Graduate Essay Prize

Call for Submissions: 2017 AWSS Graduate Essay Prize

AWSS invites submissions for the 2017 Graduate Essay Prize. The prize is awarded to the author of a chapter or article-length essay on any topic in any field or area of Slavic/East European/Central Asian Studies written by a woman, or on a topic in Slavic/East European/Central Asian Women's/Gender Studies written by a woman or a man. This competition is open to current doctoral students and to those who defended a doctoral dissertation in 2016-2017. If the essay is a seminar paper, it must have been written during the academic year 2016-2017. If the essay is a dissertation chapter, it should be accompanied by the dissertation abstract and table of contents. Previous submissions and published materials are ineligible. Essays should be no longer than 50 double-spaced pages, including reference matter, and in English (quoted text in any other language should be translated). Completed submissions must be received by September 1, 2017. Please send a copy of the essay and an updated CV to each of the three members of the Prize Committee as email attachments. Please address any questions to the chair of the prize committee.

Choi Chatterjee, Committee Chair
Professor of History
California State University, Los Angeles

Professor Adrienne Harris
Associate Professor of Russian
Baylor University (Please note underscore in this address between Adrienne and Harris)

Professor Amy Randall
Associate Professor of History
Santa Clara University

AWSS Graduate Essay Prize 2016

The Graduate Essay Prize Committee is delighted to award the graduate essay prize to Joy Neumeyer, a Ph.D. student in History at the University of California at Berkeley, for her masterful essay, "Brezhnev, Vysotsky, and the Death of Developed Socialism: A Tragic Farce in Five Acts." The committee was unanimous in their great appreciation of this essay. It is beautifully written, a pleasure to read, and the rare scholarly piece that makes an effective argument through an engaging and analytical narrative structure. By contrasting the cult of Brezhnev and the cult of Vysotsky as the "twin faces of late socialism," Neumeyer captures the cultural atmosphere of the late Brezhnev years. On the one hand, Brezhnev was becoming a living corpse, "every year, the medals on his chest expanded while his wrinkles grew deeper and his speech slurred." Vysotsky, on the other hand, was a dynamic and popular figure, but he, too, was linked to death "through his songs and his signature role of Hamlet" and because of his addiction to drugs. Neumeyer tells their two stories in parallel, illuminating the frustrations of the Brezhnev era through underground jokes, Vysotsky's lyrics, and the population's reactions to the these two men as they lived and died. While fans despaired at the death of Vysotsky, they were secretly relieved at the passing of Brezhnev from a living corpse into a dead one, and aware that his death made a new era possible. The committee hopes that Ms. Neumeyer will submit this essay for publication in the near future so that it can receive the wide audience it deserves. For now, we are pleased to award her the AWSS Graduate Essay Prize.

For a list of past recipients click here.