2015 Distinguished Contributions Award Recipient Alexander Rabinowitch
No historian has done more than Professor Alexander Rabinowitch to demythologize the history of the Russian Revolution, one of the most important events of the 20th century. Although he has published an enormous number of journal articles, book chapters, and edited volumes over his fifty-year career, the core of his scholarship is his triptych of path-breaking monographs: Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising (1968; reprinted 1991); The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd (1976); and The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd (2007). These books immediately received broad international acclaim and have been translated into multiple languages, including Russian. Indeed, his standing among Russian scholars is so high that The Bolsheviks Come to Power was the first Western study of the October Revolution to be published in Russian, and its initial print run, an astonishing 100,000 copies, sold out quickly. The Bolsheviks in Power was published simultaneously in Russian and English, and in 2013 Rabinowitch was honored as an Affiliated Research Scholar of the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is presently working on a fourth book in the series, which will extend the story to 1919-20.
Apart from his seminal contributions to the historiography of the Russian Revolution, Rabinowitch also played a major role in shaping the field of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian studies through his teaching and service. At Indiana University, where he taught from 1968 until his retirement in 1999, he introduced generations of undergraduate and graduate students to the study of Soviet history and society. His former graduate students, including 20 doctoral students, teach at a wide variety of universities and colleges throughout the United States or hold professional appointments in academia or international studies. His record of service to the profession is equally important. At Indiana University, he directed the Russian and East European Institute (1975-84), during which time it won numerous significant national grants. Nationally, he has been actively involved in IREX, CIES, SSRC-ACLS, and the Kennan Institute, not to mention AAASS/ASEEES. He served for many years as the IU representative to AAASS, chaired the Council of Member Institutions, and served on the Board of Directors. Internationally, he has been vice president of the International Commission on the History of the Russian Revolution (1985-96) and since 2003 he has sat on the International Advisory Committee of the History Faculty at the European University in St. Petersburg.
For his outstanding contributions to historiography, his inspiring teaching, mentoring and tireless administrative work to advance the study of Russia and the USSR, Alex Rabinowitch is a worthy recipient of the ASEEES award for Distinguished Contributions to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.