Awards are based on the following criteria:
- Originality and quality of research
- Novelty brought to a well-researched field
- Rarely discussed thematics/areas/genres/texts
- Focus on cultures (within the Slavic and East European realm) that usually do not get enough attention
- Overall article structure
2019 SEEJ Awards
Awards for articles published in SEEJ Volume 62 (2018). Announced at AATSEEL 2020 Conference in San Diego.
Best SEEJ Article
Sofya Khagi (University of Michigan)
"Alternative Historical Imagination in Viktor Pelevin"
SEEJ 62.3 (Fall 2018)
In her article “Alternative Historical Imagination in Viktor Pelevin,” Sofya Khagi situates Pelevin’s work in the context of “alternative historical imagination—an umbrella term for (post)modern, experimental, non-realistic kinds of historical fiction, marking it different from alternative fiction.” She contends that Pelevin skillfully employs the generic clichés of alternative history and transforms them into metaphysical and ethical questions. In the words of the peer-reviewers, the article “successfully performs an ethical turn in Pelevin’s studies” and offers a “clever and erudite approach to Pelevin” with up to date scholarship on science fiction and alternative history.
Best SEEJ Article Cluster
Edward Waysband (Higher School of Economics)
Irene Delic (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Luke Parker (Colby College)
Daniel Brooks (University of California, Berkeley)
Barry Scherr (Dartmouth)
Maksim Gor’kii and Vladislav Khodasevich: Aesthetics, Ideology, and Conflict
SEEJ 62.4 (Winter 2018)
Gor’kii and Khodasevich were erstwhile collaborators and friends in the early 1920s who shared some initial impressions of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian peasantry, and cultural traditions, but eventually suffered an acrimonious break-up along ideological and political lines, and continued to criticize each other in subsequent years. The authors of this cluster focus on various texts of each writer, offering insightful readings of their works, examining the writers’ critical attitudes toward each other, and relating the polemic between Gor’kii and Khodasevich to broader trends in Soviet culture and politics. As such, the cluster both offers excellent research into the two writers, and sheds light on the contrasting world views they embodied.
2018 SEEJ Awards
Awards for articles published in SEEJ Volume 62 (2017). Announced at AATSEEL 2019 Conference in New Orleans:
Best SEEJ Article
Edward Tyerman (University of California, Berkeley)
“Resignifying The Red Poppy: Internationalism and Symbolic Power in the Sino-Soviet Encounter”
SEEJ 61.3 (Fall 2017)
Ballet is still rarely discussed in cultural studies, and ballet on Sino-Soviet themes in politically fraught times is discussed very rarely indeed. Edward Tyerman’s article narrates the complex history of Soviet efforts to culturally ally itself to the new Communist nation of China, for example, by presenting Red Poppy to the new leaders at the Bolshoi in 1949; these efforts were frustrated by the Chinese refusal to “resignify” the poppy, which it viewed as a long-standing symbol of imperialism. Combining Chinese and early Soviet cultural history, Tyerman provides thorough research to back up his claims. The reception history of a Soviet ballet aimed at a Chinese audience is a very original way of presenting early Soviet history and subsequent propaganda strategies.
Best SEEJ Article
Irina Denischenko (Vanderbilt University)
Alexander Spektor (University of Georgia)
Irina Sandomirskaia (Södertörn University)
Caryl Emerson (Princeton Unviersity)
The Dark and Radiant Bakhtin. Wartime Notes
SEEJ 61.2 (Summer 2017)
This cluster, in dialogue with previous scholarship, focuses on the lesser-known late Bakhtin. It offers new translations and new facets to our perception of Bakhtin’s legacy. This scholar-philosopher is much more than the one known from his classical studies of Dostoevskii’s poetics and European carnival culture. The outstanding scholarship of all the contributors to the forum is matched by the high quality of the translations made by bilingual scholars Irina Denischenko and Alexander Spektor. This Forum is a unique contribution to Bakhtin studies and it has justifiably already attracted international attention.
Best SEEJ Article - Honorable Mention
Tatiana Kuzmic (Harvard University)
“Tolstoy’s Count Vronsky in the Yugoslav Imagination: A Case of Politicized Fan Fiction”
SEEJ 61.4 (Winter 2017)
Balkan writers are somewhat rarely discussed—at least in comparison with Russian ones—in American Slavistics. This article discusses some Serbian and Croatian reactions to the epilogue of Anna Karenina, in which Vronskii sets off for Serbia to participate in the Russian volunteer effort against the Ottoman Empire after Anna’s suicide. Tatiana Kuzmic provides North American scholarship with a completely new perspective on the Balkan Tolstoi—Count Vronskii goes to the Balkan Wars of our time in the the fiction of Serbian and Croatian writers. Anna Karenina as the point of departure for the fiction of the Serbian and Croatian writers discussed in the article fits the criterion of “a much researched text subjected to completely new treatments” to a high degree. Kuzmic deserves much credit for bringing this unique blend of unhistorical fiction and projection of strong national-political sentiment to our attention.
Best SEEJ Article - Graduate Student
Jeff Parker (Brigham Young University)
“Solving Russian Velars: Palatalization, the Lexicon and Gradient Contrast Utilization”
SEEJ 59.1 (Spring 2015)
Palatalized velars in Russian are often considered exceptional because they are neither fully predictable, nor clearly unpredictable. In this impressively researched article, Jeff Parker argues that in Russian, both palatalized and non-palatalized velars occur in a variety of contexts, evidence that they have the potential to distinguish words. Rather than viewing velars as exceptional, he suggests that the lexicon-grammar distinction is gradient, and on the basis of quantitative analysis of corpus data he shows that the Russian velars lie at the end of the relevant continuum. In an already well-researched field, Parker thus reaches innovative conclusions about velar positioning in Russian.
Note: For this award, articles from 2015, 2016, and 2017 were evaluated due to the relatively fewer articles published by graduate students (compared to faculty members).