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Co-Editor: Adrienne Harris
Co-Editor: Emily Greble
Editorial Assistant: Leah Ash
In this Issue:
In Remembrance of Philippa Hetherington
Letter from Serbia
2022 AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award
2022 Mary Zirin Prize
2022 Barbara Heldt Prizes
2022 Herlihy Graduate Research Prize
2022 AWSS Graduate Essay Prize

Ask Aleksandra
Member News
A Message from the Book Review Editor
Book Reviews
In Remembrance of Philippa Hetherington
On November 6, 2022, our colleague, friend, and AWSS member Philippa Hetherington died from breast cancer. She was comfortable and surrounded by people who love her; her husband (Alessandro), mum (Robyn) and brother (William). She was 38 years old.
 
Originally from Australia, Philippa graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA in History, then went on to receive her MA and Ph.D. from Harvard University in History, with a certification in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality in 2014. Since 2015, she has been a Lecturer in History at University College London’s School of Social and Political Sciences. She was a pioneering scholar whose work left an imprint on multiple fields.
 
We invited two of Philippa’s colleagues and friends, Siobhán Hearne (Durham University) and Alison Frank Johnson (Harvard University) to share these short notes on her legacy as a scholar, teacher, activist, and friend.
“With the untimely death of Philippa Hetherington, our field has lost a brilliant mind and a wonderful person. Philippa’s scholarship has made an indelible mark on gender and sexuality studies, legal history, and the history of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. She was the leading expert on the history of sex trafficking (or as it was formerly known, the ‘traffic in women’) in the Russian and Soviet contexts and brought pathbreaking insights into historiographical conversations about prostitution, migration, and international governance.
 
Over the past decade, Philippa published a series of articles that demonstrate the breadth of her talent and academic interests, ranging from Russian criminologists’ engagement with ideas about international criminal law at the turn of the twentieth century, to the pivotal role socialist countries played in the drafting of the 1949 UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. This record of varied and paradigm-shifting scholarship could only be produced by a person of deep intelligence and boundless curiosity.
 
Her most recent publication (co-authored and -edited with Julia Laite as part of a special issue on migration, sex, and intimate labour) is a fundamental re-thinking of trafficking as a category of historical analysis. Like all of Philippa’s work, it is analytically sharp, conceptually ambitious, and beautifully written. Philippa also co-edited an excellent special issue with Glenda Sluga on liberal and illiberal internationalisms, which interrogates the presumed relationship between liberalism and internationalism.
 
The last time I listened to Philippa present her work was during the first lockdowns of the pandemic, when she delivered a fascinating presentation on ‘bride abduction’ as object of regulation and suppression in nineteenth century Russia as part of the Oxford University Long Nineteenth Century Seminar. The lively and invigorating discussion afterwards was characteristic of any event that Philippa was involved in. Philippa was not only a brilliant scholar, but an incredibly kind, warm, and funny person.
 
Philippa’s strength and steadfast determination will have a profound impact on breast cancer patients in the UK for years to come. Even in the most difficult periods of her illness, she fought to make targeted treatments for metastatic triple negative breast cancer available on the NHS, even providing evidence at the UK Parliament’s Health & Social Care Committee in October 2021. Thanks to the tireless campaigning of Philippa and her fellow activists, Trodelvy has now been approved for NHS use across the UK.
 
Philippa’s light will continue to shine on through her activism and scholarship. Eternal rest.”
 
Siobhán Hearne
“Philippa was, it must be said, truly beautiful. This shouldn’t matter and generally in an academic context it doesn’t. But she was so stunning, with her rule-breaking eye color and her beautiful golden hair and her piles upon piles of textiles wrapped around her shoulders. And she was brilliant. Her research combined attention to the trafficking in women and girls from the Russian Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the public conversations about the law, about citizenship, and about public health that this trafficking inspired. Her work on trafficking was so obviously important, so obviously interesting, that one immediately wondered how it was possible that it had not already been done. But it hadn’t – despite widespread contemporary interest in the problem of (especially, but not only, Russian) women purportedly forced into prostitution. The historical literature on the so-called white slave trade is especially vibrant in the case of western Europe; work has also been done investigating the role that antisemitism had in branding the traffickers (but not their victims) as predominantly Jewish. Philippa could have simply added a Russian dimension to the story and claimed to be contributing something new – but she did so much more. She introduced a theoretical framework focusing on governmentality and the interplay of public-private responsibilities for individual welfare and the welfare of the ‘people’ as a whole, at the local, national, and international levels. The topic of sex trafficking, the ‘trade in women,’ or the ‘white slave trade,’ as it has variously been known, requires a delicate hand. How does one decry the exploitation of women and girls as unwilling sex workers forced or tricked into prostitution and deprived of the means of escaping that fate at the same time that one acknowledges the ability of some women to choose sex work as an expression of their own control over their bodies and the purposes to which they put them? It is a question that has befuddled both scholars and activists, and that similarly perplexed feminists, humanitarian aid agencies, and reformers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While Philippa offered some answers, she also asked whether this dichotomy made sense as an “either/or” to the women whose fates – and whose choices – were at stake in the debates that placed their ‘agency’ and ‘victimhood’ not on a sliding-scale or spectrum, but in binary opposition. We have lost in her a great historian. But we’ve lost much more than that — Philippa became, after her diagnosis, a tireless advocate of access to life-extending drugs for women in the UK. Her advocacy worked, although the drug did not work for her, and @metupuk is full of tributes from young women who credit Philippa with adding months to their own lives. A beautiful woman indeed.”
 
