Valerie Ekberg-Brown is a colleague best described as the heart-and-soul of Russian instruction for an area that extends considerably beyond the Anchorage School District where she teaches. Very much in the AATSEEL tradition of such outstanding secondary-school teachers as Lee Roby (the previous recipient of this award), Valerie Ekberg-Brown is unflaggingly dedicated to her students and to the larger learning community. Her website begins with the words “Welcome! I enjoy contact with all of the parents and guardians of my students in addition to email contact with my students as well.” Valerie lives up to this commitment in her daily professional activities, tirelessly recruiting colleagues, parents, and the local business community in her efforts. Valerie has taken the initiative to launch Russian-focused projects not only in the school, but also in the Anchorage area through a range of creative and innovative ways. These efforts include the launching of an Anchorage School District Partnership between her own Chugiak High School and Anchorage Opera in order to highlight Russian culture in Alaska, allowing her students to participate as interns in a production of Eugene Onegin.
More recently, Valerie’s participation in the statewide Olympiada of Spoken Russian (ACTR) has supported the efforts of young middle- and high-school Russian-language students to try out their skills and abilities in a competition that challenges their knowledge of Russian culture, pronunciation, fluency, and comprehension. Valerie’s commitment to the educational enhancement of our younger students of Russian is an example to all of us, reaching beyond the school day to include the organization of a cultural festival as well as extensive fundraising activities to support the cultural efforts. Her dedication and commitment to secondary education has been recognized in the past with the 2012 Star Award, which highlights outstanding partnerships in her school district. We are proud to join the ranks of those who honor her hard work by conferring on her the 2013 AATSEEL Award for Excellence in Secondary Teaching.
We are pleased this year to recognize the efforts of Monika Greenleaf of Stanford University. Described by one former student as “extraordinarily devoted, passionate, and inspiring as a teacher, mentor, and advisor” Monika has performed an immense service to her post-secondary students at all levels. Among those who supported her selection, one former PhD student writes, “As a teacher she inspires her students to incredible intellectual and creative accomplishments, just as she inspires her teaching assistants with her sincere dedication to teaching. But most of all she inspires all with her sparkling intellectual creations in the ethereal arts of the classroom – always new, burgeoning, and brilliant. She is sensitive, reflective, and responsive as a teacher and open to the opinions of her graduate students as to peers and friends, thereby scaffolding their professionalization in other areas of the profession. As a mentor she is tirelessly supportive and encouragingly complimentary.”
Monika’s commitment to her field does not end when her students receive the degree and go out to seek employment. As one of her nominators remarks, “Monika fills the sails of her students and sets them off gracefully into the world. She sweeps in to buoy them along at obstacles. She storms and rages on their behalf. She tirelessly sends constantly fresh missives into the world singing their praises and recognizing their virtues more than they ever could do themselves. At this point, she has been responsible for sending countless students into successful academic positions throughout the field, as well as other distinguished authorial accomplishments.” While others of us may excel at teaching or at mentoring, at dissertation guidance or at professional support, Monica excels in all aspects of her professional work. As one colleague writes, Monika Greenleaf is a “superlative teacher and mentor of graduate students, who has left an indelible mark on generations of Ph.D. students in the Slavic and Comparative Literature Departments at Stanford University. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to take her seminars, work as her teaching assistant, and write my doctoral dissertation under her guidance. As a critic, Monika clearly possesses an original and dynamic cast of mind, which she effectively translates to her graduate seminars, consistently raising the level of intellectual discourse. By her energy and creativity, she inspires students to make their own unique contributions in discussion and writing alike.” It has often been lamented that institutional recognition for such robust and dedicated contributions is largely lacking, prompting a question best summarized by one nominator: “what forum could do justice to such an accomplishment? Perhaps an AATSEEL Award for Excellence in Post-Secondary Teaching could.” We are proud to respond by selecting Monika Greenleaf for this award.
As a number of remarked at last year’s award for Outstanding Service to the Profession, conferred on Gerald Janecek, it was impossible to think of his achievements over the past twelve years without reference to the extraordinary work of Susan Janecek. To describe her as the Editorial Assistant, as invaluable as that role has been, does not do justice to the many contributions she has made to the journal, to AATSEEL, and to the profession more broadly. Her unflagging patience and good humor, her attention both to tiny detail and to the big picture, her meticulous care for the fate of our flagship periodical has been an invaluable gift to the wellbeing of the organization, as well as to our professional lives. With the transfer of Slavic and East European Journal from the University of Kentucky to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we mark the shift from one epoch to another. It is testimony to the health of the journal that it is transferred to its new home in a state of immeasurably higher regard, both in the United States and abroad, including in the UK, Russia and continental Europe. In conferring this award to Susan Janecek, we recognize both her visible and her invisible work on the journal. We thank her for her dedicated service; and we honor her commitment to the academic and intellectual values we share, embodied by the profession’s flagship publication.
In conferring this award on Irina Prokhorova, AATSEEL recognizes a colleague whose vision, creativity, and erudition has had a lasting impact on US Slavic studies for a quarter century. An outstanding cultural historian, literary critic, and editor of New Literary Review (as well as its associated publishing house), Irina Prokhorova has transformed the landscape of our profession, while asking difficult and at times polemical questions about its research foci and methodology. Her 2011 establishment of the Historia Nova Prize launched a new research initiative that has singled out the best scholarship in intellectual history while substantially contributing to the scholarly cohesion of the field. In the words of one of the nominees, “no more outstanding contribution to the profession comes to mind than that of Irina Prokhorova. The work by most of the rest of us seems dwarfed by all that she has done to further the study of Russian culture internationally, through NLO, the other journals, the several book series, and her personal encouragement of so many extraordinary projects, including the new history of Russian literary criticism.” We are proud to join such eminent institutions as the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, which awarded Irina the Chevalier in 2012, in recognizing the impact she has had on transregional cultural research.
Mikhail Iampolski has been described by one of his nominators as “one of the most inventive, energetic thinkers on the scene in Russian culture, able to write with equal ease about current political events and the theories of Deleuze or Agamben, and able as well to stimulate our thinking about film, fiction, poetry, and theory itself.” As Professor of Comparative Literature, Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University, Mikhail Iampolski holds higher degrees in Film Studies and French philosophy, but his research interests extend far beyond both fields. Russian colleagues and Anglophone Slavists alike have come to follow his writings in the philosophy of history, theory of representation, as well as cinema and literature, first in his landmark volume, The Memory of Tiresias (Ad marginem 1993; University of California Press, 1998), and later in such volumes as Возвращение Левиафана (Moscow: NLO, 2004), for which he was awarded the 2004 Andrei Belyj Prize (Humanities Research); and Язык — тело — случай: Кинематограф и поиски смысла (Moscow: NLO, 2004), for which he was awarded the 2005 Elephant Prize from the Guild of Cinema Scholars and Critics of Russia.
Mikhail Iampolski’s volume on the filmmaker Kira Muratova – Муратова: Опыт киноантропологии (St. Petersburg: Seans, 2008)—remains the key reference in the field, and his more recent Пространственная история: Три текста об истории (St. Petersburg: Seans, 2013) continues his practice of challenging received wisdom in the philosophy of history. Mikhail Iampolski’s work has brought into intense dialogue colleagues from such otherwise divergent fields as film theory and philosophy of history, literary studies and semiotics. We are proud to consider him our colleague and we honor his research achievements with AATSEEL’s award for Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship.