2007 Distinguished Contributions to Slavic Studies Award Winner
An illustrious scholar and a generous and inspiring colleague, teacher, and mentor, Richard S. Wortman has changed our perspectives on imperial Russian history. Trained at Cornell University and the University of Chicago, Professor Wortman joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1963, moved to Princeton University in 1977, and then to Columbia University in 1988 where he is currently Bryce Professor of European Legal History.
Over a distinguished career spanning more than four decades, Professor Wortman has brought to historical studies innovative ideas and approaches, together with impeccable scholarship. His pathbreaking books and articles cross disciplinary boundaries (he draws from sociology, anthropology, psychology, political theory, legal studies, and many other sources) and he set a new standard for the application of cultural analysis to Russian history.
His first book, The Crisis of Russian Populism (1967), focuses on the social and psychological circumstances that drove populists to protest in the nineteenth century. The Development of a Russian Legal Consciousness (1976) explores the ideological and institutional dimensions of legal history prior to the Great Reforms and raises issues that remain relevant for Russia today. In a two-volume study, Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy: From Peter the Great to the Death of Nicholas I (1995) and Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy: From Alexander II the Abdication of Nicholas II (2000), Professor Wortman turns his attention to the symbols, rituals, and mythologies instrumental in creating and sustaining tsarist political power. An abridged and revised one-volume version, Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy: From Peter the Great to the Abdication of Nicholas II, appeared in 2006. The Development of a Russian Legal Consciousness (2004) and both volumes of Scenarios of Power (2002, 2004) have been published in Russian translation. He was awarded the George L. Mosse prize of the American Historical Association in 2000 and the Efim Etkind Prize of the St. Petersburg European University in 2006 for these highly acclaimed volumes.
We bestow the 2007 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Slavic Studies on Professor Wortman in recognition of his extraordinary scholarly accomplishments and his lifelong dedication to the field of Russian history.