Citations for 2019 Recipients

Outstanding contribution to scholarship: Evgeny Dobrenko

Professor Evgeny Dobrenko is a leading expert in the field of Soviet literature and culture. He has authored, edited and co-edited 25 books and published more than 300 articles. Since the late 1980s he has been creating a new theory of Socialist Realism, which he eventually transformed into an all-embracing semiotics of Soviet culture and society. Professor Dobrenko's 17 monographs, such as a scholarly diptych The Making of the State Reader: Social and Aesthetic Origins of Soviet Literary Culture (Stanford UP, 1997) and The Making of the State Writer: Social and Aesthetic Origins of Soviet Literary Culture, (Stanford UP, 2001) as well as his Political Economy of Socialist Realism (2007) and Stalinist Cinema and the Production of History: Museum of Revolution (2008) and recently Late Stalinism (2020) have become the most authoritative sources on Soviet literature, film and cultural politics and have radically redefined the ways scholars everywhere in the world approach Socialist Realism and Soviet culture in general. Professor Dobrenko's work as an organizer and intellectual leader of several large-scale projects deserves special praise. A series of workshops on the theory and history of Socialist Realism, co-organized by Dobrenko and Hans Gunther (1994-98) have led to the publication of the monumental volume The Socialist Realist Canon (2001). One cannot overestimate Dobrenko’s contributions to the field of post-Soviet studies as well: his co-edited volumes on Sots-Art, Russian literature since 1991, Dmitry Prigov, and Vladimir Sorokin have become landmarks for anyone involved in scholarly research of late Soviet nonconformist literature and its legacy today . Professor Dobrenko's erudition and scholarly breadth are unique in our field: in Katerina Clark’s words “he commands a virtually encyclopedic knowledge of all branches of Russian intellectual life during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods …Yet, at the same time, he has the theoretical sophistication to draw on this knowledge in producing a series of original and thought-provoking books, which are widely used by scholars today.”

Outstanding Contribution to the Profession: Eric Naiman

This award is presented to Eric Naiman, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Profession. An active member of AATSEEL for more than three decades, Eric is one of the leading American scholars of early 20th century Russian literature, and a pioneer in the analysis of the complex ways that ideology and sexuality work in literature. Eric’s technique of reading “perversely” has left an indelible trace on the manner in whichSlavists read Russian and, perhaps, literature in general. But Eric’s contribution to the profession goes beyond his scholarship: in his legendary courses and seminars at one of the centers of Slavic research in the United States, Eric has taught, influenced, and inspired several generations of students, many of whom today occupy positions at leading colleges and universities. His students and colleagues mention not only his brilliance and creativity, but his intellectual generosity as well: in his ability to always give the speaker the benefit of the doubt, Eric can often find more in another’s argument than the speaker was aware of. An exemplary scholar, teacher, mentor, and colleague, Eric Naiman receives AATSEEL’s 2019 award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession.

Outstanding service to AATSEEL: Irene Masing-Delic and Helen Halva

Service to AATSEEL can be understood in various ways, but one of the most important kinds of service has been the stewardship and promotion of the highest level of scholarly research in the Slavic and East European Journal . Our profession takes pride in the journal, in its innovative and comprehensive explorations into literature and philology, in its accuracy and readability, in its inspiration of future directions. From 2014-2018, the journal reached new heights under the editorship and associate editorship of Irene Masing-Delic and Helen Halva. Important developments during their tenure include redesigning the journal’s cover and publishing a series of fascinating “forum” issues that enabled conversations to expand across the pages of the journal. Topics for fora ranged from the ripple effects of 1917 to the queue; from Dostoevsky’s The Idiot to Russian philosophy; from the work of Gyorgy Kurtag to that of Viktor Pelevin; as well as an in-depth look at Soviet translators and issues of translation. Intellectually, the diversity of fora was perhaps most exciting because it brought scholars new angles for considering well-known authors and issues and also introduced new scholarship on little-known writers, as with the Krzhizhanovsky forum in 2012, and completely new scholarly material, as did the forum on Bakhtin’s wartime writings in 2017. Irene and Helen’s enthusiastic, responsive relationships with authors, their meticulous and accurate interactions with the material, and their creative approach to layout and apparatus resulted in volumes we will turn to for years to come. As each journal issue under their reign came to fruition, Irene and Helen were friendly, gracious and patient with authors every step of the way. To quote Caryl Emerson, “Editorial teams like this make original research a pleasure.” We honor Irene Masing-Delic and Helen Halva with this award for outstanding service to AATSEEL.

