013 semester. She has also published "Inter army silent Musae?  Culture in Wartime Prague," in the dual-language book, Kafka, Prag und der Erste Weltkrieg/Kafka, Prague, and the First World War, edited by Manfred Engel and Ritchie Robertson, Oxford Kafka Studies (W�rzburg: K�nighausen & Neumann, 2012) , 93-105.  


Alexandra Popoff has published The Wives: The Women behind Russia's Literary Giants (New York and London: Pegasus Books, 2012).


Marian J. Rubchak, Senior Research Professor of History at Valparaiso University, lists the following publications and presentations:

  • "The Charge of the Pink Brigade: FEMEN and the campaign for justice in Ukraine." Eurozine, 3 July 2012, www.eurozine.com/articles/2012-07-03-rubchak-en.html.
  • "Discourse of Continuity and Change: Legislature and the Gender Issue in Ukraine."   In Gender Politics and Society in Ukraine, edited by Olena Hankivsky and Anastasiya Salnykova. Toronto: U of Toronto Press, 2012. 
  • "Seeing  Pink: Searching for Gender Justice through Opposition in Ukraine." European Journal of Women's Studies 19, no. 1 (February 2012): 55-72.
  • Presentation of her book, Mapping Difference: The Many Faces of Women in Contemporary Ukraine (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Press, 2011), at Ukrainian Museum of Modern Art, Chicago, IL together with a paper on "The Direction in Women's Activism in Ukraine," June 2012.
  • "Women Redefine Change, Ukrainian-Style: FEMEN; The Accidental Feminists." Paper presented at the Association for the Study of Nationalities Conference, April 2012.


Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, a faculty member for the Harvard Summer Program-St. Petersburg, Russia in 2010 and 2011, has recently published:

  • "From West to East: International Women's Day, the First Decade." Aspasia 6 (2012): 1-24.
  • Entries for Mariia Pokrovskaia (357-61), Mariia Chekhova (393-97), Alexandra Kollontai (407-10), Anna Kal'manovich (411-14), and Anna Filosofova (414-18). In Feminist Writings from Ancient Times to the Modern World: A Global Sourcebook and History, vol. 2, edited by Tiffany K. Wayne. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, 2011.


Olga T. Yokoyama,Distinguished Professor of Applied Linguistics at UCLA, published three articles relevant to gender studies:

  • "Gender-linguistic phenomena across languages: how universal are they?" In Individual Languages and Language Universals, edited by M. Takeuchi, 59-94. Yokohama: Kanagawa UP, 2008. This article provides an overview of gendered language in several languages, including Russian.
  • "Linguistics as a diagnostic tool for textual ineptness: Narrative perspective in Zamjatin's Navodnenie." In Metody analizu teksta (Methods of Text Analysis), edited by E. Kelih, V.V. Levickij, & G. Altmann, 328-344. Černivci: RUTA-Publishing House, 2009. This article shows how gender linguistics can help evaluate literary text.
  • "Gender v pis'max krest'jan 19-go veka (Gender in 19th century peasant letters)." In Konstrukty nacional'noj identičnosti v russkoj kul'ture: vtoraja polovina XIX stoletija - Serebrjanyj vek, edited by Regina Nohejl et al., 141-152. Moscow: RGGU UP, 2011. This article analyzes gender and androgyny as seen in the views and values of brother and sister.

She also published a book containing many letters (in English translation) by 19th century Russian peasant women:

  • Russian Peasant Letters: Life and Times of a 19th-century Family. Wiesbaden: Verlag Otto Harrassowitz, 2010.