Pauline Fairclough, Classics for the Masses: Shaping Soviet Musical Identity under Lenin and Stalin
In the shaping of Soviet cultural identity from 1917 to 1953, music played an important role. Great works of art were integrated into the Soviet canon, but could also be used to criticise contemporary Soviet artists, to build a new narrative of Russian supremacy, while stamping out musical avant-gardism. Fairclough’s book provides fascinating detail on programming and performance based on archival research. She explains judiciously an era which, while it may not have ‘moulded’ the Soviet listener, did offer a form of entertainment not widely accessible before 1917. The canon was never wholly static, even in the years 1948-53, when it was most tightly controlled. Her book will be the definitive work on this subject.
Sarah Badcock, A Prison without Walls? Eastern Siberian Exile in the Last Years of Tsarism
While Soviet historiography emphasized the cultural benefits that political exiles brought to Siberia, Badcock gives voice as well to the regional authorities and local populations, who articulated the negative impacts of exile on their communities. Exiles who lacked private means were forced to provide for themselves in unaccustomed conditions. There was a quota on those allowed into the towns, and little work elsewhere. Criminal exiles roamed free, for example in Yakut villages, further impoverishing and terrorising their local inhabitants. Badcock has consulted archives in the Sakha Republic and the Irkutsk Oblast. We hear new kinds of voices in this study, and find descriptions that prove further that state ambitions for forced labour and the misery of prisoners and their families did not begin with the Soviet state.
Book Prize Jury: Dan Healey and Barbara Heldt
This year saw a great range of essays submitted which demonstrated that
scholarship by women on Eastern Europe is really flourishing.
We awarded the BASEES women's prize jointly to Agnes Kriza for her
beautifully illustrated article on ‘The Russian Gnadenstuhl’ for the
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 79 (2016), pp. 79-130.
The intricacy of the research impressed the judges as well as her
empirical range which integrated material from a several
historiographical traditions. We thought it was a striking piece of
historical detection, which rescued a little known period in Russian
history. The other joint winner was Michelle Assay for her original and
incisive article 'What did Hamlet (not) do to offend Stalin?' Actes des
congrès de la Société française Shakespeare [on line], 35 / 2017. Dr
Assay elegantly traced Stalin’s antipathy to ‘Hamletism’ and historic
Russian interpretations of Hamlet rather than to Shakespeare and the
Danish prince per se. Drawing on a wide range of secondary and archival
sources, the article presented a nuanced, compelling and tight argument.
The judges also warmly commended the runners up. We
thought that Maria Engström's essay ‘Daughterland [Rodina-Doch’]: Erotic
patriotism and Russia's future. Conservative mobilization and
sexualization of the nation’, published with the online journal Intersection: Russia/Europe/World, contained the kernel of a fascinating idea which could be developed into a longer piece. We admired the empirical detail about Ivanovo and the intellectual ambition of the article ‘Appropriation and Subversion: Precommunist Literacy, Communist Party Saturation, and Postcommunist Democratic Outcomes’ by Tomila V. Lankina, Alexander Libman and Anastassia Obydenkova which was published in World Politics, vol. 68 no. 2, 2016, pp. 229-274. The article by Sigita Kraniauskien and Laima Žilinskien on ‘Soviet Ethics in Soviet Memory Studies’ in The Soviet Past in the Post-Socialist Present: Methodology and Ethics edited by Melanie Ilic and Dalia Leinarte (London: Routledge 2016), pp. 92-109 showed deep insight into complex processes.
Article Prize Jury: Mary Buckley and Cathie Carmichael
Awarded jointly to Lara Green, for the paper 'Feliks Volkhovskii, Transnational Networks, and Terrorist Propaganda, 1890-1914' and Sarah Dorr, for the paper 'The elite-level demonstration effect of the Arab Spring in Kazakhstan: 2005-2015'.
Postgraduate Prize Jury: Sarah Badcock, Melanie Ilic and Claire Shaw