Excellence in Teaching at the Secondary Level: Oksana Cox

Since 1996, Oksana Cox has been teaching first-year through fourth-year Russian at Central Senior High School in St. Paul, MN. Oksana is also the Minnesota State Chair of the ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian, which takes place annually at Central High School. In addition, Oksana was a driving force in starting the Nasha Shkola K-8 charter school in Brooklyn Park, MN. Students at Nasha Shkola are able to study Russian language and culture from kindergarten onward; it is the only such school in all of Minnesota. The school was originally created to support Russian-speaking families seeking to maintain their children's connection to their cultural heritage, but children from English-speaking families enroll at the school as well. Nasha Shkola is also active in outreach to the local community and includes concerts and annual Olympiada for Russian-learners. As part of that effort, Oksana takes students to Russia every year. The rising tensions around Russian-American relations are not a source of discouragement for the indefatigable Oksana, but instead a motivator to foster person-to-person diplomacy, one Russian language-learner at a time. Oksana Cox receives AATSEEL’s award for Excellence in Teaching at the Secondary Level.

Excellence in Teaching at Post-Secondary Level: Alla Nedashkivska and Bella Ginzburg

Alla Nedashkivska

Alla Nedashkivska is a Professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies and an expert in Ukrainian Language and Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Dr. Nedashkivska is one of the most innovative language instructors in our field who brings a wealth of understanding to her academic investigations, teaching, and learning resource development. She has taught undergraduate classes in Ukrainian and Russian and published research on learner motivation. She has been recognized on several occasions for her cutting-edge work with flipped classrooms and generously helps others with their digital initiatives. Her first textbook, Ukrainian Through Its Living Culture (2010), earned her the 2012 AATSEEL Book Prize in the category “Best Contribution to Language Pedagogy”. Her second textbook of business Ukrainian, Вікно у світ бізнесу: ділова українська мова [A Window Into the World of Business: Ukrainian for Professional Communication], won the University of Alberta’s Open Educational Resources Award in 2018. She is aligned to the digital world, thus making her work and instruction most appealing for millennials. Her digital textbook is now being used for instruction of Ukrainian at the University of Saskatchewan and Arizona State University. Dr. Nedashkivska has taken her commitment to teaching outside the classroom walls as well and has developed and taught a highly successful study abroad program in L’viv since 2001; the program has grown and now covers multiple levels taught simultaneously.

Bella Ginzbursky-Blum

A specialist in the teaching of Russian as a second language, Bella Ginzbursky-Blum has taught in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at The College of William and Mary since 1992. A famously rigorous teacher who commands the respect of her colleagues as well as the appreciation and affection of her students, Bella has made substantial contributions over the years to cultivating and promoting the study of Russian at William and Mary. Some of her major contributions are: teaching Russian at all levels of the curriculum, from beginning to advanced, regularly supervising students in independent studies, directing William and Mary’s summer program of study in St. Petersburg, and serving as the long-term adviser to the Russian House. Her students have gone on to graduate programs in Slavic Languages and Literatures at universities such as Pittsburgh, Duke, and Yale, to positions in academia, the US government, and the private sector. Bella’s extraordinary devotion to her students for more than a quarter of a century and her contributions to building, strengthening, and maintaining the Russian program at William and Mary have earned her AATSEEL’s award for excellence in post-secondary teaching for 2019.