Alison Frank Johnson  
Letter from Serbia: Understanding Support for the Russian War on Ukraine, Anti-Gender Ideology, and Reactionary Violence in Serbian Society
By Adriana Zaharijević

I was born in Belgrade in 1978. Although I never moved, I have lived in four different states: Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (1978-1992), Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1992-2002), Union of Serbia and Montenegro (2002-2006), Republic of Serbia (since 2006). During my lifetime, the country has been socialist and post-socialist, and is still painfully transitioning into full-blown capitalism. Unlike other countries behind the Iron Curtain, the one whose first citizenship I was assigned had not been steered by Moscow, which is today often taken to be a Yugo-East-European peculiarity. Another Yugo-peculiarity was its collapse through a series of armed conflicts, today commonly known as ‘Yugoslav wars of succession’. However, if we exclude a tiny fraction of time, from late March to early June 1999, when the NATO alliance carried out an aerial bombing campaign against Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Belgrade was officially not in war.
 
This short autobiographical sketch may function as an extended ID card for several generations living in Serbia today. Furthermore, it may prove useful for understanding why in the current war Serbia opts for a unique posture it holds: Serbia is the only European state which took a position of neutrality regarding NATO and Russia, despite continual pressures to align with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, including restrictive measures. The position of neutrality is wrought with paradoxes. From the very beginning of Russian aggression on Ukraine, the general argument was that Serbians know well what the sanctions do, having been exposed to severe international embargos twice. At the same time, having been subjected to an aerial bombing campaign, we are not keen to side fully with those who are now dropping bombs. Since, however, we were both bombed and sanctioned by the West, here epitomized by NATO – Russia’s main real adversary in this war, as portrayed by both Russian and Serbian demagogues – we share a common enemy. In addition, for a country that supposedly waged no wars – but lost all of them – Russia appears as a big, vengeful brother who will succeed where the younger one failed.  
  
Although it is commonly assumed that Serbian support for Russia reflects a deep-seated Orthodox brotherhood between two peoples, I would suggest a different narrative. The authoritarian regime of Aleksandar Vučić, in power for a full decade, skillfully manipulates and reproduces resentments, fears, and many societal losses as a central part of its authoritarian rule. Serbian society is immersed in unrecognized, unthematized violence. We are violent because we never began to socially heal from the traumas of wars and isolation. After the fall of Slobodan Milošević’s regime, there was a social consensus that the Yugoslav wars were over. Two decades later, we live as if they never took place. The only ‘war’ allowed to be remembered is ‘NATO aggression’, as if bombs fell out of nowhere, as if we valiantly defended ourselves from the whole world without the slightest prospect of victory. Obliterating parts of our history, which is rewritten and re-sculpted on a daily basis to incite feelings of rage, injustice and victimhood, happens in tandem with another source of violence. The gap between the poor and the rich has never been wider. We live in the midst of the formation of searing structural inequalities, which shape the notions of what is allowed, desirable and possible, not only for the losers, but also for the winners of transition. Ultimately, we are violent, because each and every one of us is exposed daily to violence against common sense. In one breath, we are told that we will starve this winter and that Serbia is an economic giant. Some days ago, the covers of all regime-related newspapers bombastically proclaimed that Great Britain announced war on Russia. Were people scared? Or indifferent? Did they believe in it? Did they try to check the veracity of this information? The sheer amount of political crises, law infringements and constitutional violations related to the current government far too often surpasses the powers of judgement. We stopped caring, we stopped cultivating a sense of reasoning. A sense of politically-created helplessness, imprinted on psyches, bellies and consciences, has produced a melancholic continuity of violence. This, I would suggest, created an insensitivity to the suffering of others, and immersion in one’s own victimhood which required recognition and revenge. Russia waging war against Ukraine is not about Ukraine. It is about us, what has been done to us, it is about our resentments that should not be resolved, but multiplied, being a stable source for the political manipulation and the destruction of our social fabric.         
 
What I call violence against common sense refers to one permanent feature of life in Serbia: nothing is ever as it appears or, even more so, as it ought to be. For a feminist, the hardest bit to chew is the presence of the ‘Serbia’s double first’, the first woman and open lesbian in the highest echelons of power. The Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, who during her term became the mother of a child born by her female partner – in a country which legally does not recognize same-sex partnerships – did next to nothing to further the position of women and LGBTQI communities. This, in fact, acted as proof, at home, that the powerful need no legal framework for what they do. In the international arena, it functioned as ‘gender equality for show’, a political performance of Serbia’s new generation of technocrats – with almost half of Brnabić’s government and parliament being composed of women – thus, so advanced that they surpassed their Western mentors.
 
