Volume 3, Issue 1
June 2014
In This Issue
Ask Alexandra
Women in Academia
Call for Research Contributions
Research Notes
Call for Book Reviews
Book Reviews
Member News

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AWSS Conference April 10, 2014  


The city of Atlanta wore its full spring finery for the 6th Biennial AWSS conference, the theme of which was "Gender and Revolution." The all-day event took place the day before the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Southern Conference on Slavic Studies. The well-timed pairing of the two conferences allowed AWSS participants to continue their intellectual connections and discussions beyond the conference itself. Everyone who attended agreed on the high quality of all eleven presentations. Read more... 

Ask Aleksandra!

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 awssnewsletter@gmail.com and put "Ask Aleksandra" in the subject line.



Dear Aleksandra,


At first I thought this must be my imagination, but it keeps on happening. I have a female colleague in my department who, despite my efforts to befriend her, makes a point of contradicting me and/or besting me in front of other faculty members (male and female) on a regular basis. And she and I both serve on the Women's Studies Steering Committee! Whatever happened to sisterhood? I really don't know how to respond to her behavior, or even whether I should respond. Since I am always taken by surprise when it occurs, so far I have just let it pass.


Anna B


Read more... 

Women in Academia: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love (or at Least Embrace) Administration

Maria Bucur (Indiana University)

This article is a summary of a roundtable presentation at the November 2013 ASEEES convention in Boston.  I want to thank Stephen Hason for organizing that session.

As most people who end up in administration after receiving a Ph.D. and working in academia, I didn't start out with any aspirations of doing office work, building marketing kits, or fundraising.  I ended there because I wanted to change my workplace, because I didn't see anyone else stepping to the plate to make those changes happen, and because I found out, while performing some of this work, that I got satisfaction out of solving these and other administrative problems--"helping the trains run on time," as they say.

Research Notes: Call for Contributions

Members of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies are invited to submit a brief (c. 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 awssnewsletter@gmail.com or adele.lindenmeyr@villanova.edu
Research Notes


Moving from Dissertation to Book: Embargoes and Revisions

Christine D. Worobec (Northern Illinois University)


At the AWSS-sponsored roundtable on "Women Navigating Academia: Networking" at the 2013 ASEEES meeting in Boston, an audience member asked an extremely important question about whether it is advisable to post one's defended dissertation on a personal or academic-sponsored website. On the positive side, the dissertation would then be easily available to prospective employees and publishing houses, as well as other scholars. A lively conversation ensued, prompting me to put together the following thoughts on the issue. Read more... 

Message from the Book Review Editor: Call for Reviewers   


As before, WEW is soliciting book reviews from our readers. Click here for a list of several books from June Farris's bibliography that would be appropriate for review in the newsletter. If you are interested in one of these books, please contact me at ehemenway@luc.edu. I will then request a review copy from the publisher and send you the guidelines.


We also invite reviews of other recent books, including those from the region that may not be readily available in the U.S. If you plan to travel this summer or fall, please keep an eye out for books that your colleagues and students would like to know about. You could be our next reviewer!


Betsy Jones Hemenway

Loyola University, Chicago



Postcommunism from Within: Social Justice, Mobilization and Hegemony. Edited by Jan Kubík and Amy Linch. New York: New York University Press, 2013. Viii, 440 pp. Illustrations. $40.50, hard bound.


Reviewed by: Alfiya Battalova (PhD Candidate at the Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago)



Context matters. The principle of contextual holism coined by Jan Kubík lies at the core of the collection of essays Postcommunism From Within: Social Justice, Mobilization, and Hegemony. Contextual holism refers to "the situated nature of human action and perception" (24). Compared to most of the previous studies that adopted a binary approach either supporting or critiquing the roles of democracy, civil society, and liberal reforms in post-communist countries, this book challenges the very analytical and methodological frameworks conventionally used in analyses of the region and warns against a limited empirical inquiry. The authors deconstruct the normative assumptions linking democratization to justice, mobilization, and hegemony arguing for a more nuanced micro-level analysis of the region. Was the degree of expanded opportunities the same across different post-communist countries and their citizens? Did the citizens have a say in the development path that their country took? What was the impact of global institutions on the local practices? These questions are intended to disrupt our knowledge of post-communist socioeconomic and political history.

Laura J. Olson and Svetlana Adonyeva. The Worlds of Russian Village Women: Tradition, Transgression, Compromise. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012. Xiii, 368 pp. Glossary. Notes. References. Index. Photographs. $39.95, paper.


Reviewed by: Judith Record McKinney (Hobart & William Smith Colleges)



As indicated by the awards it has won- the 2013 Chicago Folklore Prize and the Eli Köngäs-Maranda Prize for folklore studies of women-this is an excellent book, at once an examination of Russian folk culture, an ethnography of rural women in Russia, and a thoughtful exploration of the challenges of carrying out this kind of work.
Member News

Please send news of your accomplishments - articles, books, promotions, grants, etc. - to awssnewsletter@gmail.com, with "Member News" in the subject line. We publish news after events have happened or publications have appeared. Include full bibliographic information for publications in whatever format is usual for your discipline. Let us know if you would like to include your email address with your news.


For photos, please include a brief caption with information about when and where taken.  


Jenny Kaminer (University of California, Davis) has published Women with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2014).


Paula Michaels (Monash University) has published Lamaze: An International History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014). ISBN 9780199738649.


Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild led a webinar on May 15 "Women and Revolution in Russia," as part of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard's curricular offerings. She also posted a blog about Pussy Riot: "Free Pussy Riot!" (December 4, 2013)  and published her reminiscences about Bulat Okudzhava's two summers at the Norwich University Russian School: "Bulat Okudzhava at Norwich (Bulat Okudzhava v Norviche)," in The Voice of Hope: New Material about Bulat (Golos nadezhdyi: Novoe o Bulate). Moscow: BULAT, 2013, 37-48.


Along with Human Rights Watch representative Boris Dittrich, and AWSS members Valerie Sperling (Clark University) and Elizabeth Wood (MIT), Ruthchild participated in a panel on "Homophobia and the Anti-Gay Campaign in Russia: Political and Social Dimensions" as part of the Sakharov Seminar on Human Rights' Survey of the history of laws and attitudes towards gays and lesbians in Russia and the Soviet Union, at the Davis Center, on November 18, 2013. She, Sperling, and Wood summarized their talks on the Women's Review of Books blog.    


Lynne Ann Hartnett (Villanova University) has published The Defiant Life of Vera Figner: Surviving the Russian Revolution. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014.  ISBN: 978-0-253-01284-5.


Svetlana Tomić (Alfa Unversity, Belgrade) published an edited collection of scholarly papers with materials on the first Serbian female novelist - Draga Gavrilović, who was the first teacher and an early feminist. Valorizacija razlika.Zbornik radova sa naučnog skupa o Dragi Gavrilović (1854-1917) (Beograd: Altera - Mutinacionalni fond kulture, 2013). The collection examines the importance of Gavrilović feminist discourse in Serbian 19th century literature and pedagogical debates, offering information on how her manuscripts were recovered and published in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Tomić initiated the 1913 Reprint edition of Srpkinja,njezin zivot i rad, njezin kulturni razvitak njezina narodna umjetnost do danas (Banja Luka: Grafopapir: Asocijacija inovatorki "Nova" u BiH, 2013) and published the Preface. Srpkinja is probably the first biographical dictionary of the most important Southeastern European women of the time.