ASEEES Honored Scholars at its Annual Convention in Chicago, IL

Publishing Date: 
Thursday, November 9, 2017


The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), the leading private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Russia, Central Eurasia, and Eastern and Central Europe, presented its annual awards for Distinguished Contributions to area studies, eight book prizes, an outstanding doctoral dissertation prize, graduate student essay prize, and a librarianship lifetime achievement award on November 11, 2017. The 49th Annual Convention was held at the Chicago Marriot Downtown Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois, November 9-12, 2017.

The 2017 Distinguished Contributions to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Award, honors eminent members of the profession who have made major contributions to the field through scholarship of the highest quality, mentoring, leadership, and service to the profession, was presented to Christine D. Worobec, board of Trustees and Distinguished Research Professor Emerita at Northern Illinois University, For her tireless work mentoring scholars and in promoting Russian and Ukrainian women’s history, family history, and rural history.

No historian has done more than Christine D. Worobec to explore the everyday lives of peasants and ordinary women in Russia and Ukraine. Her work is especially commendable due to the field long being dominated by scholarship on the intelligentsia and the political elites. She has written numerous path-breaking books and articles, especially her monographs Peasant Russia: Family and Community in the Post-Emancipation Period (Princeton University Press), which won the Association of Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) Heldt Prize for the Best Book by a Woman in 1991, and Possessed: Women, Witches, and Demons in Imperial Russia (Northern Illinois University Press), which won the Heldt Prize for the Best Book in Women’s Studies a decade later.  Worobec has also collaborated on significant reference works and essay collections. Currently, she is working on mapping and analyzing Orthodox pilgrimages in modern Ukraine and Russia.

Apart from her contributions to the historiography of this less-commonly explored topic, Dr.  Worobec has generously served her profession. As a member of the AAASS/ASEEES since 1985, she served on its Board of Directors and chaired various committees. Worobec has also advanced the position of women and women’s studies in academe as a long-time leader of the AWSS. She has served on the editorial boards of several journals and refereed seventeen additional journals. Worobec has advised countless organizations and administrative committees. Fabled for her intellectual generosity and personal warmth, she has devoted a significant part of her career to advancing the status of women in the field, both in the US and abroad. Finally, Worobec’s nearly twenty years as editor of the Russian Studies Series at Northern Illinois University Press is noteworthy: Under her direction, this series has published an astonishing number of significant scholarly books and enabled many junior scholars to establish themselves in a challenging publishing environment.

Dr. Worobec, who earned her BA, MA, and PhD degrees in History from the University of Toronto, has also garnered numerous accolades, among them grants from the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki, the Institute for Advanced Studies (Paris), the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The following scholars were also recognized for their contributions to the field:

Benjamin Peters, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Tulsa and affiliated faculty at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, received the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize for How Not to Network a Nation. The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet. (MIT Press). This prize is awarded to the most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies in any discipline of the humanities or social sciences published in English in the United States in the previous calendar year.

Also, the Wayne S. Vucinich prize committee gave honorable mention to Martha Lampland, professor of sociology and faculty director of the Science Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego, for her book The Value of Labor: The Science of Commodification in Hungary, 1920–1956. (University of Chicago Press)

Rebecca Gould, professor of Islamic World and Comparative Literature, at the University of Birmingham, was awarded the University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies for her book, related to Russian, Eastern European or Eurasian literary and cultural studies, entitled Writers & Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press).

Additionally, Christine E. Evans, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, received an honorable mention for her book A History of Soviet Central Television (Yale University Press).

Aileen M. Kelly, Fellow of King’s College and a reader in intellectual history and Russian culture, emerita, at the University of Cambridge, received the Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History, established in 2009 and sponsored by the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, which is awarded for an outstanding work published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the field of history. Her work is titled: The Discovery of Chance: The Life and Thought of Alexander Herzen (Harvard University Press).

Additionally, the Zelnik prize committee gave honorable mention to Mark Bassin, professor in the School of Historical and Contemporary Studies at Sodertorn University, for his book The Gumilev Mystique: Biopolitics, Eurasianism, and the Construction of Community in Modern Russia (Cornell University Press).

Juliet Johnson, Professor of Political Science at McGill University, received the Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies, sponsored by the Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, for her work Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World (Cornell University Press). This prize is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography in the previous calendar year

 Additionally, Rebecca Gould, professor of Islamic World and Comparative Literature, at the University of Birmingham, received the Davis Center Prize Honorable Mention for her work entitled Writers & Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press).

 Juliet Johnson, (McGill University), received the Marshall Shulman Prize, sponsored by the Harriman Institute of Columbia University, for Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World (Cornell University Press). This prize is awarded for an outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe.     

Additionally, the Shulman prize committee gave honorable mention to Agnia Grigas, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, for her book Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire (Yale University Press)

The Ed A Hewett Book Prize, established in 1994 and sponsored by the University of Michigan Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph on the political economy of Russia, Eurasia and/or Eastern Europe. This year, Juliet Johnson received this award for her book Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World (Cornell University Press), as will Sergei Antonov (Professor of History at Yale University), for Bankrupts and Usurers of Imperial Russia: Debt, Property, and the Law in the Age of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy (Harvard University Press).

Paul Brykczynski, an independent historian, received the Kulczycki Book Prize for Polish Studies for his book Primed for Violence:  Murder, Antisemitism, and Democratic Politics in Interwar Poland (University of Wisconsin Press)

The Kulczycki prize committee also gave honorable mention to John Kulczycki, professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, for his book Belonging to the Nation: Inclusion and Exclusion in the Polish-German Borderlands, 1939-1951 (Harvard University Press) 

Louis Porter, a PhD Candidate at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, received the ASEEES Graduate Student Essay Prize, awarded for an outstanding essay by a graduate student in Slavic studies for: “No ‘Neutral Men’: A Day in the Life of a Soviet International Civil Servant, 1956-1967.”

The Robert C. Tucker/Stephen F. Cohen Dissertation Prize, sponsored by the KAT Charitable Foundation, for an outstanding English-language doctoral dissertation was awarded to David Szakonyi, Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, for his work, “Renting Elected Office: Why Businesspeople Become Politicians in Russia.”

Karen Rondestvedt, Curator for Slavic and Eastern European Collections at Stanford University Libraries (retired), received the CLIR Distinguished Service Award.