The high summit of this political travesty took place in mid-August 2022, when, in one blow – literally at the same press conference – Ana Brnabić was announced to become Serbia’s prime minister for the third time, and the Europride event was cancelled. In 2019, Europride seemed like a good bargain for the Vučić government, a sign of progress, another ‘check mark’ in Serbia’s performance of excellence. But in 2022, with war raging in Ukraine and multitudes in Serbia backing the Russian cause, with the firmest support of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Europride turned into a major inconvenience. In several consecutive gatherings, thousands of people marched in support of its ban. It is unclear who stood behind these ‘walks for the salvation of Serbia’, but the presence of Russian flags, Putin’s posters, and ‘Kosovo is Serbia’ banners, blended with incense which was supposed to preempt the demonic Europride from happening, demonstrated the conflation of pro-Russian support with opposition of the LGBTQI issues. Anti-gender ideology, for the first time fiercely promoted by the Church, became the staple ingredient of Serbian public life.
 
On the day of Europride, I gathered with three friends to attend the cancelled walk. We did not know whether there would be police or not, or whether the police there would protect or attack us. It rained heavily, the information that reached us were scarce and vague. Certain heedlessness, not bravery, was needed to embark on this. It turned out that endless rows of policemen cordoned the city center, as if positioned to protect us in secret. Once let inside, we were corralled, together with several thousand people, many of them foreigners, and there was a walk, if only 150m long. The usual joyfulness was lacking, rainbow colors blended in the general bleakness of the rainy day. The unceasing tolling of bells at the central Belgrade cathedral was supposed to tell us that we do not belong here, that we are strangers in our own city, in our own country.
 
On the next day, the Minister of the Interior informed the public that no walk took place. The foreigners were only ‘escorted’ to the place of the concert, the allowed form of entertainment for us otherwise banned folk. It is telling that the US ambassador and EU officials were part of this crowd. Russian and Chinese ambassadors were part of another crowd: they sat next to each other, in the closest vicinity of Serbian president at the promotion of the young cadets, that took place some hours before Europride. The Prime Minister and her partner – who are symbolically banned from existing in their own country – represented Serbia at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, only a day after Europride (not) taking place.
 
This sad burlesque has only paradoxes to offer. These paradoxes, however, tear the fabric of life, reproduce quotidian violence, and turn people into melancholic, cynical, and impoverished creatures without lust for change. Several generations who built or tried to build something different – a just and more equal society which faced its past – feel overpowered and at the brink of an abyss, which today has a vague political name: ‘neutrality’. In its performative endarkenment, Serbia produces either internal emigration or endless farewells of so many activist friends who leave in search for breath.                      
 
Adriana Zaharijević is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade. Her work combines political philosophy, feminist theory and social history. She is the author of three monographs in Serbian (Becoming a Woman [2010], Who Is an Individual? [2014, 2019], Life of Bodies [2020]), and her latest book, Judith Butler and Politics will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2023. Her texts have been translated into Albanian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, and Ukrainian, and she has actively translated feminist theory and philosophy into Serbian for two decades. She regularly writes short pieces for a wider public, in which she tackles social inequalities, antinationalism and antimilitarism. Adriana considers herself part of the vibrant post-Yugoslav feminist scene. She believes in the power of words, in making connections, producing translations of contexts and struggles, in crossing visible and invisible borders, in learning and sharing. She is guided by the belief that there is indeed a society, rather than merely individuals and their families.    

For further reading on Adriana:
https://ifdt.bg.ac.rs/index.php/dt_team/zaharijevic-adriana/?lang=en
https://bg.academia.edu/AdrianaZaharijevi%C4%87
2022 AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award
Dr. Joanna Regulska
Vice Provost and Dean, Global Affairs
Professor, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
University of California, Davis
and

Professor Emerita, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and Department of Geography,
Rutgers University
The Association for Women in Slavic Studies is pleased to announce that the recipient of its 2022 Outstanding Achievement Award is Joanna Regulska.
 
Joanna Regulska earned her PhD in Geography at University of Colorado, Boulder in 1982 and has a master’s degree from the University of Warsaw, Poland, as well as a Doctor Honoris Causa from Tbilisi State University in Georgia (2011). Dr. Katalin Fábián, Professor, Department of Government and Law, Lafayette College, details Joanna’s outstanding achievements in her nomination letter:
 
Trained as a social geographer, Joanna brought a new spatial perspective to the emerging study of women’s social movements in Central Europe. Maintaining the focus on an extensive knowledge of Polish women’s activism, she expanded her research agenda to include local and national levels of democratization in the broader Central and Eastern European region. Building on this expertise and having served as the Principal Investigator in various large-scale research projects supported by the National Science Foundation and the US State Department, among others, she added Ukraine, China, and the Caucasus, especially Georgia, to her contexts of comparisons.
 
The analytical frameworks that Joanna has most profoundly contributed to include the ricocheting spatial influences that affect the persistently controversial local, national, and international processes of democratization and European Union accession. With various collaborators, Joanna has analyzed a wide variety of specific policy frameworks such as migration and gender inequalities in labor markets.
 
She is the author or co-author of eight books, and she has published over 100 articles, chapters, and reviews. She has continued to publish extensively and at a very high level of scholarship while serving in very demanding administrative functions in the past decades at various flagship research universities.
 
While Joanna’s continuing pursuit of research and scholarly publications powerfully informed her extensive administrative positions, she has [also] regularly organized and taught women’s and gender studies courses inside and outside of her home institutions, including summer schools in Croatia, Georgia, and Poland.
 
