Learn more about the biennial conferences sponsored by AWSS.




“Hidden Histories:
Reshaping Canons, Reimagining Archives, Making Gender Visible”

Dedicated to the Late Mary Zirin

June 6-8, 2024
(in person and virtual)
Biennial Conference of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS)

Hosted by the Slavic Reference Service at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

The deadline for the submission of proposals is Friday, January 20, 2024

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies and the Slavic Reference Service will join forces in 2024 to commemorate the memory and the work of the late Mary Fleming Zirin, a pioneer in Slavic and East European women’s studies, a founder of AWSS, a fervent supporter of SRS, and a frequent  participant in the SRS Summer Research Lab, on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Working as an independent scholar, Mary Zirin amassed information and shared it generously with others, both
informally and through her well-known publications, such as the Dictionary of Russian Women Writers (1994), Women & Gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia: A Comprehensive Bibliography (2007), and the Current Bibliography still regularly produced by AWSS. She also defended the work and the rights of independent researchers. SRS is today directly supported by Mary Zirin’s generosity and it houses her extensive online Bibliography of Pre-Revolutionary Writings by Women, a searchable database.

AWSS welcomes paper proposals from scholars in all disciplines who engage in research that focuses on uncovering or discovering new information relating to gender in order to reframe received knowledge and reshape some of the historical and/or discursive parameters in a given field. Topics might include archival finds, unexpected juxtapositions, productive experiences of cross-pollination between fields, and various “Eureka moments” that have illuminated or brought gender into focus in a new way. We particularly welcome proposals that advance the AWSS mission whether by seeking to improve the general public’s understanding about women, gender, and sexuality or by challenging sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist, classist, ableist, and ageist structures that reproduce injustice.

The conference is hosted by the Slavic Reference Service at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (IL). The conference will be conducted as a hybrid event (Central Time) and will accept papers from participants who wish to attend virtually. It will begin in the afternoon of June 6 and end in early afternoon on June 8.

The expectation is that both virtual and in-person participants will be present for all paper sessions. There is no registration fee for the conference, but we do strongly encourage all participants to become members of AWSS. Sessions will be available virtually to the greater AWSS and UIUC communities.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is Friday, January 20, 2024. Please send a one-page abstract (no more than 500 words) and a one-page CV to president.awss@gmail.com with the subject “2024 AWSS UIUC Proposal”, indicating in your email whether you plan to attend online or in person.
Any questions should be directed to the same address.

Early career scholars (graduate students and recent PhDs), contingent faculty, and independent scholars will be prioritized for limited travel funds which can be utilized for travel or lodging costs.

In-person participants will be provided physical access to the UIUC Library’s collections and services; those wishing to extend their visit can apply to the SRS Summer Research Laboratory which will begin the following week (June 10).

For further information, see also: https://awssconference.web.illinois.edu/

Conference Planning Committee: Sara Dickinson (AWSS President); Melissa Bokovoy; Michele Rivkin-Fish
Joe Lenkart (Head, SRS); Katherine Ashcraft; Olga Makarova; Serenity Stanton Orengo

2022 IN-PERSON AND VIRTUAL CONFERENCE, March 31-April 2, 2022

Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS)

IN-PERSON AND VIRTUAL CONFERENCE hosted by The Melikian Center: Russian, Eurasian & East European Studies, Arizona State University

 Gender, Power, Violence in the Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Regions, March 31-April 2, 2022

In late March 2022, AWSS held its biennial two-day conference at the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe Arizona.  This year’s conference, Gender, Power, Violence in the Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Regions, was a hybrid event which allowed for scholars from across North America and Europe to participate. The purpose of the AWSS conference is present works in progress, meet scholars with similar interests, and network with those attending and in the audience. The conference program with paper titles and the participants’ information can be downloaded here. AWSS arranged six panels of papers:  Digital and Public Space: Abuse, Harassment, and Denial; Women’s Bodies, Violence, and Power; Domestic and Sexual Violence; Gender and Institutional and State Violence; Affective Communities and Experiences; and Intimate Violence in 19th century Russian Literature.

There were 12 in-person participants, eight of whom contributed papers.  The other 12 papers were delivered over virtually, many from early career scholars who were presenting chapters from dissertations and theses that addressed the role of the role of gender in understanding acts of violence, including epistemological and discursive violence, and the power dynamics of gender in the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian regions.

This year’s keynote address, “Obstetric Violence and Traumatic Birth in the Soviet Union,” was delivered virtually by Dr. Paula Michaels, current past president of AWSS and Professor of History at Monash University. Her talk drew on her research and considerable expertise on women’s health, pregnancy, childbirth, and medicine in the Soviet Union.

The 2022 conference would not have been possible without the generous support of Arizona State University's Melikan Center and its staff, Mr. David P. Brokaw, the center’s events and program coordinator and Dr. Irina Levin, Associate Director, and the hospitality of two of our AWSS board members, Drs. Laurie Stoff and Hilde Hoogenboom, who are affiliates of the center and faculty members at ASU.

Our next conference will be in June 2024 so stay tuned!


2019 AWSS Conference

Crossing Borders in Slavic Women’s and Gender Studies

2019 Biennial AWSS Conference Keynote speaker Trish Starks, University of Arkansas

2019 Biennial AWSS Conference Keynote speaker Trish Starks, University of Arkansas presenting on "The Empire Made Smoke and Flesh: Tobacco Imagery, Militarism, and Gender in Late Imperial Russia". The presentation drew on her new book Smoking under the Tsars: A History of Tobacco in Imperial Russia (Cornell University Press)

2019 Conference presenters

Twelve papers presented over two days under the 2019 Biennial AWSS Conference theme of "Crossing Borders", which was understood geographically, methodologically, and metaphorically.

2017 AWSS Conference

The 2017 conference, with the theme “Roots and Legacies of Revolution: Transformations for Women and Gender,” took place on 6-7 April at the Westin Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia. The conference theme recognized the centennial of the Russian revolutions of 1917, which had a significant impact on the status and lives of women, as well as on the configuration of gender relations and representations throughout our region. Presentations drew attention to the roots of those revolutionary transformations in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian social, economic, political, literary, and creative practices and events of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Moreover, as we are still living with the legacies of 1917, especially the effects on women and the post-Berlin Wall gender order, some presenters addressed more contemporary questions. Thus, while we commemorated the Russian revolutions, we welcomed papers across chronological and geographical spans from the tsarist era to the present day, from Berlin to Vladivostok.

The conference included eight panels and 24 presentations over two days, overlapping with the SCSS meeting. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, spoke on “What’s Suffrage Got to Do With It? Women and Gender in Russia’s Revolutionary Year.” Dr. Ruthchild is a Center Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, a Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, Professor Emerita of Graduate Studies at The Union Institute and University, and former Director of the Norwich University Russian School. She is an Editor of Aspasia, The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History. A co-founder of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS), she has served as President, Clerk, and now Board member. The author of Equality and Revolution: Women’s Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905-1917 (University of Pittsburgh Press, June 2010), she has written articles, reviews, and bibliographies about women and gender in Russia and the Soviet Union. She is a member of the feminist collective that produced the documentary film “Left on Pearl: Women Take Over 888 Memorial Drive, Cambridge.”