Graduate Research Prize

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) 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.

Applications are due by September 1, 2021 and must be complete by that date to be considered for the award.  Letters of recommendation should be forwarded to the AWSS Graduate Prize Committee Chair directly.

Please direct all questions and send all application materials by email attachment to the Committee Chair, Sharon Kowalsky, Associate Professor of History, Texas A&M-Commerce:

Graduate Research Prize Committee:

Sharon Kowalsky (chair)
Associate Professor of History, Texas A&M-Commerce
Contact Email:

Erin Katherine Krafft
Assistant Professor of Crime and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Barbara Allen
Associate Professor of History, La Salle University
Contact Email

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)