Joanna has most successfully and vigorously integrated the highest level of scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and global outreach in the fields of women’s and gender studies. After decades of teaching and serving in various high-level administrative positions at Rutgers University, she has continued as a Vice Provost and Dean of Global Affairs at University of California, Davis. Joanna’s writings and the many students she has mentored have profoundly impacted the field of Central and Eastern European studies. Joanna’s service to women’s and gender studies has been exceptional throughout four decades. She has offered the highest quality service to Women’s and Gender Studies both as a researcher, as a teacher, mentor, and high-ranked university administrator. She searched out funding and built extensive international and US-based institutional networks to study the many complex effects of democratization on women and gender.
 
A commitment to diversity, social justice, and the empowerment of women led Regulska to establish graduate degree programs in gender studies at the Central European University in Hungary and Tbilisi State University in Georgia in addition to her research, teaching, service, and administrative responsibilities at Rutgers University and the University of California at Davis.Her global advocacy for scholars working on gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, and her mentoring of scholars across continents, seas, and oceans makes her especially deserving of the AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award.
 
The AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes not only scholarship in the field, but also “the mentoring of female and LGBTQ students/colleagues.” Regulska’s leadership has transformed the scholarly landscape of the post-communist space as she has mentored countless students in her peripatetic academic career. Dr. Mindy Jane Roseman, Director of International Law Programs and Director of the Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights at Yale University, writes: “Without exaggeration, she has been the most formative mentor and adviser in my life. Her mentorship lives on in me, as I’m sure it does in all of her students and colleagues. Joanna nurtures ideas, builds institutions, and supports the people who hatch and inhabit them.” Dr. Hande Eslen-Ziya, Professor of Sociology and of Media and Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, Norway, agrees and writes that “Prof. Regulska’s guidance and both her intellectual and her mentoring style has made me the academic I am today.”
 
Roseman, the associate director of the then-nascent Gender Studies Department at Central European University in 1996, witnessed Joanna up close during that department’s founding. Roseman explains,
 
The Program was met with scepticism, if not outright hostility. The region in the main, and some of CEU’s administrators and founders in particular, equated “gender studies” with the kind of state socialist imposition of women’s associations. Joanna paved the way to change this mind set.
 
Joanna’s program building moved further east as she helped to establish a graduate-level master’s program in Gender Studies at Tbilisi State University. Dr. Medea Badashvili,
Associate Professor, the Head of Master Program in Gender Studies there, explains Joanna’s impact in shaping a program that has “...reflected an interdisciplinary approach to the study of gender in social sciences and humanities.” In short, “Joanna Regulska has made a huge difference at our faculty, university, exemplified the mission of the university, and has positively impacted the academia and students of our university.”
           
Dr. Joanna Mizielińska, Associate Professor, Collegium Civitas, details a long association with Joanna that began when she was a MA student in the gender studies programme at Central European University in Budapest. She underlines Joanna’s career-long mentorship and her leadership in the project “Constructing Supranational Political Spaces: The European Union, Eastern Enlargement and Women’s Agency.” Mizielińska admires Regulska’s “talent in leading a very demanding international project and attracting many well-known scholars from the region to be part of it and her ability to work very hard and show patience towards her collaborators [is] inspiring. Her expertise as a leader and focus on women’s agency in the processes of democratization is worth emphasizing.
 
Even as an academic administrator, Joanna continues to encourage, mentor, and train students. Zofia Włodarczyk, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Sociology at University of California, Davis, reflects on Joanna’s impact on her as an early career scholar. Wlodarczyk writes, “despite my initial lack of confidence, she encouraged me to co-author a chapter of the Routledge Handbook of Gender in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia with her. This process not only was a great learning opportunity for me and resulted in my first academic publication in English, but also made me feel much more competent and confident in my abilities as a scholar.”
 
Dr. Joanna Regulska’s career exemplifies what the AWSS’s Outstanding Achievement Award is designed to recognize: the work of a scholar in the field of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies who has also served as a mentor to students and colleagues in this field. Indeed, as the nomination letter states, “In addition to her many achievements, Joanna may have been most successful in training and continuing to support generations of researchers dedicated to the study of gender in Central and Eastern Europe and the post-communist world.” Her scholarship, her program building, and her mentorship have had and will continue to have a ripple effect across the field and the multiple disciplines in which her scholarship and advocacy have played roles. AWSS is honored to add her to its distinguished list of Outstanding Achievement Award recipients.

AWSS Outstanding Achievement Award Committee:
Dr. Melissa Bokovoy, AWSS President
Professor, Department of History
University of New Mexico
 
Dr. Sara Dickinson, President-Elect
Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures
Università di Genova
 
Dr. Paula Michaels, Past-President
Associate Professor, Department of History
Monash University

2022 Mary Zirin Prize 

The Mary Zirin Prize recognizes the achievements of independent scholars and to encourage their continued scholarship and service in the fields of Slavic or Central and Eastern European Women’s Studies.

The Mary Zirin Prize committee awards its 2022 Prize to Dr. Sonja Simonyi. Dr. Simonyi is being recognized for the breadth and the excellence of her research on under-researched topics within Eastern European cultural studies. Dr. Simonyi is a committed and original scholar with deep expertise in the history of Hungarian and Eastern European cinema who has consistently produced excellent writing and film programming.
 
