Patricia Herlihy Graduate Research Prize

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) Patricia Herlihy Graduate Research Prize is awarded annually to fund promising graduate-level research in any field of Slavic/East European/Central Asian studies by a woman or on a topic in Women's or Gender Studies related to Slavic Studies/East Europe/Central Asia by a scholar of any gender. Graduate students who are at any stage of master's or doctoral level research are eligible.  Only current graduate students are eligible for this prize.

The grant can be used to support expenses related to completion of a thesis or dissertation, as well as travel, services, and/or materials.  The award carries a cash prize of $1000.00. Nominations and self- nominations are welcome.

A completed application consists of 1) a 2-3 page proposal that explains the project, how the funds will be used, and why this funding is necessary for continued progress on the project; 2) a CV; 3) a detailed budget and timeline; and 4) two letters of recommendation.  Please submit application materials in MS Word or PDF.  Winning recipients should submit a report on their use of the funds to the Committee Chair by August of the year following the receipt of the award.  Recipients must be members of AWSS; if award recipients are not current AWSS members, they must join AWSS as condition of the award.

Please submit application materials in MSWord or PDF and send them by email attachment to the Herlihy Prize Committee Chair.  Letters of recommendation should also be sent directly to the Chair, as well as any questions regarding the prize: Dr. Andrea Orzoff,

Deadline: Applications must be complete by September 1, 2024 to be considered for the award. 


2023 Award

The 2023 Patricia Herlihy Graduate Research Prize is awarded to Anna Smelova, PhD Candidate at Georgetown University, for “Imagining Indigenous Siberia: Populist Ethnography of Northeast Asia Under Russian Late Imperial and Early Soviet Regimes.” Smelova’s unique prosopographic project critically analyzes Siberian ethnography conducted by political exiles during the late tsarist and early Soviet periods, whose ethnographic work was undertaken not from the positionality of agents of empire, but rather as anti-tsarist, anti-imperialists who held revolutionary views about indigeneity and class (wherein they often projected idealist notions onto indigenous peoples similar to those associated with the peasantry). The specific chapter to be funded by the award engages with the writings of exiled ethnographers’ wives about the indigenous peoples of northeastern Siberia. As such, her work promises to deepen and broaden our understanding of Russian Orientalism and grapple with major questions about the relationship between power and knowledge. Filling significant gaps in scholarship, as there has been very little post-colonialist analysis of Russian and Soviet anthropology and ethnology, Smelova’s work addresses the particularly conspicuous absence of the gender dimension. It holds great potential to reconfigure and update older debates in the Russian field about Orientalism, experts, and the state by closely examining how ethnographers were both critics and shapers, participants and victims in not one but two imperial formations.

2023 Herlihy Graduate Research Prize Committee: Dr. Laurie S. Stoff, Dr. Andrea Orzoff, Dr. Ania Switzer

The AWSS Patricia 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 groundbreaking 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 be relevant to 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.

2021 Award

The AWSS Patricia Herlihy Graduate Research Award Committee is pleased to announce that Nataliia Laas, a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Brandeis University, has been selected as the recipient of this year’s award. Laas’ dissertation, “Market Research without a Market: Consumers, the State, and the Economy of Waste in the Soviet Union, 1947-1991,” is an ambitious cross-cultural examination of the consumer marketplace and consumer demand in the late Soviet era that challenges the standard late-Soviet “economy of shortage” narrative by focusing on the development of market research and the relationship between consumers and the state. Rather than reinforcing the narrative of shortage, she argues just the opposite: that excesses and waste in overproducing factories stimulated the Soviet state to reconsider its notion of consumers and engage in market research and analysis.  Drawing on archival records from across the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Estonia, and Ukraine, Laas weaves together the interactions of female urban consumers, sociologists, economists, and computer programmers, among others, as they sought to create a Soviet consumer ideology that would distinguish Soviet consumption from Western consumerism.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Laas has been unable to return to Russia to complete her archival research and will use the grant to hire a researcher to retrieve necessary archival materials.

2020 Award

Ivana Polić, PhD Candidate in History at the University of California San Diego
The Selection Committee is pleased to award the 2020 AWSS Graduate Research Prize to Ivana Polić, whose dissertation research focuses on children and childhood in the contested construction of Croatian national identity in post-conflict former Yugoslavia. Exploring the mobilization and indoctrination of children during and after the Yugoslav wars, Ms Polić seeks to engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of the ways that state leaders sought to create ethnically exclusive models of future nationalist patriots. AWSS funding will support the final phase of her field research as she prepares to complete her dissertation in the spring of 2021.

2019 Award

Rebecca Daviddi is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at McGill University. Her project, titled “Muslims, Money, and Marriage: Transnational Polygamous Marriages in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” explores the motivations for and impact of transnational marriages between Bosnian Muslim women and Saudi Muslim men. Highlighting a “masculinity crisis,” Daviddi examines gender relations and women’s marital choices in the context of national and cultural transformations rooted in religious belief and practice. Daviddi plans to conduct interviews with Bosniak men and women, approaching the issues surrounding marriage choices from a variety of angles. Her work promises to enhance our understandings of transnational marriage and the socio-cultural changes occurring within the former Yugoslavia.

Honorable Mention
The Committee also awards an Honorable Mention to the outstanding proposal submitted by Leah Valtin-Erwin, PhD Candidate in the History of Eastern Europe at Indiana University, for her project, “From Shortage or Supermarket: Transformations in Grocery Shopping in Warsaw, Bucharest, and Berlin, 1980-2000.”

2018 Award

The AWSS Graduate Research Award Committee is pleased to award the prize for 2018 to Alexandra Novitskaya, PhD Candidate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stony Brook University.  Novitskaya’s dissertation project, “More than ‘Safety from Persecution’: Non-heterosexual Russian-Speaking Migrants in New York City,” examines the lives and experiences of LGBTQ migrants from Russia, especially those seeking asylum and protection in the United States following the “gay propaganda ban” in Russia in 2013. Through oral interviews with recent immigrants, Novitskaya seeks to produce a thick description of community construction, and to determine whether migrants’ expectations of LGBTQ-friendliness in the United States have been met. Novitskaya is completing her research this fall and plans to defend her dissertation in June 2019.

2017 Award

Tatiana Rabinovich, Ph.D. Candidate, Critical Studies in Modern Middle Eastern Culture and Society, University of Arizona.

Ms. Rabinovich's dissertation, "Laboring on the Margins: Muslim Women, Precarity, and Potentiality in Russia," explores the daily lives and social relationships of Muslim women in St. Petersburg, Russia, investigating the formal and informal support networks they create that contribute to their community's success and their own well-being within the context of the devaluation of "women's work." Ms. Rabinovich plans to use AWSS funding to return to St. Petersburg for follow-up research.

Committee members:

Sharon Kowalsky (Texas A&M), chair
Melissa K. Stockdale (University of Oklahoma)
Deborah Field (Adrian College)