Learn more about the biennial conferences sponsored by AWSS.
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!
Crossing Borders in Slavic Women’s and Gender Studies
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)
Twelve papers presented over two days under the 2019 Biennial AWSS Conference theme of "Crossing Borders", which was understood geographically, methodologically, and metaphorically.
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.”