Dr. Simonyi was awarded a PhD from NYU in 2015 for her dissertation “Framing the Wild East: Celluloid Frontiers in Socialist Eastern European Cinema.” She has since published multiple refereed journal articles and book chapters on the Hungarian experimental film scene. They include writing on the renowned filmmaker Gabor Body, whose work she analyzed through the prism of his relationship with Hungary's state security organs, as well as the non-professional filmmakers who worked at Balasz Bela Studio in Budapest. Most recently, she co-edited the book Postwar Experimental Cinemas in Eastern Europe (Amsterdam University Press, 2022; with Ksenya Gurshtein). Dr. Simonyi has also been working as a curator of exhibitions and film programs bringing her research subject to broader audiences in both the United States and Europe.
 
We commend Dr. Simonyi’s high standards of excellence, her dedication to furthering scholarship on Eastern European film and culture despite the challenges of working as an independent scholar, as well as her generosity with time and ideas as an editor of other people's work. Our decision was unanimous.
 
Mary Zirin Prize Committee:
Dr. Magdalena Moskalewicz, Chair
Assistant Professor, Adj., Art History, Theory and Criticism
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Dr. Patrice M. Dabrowski
Editor, H-Poland
 
Dr. Melissa Bokovoy, AWSS President
Professor, Department of History
University of New Mexico

2022 Barbara Heldt Prizes

Best Book by a Woman-Identifying Scholar in Any Area of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Jadwiga Biskupska. Survivors: Warsaw under the Nazi Occupation. Cambridge University Press, 2022.

This wonderfully written and well-researched book offers a compelling portrait of different groups within the Polish intelligentsia over the course of WWII, exploring its multifaceted resistance to Nazi occupation. Contextualized in the fascinating story of how the Polish intelligentsia came to be, it explains how – despite differing views on a number of issues and the variable and evolving influence of specific personalities – the intelligentsia managed to develop and preserve an idea of the Polish nation through the war years. Biskupska asks big questions and, though she writes on a relatively familiar topic, develops her own sober, honest, and profound analysis, eschewing simple anecdotes and moralizing stories. Working with a deep source base in multiple languages, she presents the important successes achieved by the Polish intelligentsia that have generally been obscured by attention to the successive period and the dynamics of the Soviet imposition of power at war’s end. More generally, Survivors offers a compelling model for how to write about cities under Nazi control.
 

Honorable Mentions:

Eliza Ablovatski. Revolution and Political Violence in Central Europe: The Deluge of 1919. Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Ablovatski’s excellent and absorbing book discusses the failed socialist revolutions in 1919 Munich and Budapest. A transnational comparison of the German and Hungarian experiences in that year and afterwards, the  book “decenters” the Russian Revolution by focusing on its influence in Central Europe. Admirable for the difficulty of its topic and the breadth of its research (linguistically, geographically, and historically), Revolution and Political Violence in Central Europe deserves note for its discussion of revolution’s aftermath, which includes the creation and the manipulation of memory as it relates to the revolution and to the counterrevolution that follows. Ablovatski’s book is also stunning in its conceptualization of violence and gender, and it treats sexual violence with particular nuance and sensitivity.

 

Theodora K. Dragostinova. The Cold War from the Margins: A Small Socialist State on the Global Cultural Scene. Cornell University Press, 2021.

 Dragostinova’s beautifully written and uniquely engaging study begins with the unexpected link of late Soviet Bulgaria to Nigeria. In what follows, we explore the fate of a “small Socialist state” attempting to establish its place on the world stage, a process in which Bulgaria was remarkably successful. Dragostinova explores the path designed and followed by this nation in an attempt to become internationally visible and to consolidate important and useful ties to other countries. Eminently readable and informative, this book advances a series of case studies to add a human touch to the important ideas under discussion, such as totalitarianism, agency, and social control. Dragostinova shows us the second world as it emerges into a global framework, making surprising connections between small and large nations in the globe’s many “peripheries” and providing much food for thought.

Best Book in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Women’s and Gender Studies

Katalin Fábián, Janet Elise Johnson, and Mara Lazda. Routledge Handbook of Gender in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Routledge, 2021.
 
Unparalleled in its usefulness for the fields of study indicated in the title of this prize, the Routledge Handbook of Gender in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia assembles a dazzling collection of high-level articles into a coherent and well-formulated whole. Excellent editing permits the enormous breadth of topics introduced here to work both individually and in concert. Readers are treated to sensitive and eye-opening discussions of differences and similarities across a region which features not only different landscapes and languages, but also widely diverse imperial histories and religious traditions. A powerhouse of research on important topics, this volume will be a tremendous resource for years to come.
 
Honorable Mention:
Mie Nakachi. Replacing the Dead: The Politics of Reproduction in the Postwar Soviet Union. Oxford University Press, 2021.
 
Nakachi’s fascinating book argues that the Soviet Union in 1955 was the first state to make abortion a “woman’s right.” The volume offers stupendous oral histories supported by careful research and analysis; these are recounted with great empathy and without moral judgment. We learn of multiple individual approaches to the postwar abortion regime in Soviet Russia, of suffering, and of survival. In the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned, this smart and observant history of abortion will be sought out by many.
 
