SEEJ Awards

At the 2018 AATSEEL Conference, SEEJ Editorial Board and AATSEEL Executive Council members resolved to recognize outstanding scholars recently published in the journal.

  • 2021 Awards

  • 2020 Awards

  • 2019 Awards

  • 2018 Awards

  • 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

    2021 SEEJ Awards

    Awards for articles published in SEEJ Volume 64 (2020). Announced at AATSEEL 2022 Conference in Philadelphia.

    Best SEEJ Article

    Ray Alston (The Ohio State University)

    "‘Muzhaisia, kniaginia’: Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor and the ‘Woman Question’"

    SEEJ 64.4 (Winter 2020)

    Analyzing Borodin’s Prince Igor in the light of the “woman’s question” and of Borodin’s work as an instructor in the Women’s Courses, Ray Alston argues that the opera demonstrates Borodin’s belief in women’s capabilities as leaders and in the idea that society can be safe and healthy only when founded on marriages of equal partners. The author centers on the character of Yaroslavna and convincingly contends that the opera mirrors the liberal views of progressive women who like Borodin championed women’s education and advancement and that it exemplifies a rare artistic expression of a moderate liberal position of the period. One of his Reviewers states, “The author presents primary and secondary sources as evidence of Borodin’s engagement with “the woman question” and points to his teaching at the Medical-Surgical Academy as a critical component in understanding the meaning of Prince Igor. The inclusion of excerpts from the score to support the author’s interpretation is a wonderful addition that helps strengthen the argument.” The article is focused and thorough and “a joy to read.”

    Best SEEJ Article - Graduate Student

    Raymond DeLuca (Harvard University)

    "Tarkovsky’s Cine-Safari: Animal Bodies in the Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky"

    SEEJ 64.3 (Fall 2020)

    Responding to the lack of critical attention to Andrei Trakovsky’s depiction of animals, DeLuca analyzes the director’s moving animal images and contends that “Tarkovsky deploys animals as a critique of his idiosyncratic – often messianic – notion of modernity, that is, as a critique of what he saw as the spiritual impoverishment of humankind by way of modern man’s fixation with material and technological advancement.” The Reviewers assessed DeLuca’s approach as “innovative” and “original” both in the subject matter and in theoretical concepts. They also found his “observations, readings and overall conclusions … insightful” and the article “an important contribution to the field.”

    2020 SEEJ Awards

    Awards for articles published in SEEJ Volume 63 (2019). Announced at AATSEEL 2021 Conference.

    Best SEEJ Articles

    William Comer (Portland State University)

    "Measured Words: Quantifying Vocabulary Exposure in Beginning Russian"

    SEEJ 63.1 (Spring 2019)

    William Comer’s article examines the vocabulary included in the beginning Russian textbook, Mezhdu nami (Between Us), an open access source, and using concordance software calculates how representative the textbook’s word forms are compared to a Russian frequency dictionary and the required vocabulary lists for the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language, among other textbook vocabulary studies. In the words of one of the Reviewers, the study “suggests to us as teachers and textbook authors what we should be thinking about for the design of classroom activities for the first-year course.” The other Reviewer confirms this evaluation and finds Comer’s article an “engaging” piece which “makes one think of what should be involved into writing teaching materials.” The praise for Comer’s research and argument cannot be summed up better than in this review statement: “In over 20 years of reviewing articles for SEEJ, I have never before encountered a manuscript as successful as this one.”

    Nataliya Karageorgos (Wesleyan University)

    "'A List of Some Observations': The Theory and Practice of Depersonalization in T. S. Eliot and Joseph Brodsky"

    SEEJ 63.3 (Fall 2019)

    This article argues that Joseph Brodsky’s use of depersonalization owes a lot to Brodsky’s readings of T.S. Eliot, and that Eliot’s role in Brodsky’s evolution has thus far been underestimated. Karageorgos traces Brodsky’s engagement with Eliot during Brodsky’s youth and poetic maturation, effectively showing that, rather than merely topological coincidence, Brodsky’s use of depersonalization comes from a shared set of philosophical underpinnings. Reader A writes that the articles makes “a cogent, thoughtful, and important argument, and deserves to be seen by a wider audience. Its larger claims are thought-provoking and offer an important addition to existing scholarship on Brodsky’s evolution and, specifically, on our understanding of how Brodsky Englishized Russian poetry.” For Reader B, “The paper is a rich piece of comparative-literary and literary-philosophical analysis, and a product of careful research (including archival work).”

    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).