Heldt Book Prize Committee:
Dr. Sara Dickinson, Chair, Heldt Prize Committee
Dipartimento di Lingue e Culture Moderne
Università di Genova
 
Dr. Anna Hájková                                                      
Department of History
University of Warwick          
                       
Dr. Melissa K. Stockdale
Department of History
University of Oklahoma
 
Dr. Jelena Subotić
Department of Political Science
Georgia State University

Best Article in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Women's and Gender Studies

Andrea Bělehradová and Kateřina Lišková. “Aging Women as Sexual Beings. Expertise between the 1950s and 1970s in State Socialist Czechoslovakia.” The History of the Family, 26, no. 4 (2021), 562-82. https://doi.org/10.1080/1081602X.2021.1955723 
 
In their article, Bělehradová and Lišková take up the important issue of climacteric and post-menopausal women and their sexual pleasure under state socialism in Czechoslovakia. This innovative article sits at the crossroads of anthropology, sociology, and medical history and traces the transnational knowledge networks that informed women’s health discourses in the mid-twentieth century. The committee was particularly impressed by the way the authors used research on women’s sexuality from three Central European countries (Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia), and then also documented how translations of work by American sexologists affected state socialist medical conversations. Giving a thorough background on women’s sexual and reproductive health, the authors examine four Czechoslovak medical journals to trace the developing interests of experts in aging women as a new kind of sexual being. The range of sources, the clear organization and writing, and the convincing argument about the need for more of this kind of comparative research made this article stand out as superlative.
 
Honorable Mention
Irina Roldugina. “Homosexuality in the Late Imperial Russian Navy: A Microhistory.” Kritika 22, no. 3 (Summer 2021), 451-78. doi:10.1353/kri.2021.0033.
 
Roldugina’s article on homosexuality in the Russian imperial navy uses microhistories to explore gender, sexuality, and gender presentation in the late imperial period. It makes convincing connections between high and popular culture, drawing on sources from witness testimonies in court cases, personal diaries, and specialized medical journals to military documents, including personnel files. Filling a gap in the historical literature, Roldugina has crafted a fascinating story that contributes to military history, the history of gender and sexuality, and social and religious history. Her well-written article is very teachable and will enrich the syllabi of undergraduate courses on gender and sexuality in the period.
 
Heldt Article Prize Committee
Dr. Angela Brintlinger, Chair, Article Prize Committee
Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures
Ohio State University
 
Dr. Abby Holekamp
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
University of Chicago
 
Dr. Ivan Simić
Department of East European Studies
Charles University
 
Dr. Chelsi West Ohueri
Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies
University of Texas

2022 Herlihy Graduate Research Prize

The AWSS Herlihy Graduate Research Prize Committee is pleased to announce that Ella Rossman, a Ph.D. Candidate at University College London in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, has been selected as the recipient of this year’s award. Rossman’s interdisciplinary doctoral thesis, “How to be a Soviet Girl: Female Adolescence in the USSR after the Second World War (1946-1991),” promises an in-depth and ground-breaking examination of how several generations of women were socialized in the late Soviet Union. Rossman argues that a “specific culture (or cultures)” existed for girls in the Soviet Union. Her thesis situates the experiences of Soviet adolescent girls within an international field of girlhood studies and offers a new perspective through women’s eyes on the political, social, and diplomatic history of the Soviet Union during the Cold War decades. This study promises  to contribute to our understandings of contemporary Russian society and to feminist studies broadly. Rossman has already collected a large amount of data and is at an advanced stage in writing her thesis. Due to her feminist anti-war activism, Rossman is unable to return to her home country, the Russian Federation, to carry out research. She will use the grant to pay for copies of documents from Russian archives and complete her doctoral work.
 
Herlihy Prize Committee:
Barbara Allen, PhD, Chair
Associate Professor of History
La Salle University

Laurie S. Stoff, PhD.
Principal Lecturer & Honors Faculty Fellow
Barrett, The Honors College, Arizona State University, Tempe
 
Ania Switzer, PhD.
Instructor, Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies
The University of British Columbia

2022 AWSS Graduate Essay Prize

The AWSS Graduate Essay Prize Committee is pleased to announce its 2022 winner is McKenna Elizabeth Marko (University of Michigan) for her dissertation chapter “Mediating Gendered Landscapes of Pain and Trauma: Women’s Testimonies from Goli Otok and Sveti Grgur.” This chapter captures her dissertation’s broader theorizing of spatial memory as a dynamic process produced via complex and multimodal processes of mediation involving sites of memory, mnemonic actors, and media of all genres: literature, testimony, graphic novel, documentary and feature films, poetry, and autobiography. This rich and varied source base is effectively mobilized in this chapter for her analysis of two corrective labor camps in Yugoslavia in the immediate wake of the Tito-Stalin split (1949-56). Grounding varied mediums of narrative in the bodies and spaces that produced them, Marko’s analysis illuminates the ways that gender and the experience of the Holocaust inflect this political violence. This work is to be commended not only for recentring women’s voices in this history, but for bringing an exceptionally sophisticated theoretical lens to bear on her analysis.
 
Graduate Essay Prize Committee:
Paula Michaels, Chair
Associate Professor, Department of History
Monash University

Heather Coleman
Professor, Department of History, Classics, & Religion,
University of Alberta
 
Margarita Vaysman
Senior Lecturer, School of Modern Languages
University of St. Andrews
Ask Aleksandra
Dear Aleksandra, 
 
I come to you with a dilemma I fear is becoming ever more common in our field. After roughly five years of a promised tenure line that never came to fruition, my university is offering me a permanent, full-time teaching position in lieu of a tenure line. On the one hand, I'm ecstatic - I want a stable job (who wants to be on the market right now? No one) and I genuinely love teaching. I also love my institution and have no desire to leave. I'm even planning on buying a house soon.
 
But on the other hand, I recognize this new position will bring with it other permanent changes: I will never have a sabbatical, I will be teaching a 3:4 for the rest of my career, I will have limited access to funding and awards, and I will not have as much opportunity for career growth as I would in a tenure-track position. I love my job, and I have worked my жопа off the past few years to solidify my career, but I don't know if I have the energy or stamina to work this hard forever. Alternatively, I also don't know what else I would do for a living (and a girl has bills to pay! And cats and dogs to feed!).  
 
Please lend me your insight! 
 
Sincerely, 

Neubezhdennaia
Dear Neubezhdennaia,

Yours is a story of when dreams meet reality. I dreamed that I’d make strides in my anger management when dealing with mansplainers. How’s that going? Not so well, TBH.
               
Most Baby Scholars dream of the classic academic career of their advisors. They want to grow up to be just like their mentor mom/dad and have big, visible careers, with lots of glamorous research and conference travel, book launches, and keynote talks. When they are not trotting the globe, they will be dropping pearls of wisdom on rapt undergraduates in 15-person seminars held in ivy-covered buildings. Like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but with less booze.

The cold, hard reality is that almost no one gets that dream. In fact, so few do that we can go so far as to call it a fantasy. For all intents and purposes, that career no longer exists. “But my friend… “ Ok, yeah, there’s the random exception that proves the rule, but let’s get real here. Tenure-track jobs are practically unicorns these days. And the unicorns that roam on the hallowed grounds of well-endowed campuses that can afford to support that vision of academia are even rarer.
               
Most tenure-track jobs are at public institutions and at private schools that don’t have the deep pockets to offer significant research support. Many of these schools have 4/4 teaching loads, no sabbaticals, and little money to seed, let alone fully fund, research. And the people who get these jobs? They are the lucky ones, because landing a secure academic job is not the experience of most PhDs in the humanities and social sciences.
               
So, let’s be clear about the lay of the land here: there are extremely few tenure-track jobs, and even the ones that there are no longer support research as in the days of yore. Basically, no one is having the career their mentors had. Even their mentors don’t have those careers anymore!
               
What’s on the table for you? A “permanent, full-time teaching position in lieu of a tenure line.” In practical terms, it is very nearly the holy grail of a tenure-track job, as you yourself acknowledge. You don’t say what you get to teach exactly, but the fact that you don’t raise it as a problem suggests that the content of these classes is something you enjoy and close (enough) to your research specialty. Similarly, no complaints about your colleagues – that’s a big plus. You love the institution and that they are trying to do right by you with a stable, secure gig speaks very well of it as a place to work. The exploitation of precariously employed PhDs in higher education is a disgrace. But not these folks – they are offering you a proper job; proper enough for you to even get a mortgage.
               
In all the most important ways, it looks a lot like a tenure-track job. What it lacks, like access to sabbatical and research funding, are things that few jobs offer. Most jobs are (and always were) teaching-focused, with little support for research. In other words, you’re not really missing out on much when this opportunity is viewed in the broader higher education landscape.
               
Let’s dwell a moment longer on the institution itself. It seems like a decent place, given that they aren’t just happy to exploit you indefinitely. You say you “love” it and have “no desire to leave it.” Do you fully grasp how rare that is? I know academics love to kvetch, but the amount of complaining we do about our Evil Overlords is truly extraordinary. That you like and respect the institution where you work is actually pretty rare. Don’t lose sight of how valuable that, in and of itself, is. It is no picnic working at a university that is a toxic cesspool, whether poisoned by neoliberal corporatization or sheer incompetence.
               
I think you already know all this. What remains is letting go of a dream that has outlived its utility. The aspiration to have a research-focused career maybe played a role in propelling you through grad school, but it isn’t serving you anymore. It’s getting in the way of seeing what your hard work has actually rewarded you with: a terrific, satisfying, stable job at a place you love, with colleagues you enjoy, in a desirable location to live. Hearty congratulations on this amazing achievement, which is no doubt testimony to your skills as teacher and scholar. Now go live your best life!
 
In comradeship,

Aleksandra
Member News
Congratulations to our members on their many accomplishments this year.
 
Barbara C. Allen, Associate Professor of History, La Salle University, announces the publication of a paperback edition of her book, The Workers' Opposition in the Russian Communist Party: Documents, 1919-30 (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2022). https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/1964-the-workers-opposition-in-the-russian-communist-party
 
Anna Berman, Clare College, Cambridge University and Hilde Hoogenboom, Arizona State University, received a Cambridge Humanities Research Grant for £20,000 to celebrate the Khvoshchinskaya sisters – Nadezhda, Sofya, and Praskovya – Russia’s Brontë sisters. To launch this new research area, we are organizing: 1) a conference “Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya at 200: Russia’s Greatest Forgotten Novelist” at Cambridge, paired with a translation event at Pushkin House, London (April 14-16, 2023). These events will bring together twenty Khvoshchinskaya scholars and translators; 2) a special issue of the Slavic and East European Journal to publish conference proceedings; 3) an edited volume of new scholarship on the Khvoshchinskayas, including the first complete bibliography of their publications; 4) a website at the Slavic Reference Service at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to house the Khvoshchinskayas’ digitized complete works, archival correspondence, and major resources; and 5) the publication of new English translations of the sisters’ novels. In preparation, we have organized a stream of four panels at ASEEES 2022. Our project will continue at the AWSS conference in 2024, which will be at UIUC, where we will be promoting the new website and research on the Khvoshchinskaya sisters.
 
Sarah Cameron, Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland-College Park, has been named a 2022 Carnegie fellow. This $200,000 fellowship will support her research on the Aral Sea disaster. At present, she is at work on a book, “The Aral Sea: Environment, Society, and State Power.” Interweaving an examination of high politics with voices of the people who lived by the sea, the book underscores the urgency of finding more sustainable methods to produce cotton.

Evguenia Davidova, Professor in the Department of International and Global Studies at Portland State University, published an open-access article, “Monarchism with a Human Face: Balkan Queens and the Social Politics of Nursing in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 64, 3 (2022) 788-819.

Katalin Fabian, Professor, Department of Government and Law, Lafayette College, published “Three central triggers for the emergence of Central and Eastern European anti-gender alliances,” New Perspectives, July 2022,
Volume 30, Issue 3: https://doi.org/10.1177/2336825X221113257
 
Maria Garth, PhD Candidate, Department of Art History, Rutgers University, published, “Soviet Avant-Gardes and Socialist Realism: Women Photographers Bridging the Divide, 1930s–1960s” in the Journal of Avant-Garde Studies, October 2022, issue 1.2, and is online in Open Access. Link: https://doi.org/10.1163/25896377-00102002
 
Lee Gurdial Kaur Singh, NYU Abu Dhabi, joined the faculty of New York University Abu Dhabi in August 2022 as a Lecturer in the Writing Program.

Message from the Book Review Editor

WEW is soliciting book reviews from our readers. Attached is a list of possible books. If you are interested in reviewing one of these for WEW, please contact me at Sharon.Kowalsky@tamuc.edu. Please note that most of these books are in English or published by international publishers. There is a large number of scholarly works being published in non-English languages that deserve review. These works are not easily accessible to the book review editor. We strongly encourage you to suggest other recent, non-English language works of interest to our membership, especially those from the region that are not readily available in the U.S. If you plan to travel to the region, please keep an eye out for books that your colleagues and students would like to know about. You could be our next reviewer! If you are interested in reviewing a book that is not on this list, please let me know and we can discuss that. 
 
Book reviews should be 750-1000 words in length.  
 
Sharon A Kowalsky
Sharon.Kowalsky@tamuc.edu

 
Book Reviews
Zdeňka Jastrzembská, Dagmar Pichová, and Jan Zouhar. Czech Women Philosophers and Scientists. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2021. 116 pages, ISBN 2211- 4564, e-book: 46 EUR.
 
By Iveta Jusová, Carleton College
 
The objective of Czech Women Philosophers and Scientists, as articulated by its authors Zdeňka Jastrzembská, Dagmar Pichová, and Jan Zouhar, is to “present a systematic description of the impact of women on the history of Czech philosophy and science” (1). The academic disciplines accounted for in this book include (what from today’s perspective would fall under) the humanities, social sciences and psychology, and natural sciences, as well as mathematics and technical disciplines. The volume is divided into several chapters, with the introductory section focusing on questions of methodology and the rest of the book being divided into historical periods. Read more
Jelena Petrović. Women’s Authorship in Interwar Yugoslavia: The Politics of Love and Struggle. Cham: Palgrave Macmillian, 2010. 327 pp. EUR 64.19 ebook. ISBN: 9783030001421.
 
Reviewed by McKenna Marko, Independent Scholar
 
This book opens with a provocative point of inquiry: we should return to the interwar period to understand the depoliticization of feminism in the Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav contexts. While the socialist Yugoslav government’s disbanding of the Antifascist Women’s League in 1953 is often cited as one of the defining moments in feminism’s depoliticization and demobilization, Women’s Authorship in Interwar Yugoslavia: The Politics of Love and Struggle contextualizes these failures in a long history of misogynistic politics that relegated women’s activism, political engagement, and creativity to the margins of official history. This book provides a comprehensive account of Yugoslav women’s yet-to-be-achieved struggle for emancipation in the interwar period by shedding light on a vibrant network of feminist organizations and institutions, transgressive political activism, and literary production. Read more
Yelena and Galina Lembersky. Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour: Memories of Soviet Russia.  Boston: Academic Studies Press/Cherry Orchard Books, 2022. 257 pp.
 
Reviewed by Valerie Sperling, Clark University
 
Many Soviet women have turned to memoir to describe and process their experiences of life in the USSR, from the Bolshevik revolution to the Stalin era. Galina and Yelena Lembersky have offered a new twist on the genre, however, by co-authoring a mother-daughter memoir. The book focuses on the family’s struggle to emigrate from the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union, a process unexpectedly complicated by Galina’s imprisonment on false charges of corruption and resolved only as perestroika finally took hold. Read more
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