The SHERA Emerging Scholar Prize aims to recognize and encourage original and innovative scholarship in the field of East European, Eurasian, and Russian art and architectural history. Applicants must have published an English-language article in a scholarly print or online journal, or museum print or online publication within the preceding twelve-month period. Additionally, applicants are required to have received their PhD within the last 5 years and be a member of SHERA in good standing at the time that the application is submitted. The winner will be awarded $500 and republication (where copyright allows) or citation of the article on H-SHERA. Deadline for application is generally in late September or early October.
“The Athonite Patronage of Stephen III of Moldavia, 1457-1504,” Speculum 94.1 (2019)
The committee felt this highly original study deserves the Prize for its new and significant contribution to our understanding of not only how sacred landscapes developed within the northeastern Greek territories in the nearly fifty-year period of Stephen III’s rule, but also how princely patronage from Europe’s eastern borderlands had a direct and profound impact on the broader reification of Byzantine culture after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Whereas previous scholarship has tended to focus on the study of Byzantine ideology in these lands (historical Wallachia, Moldavia) in the sixteenth-eighteenth centuries, Sullivan turns a conventional center-periphery argument on its head. An impressive linguistic and material array of primary sources that includes liturgical artifacts, vestments, manuscripts, buildings, inscriptions, and monetary records in Church Slavonic, Greek and Romanian underpins Sullivan’s deft elucidation of the connection between cross-cultural exchange and contemporary patronage. The committee would like to recognize and praise the intellectual work that a study of this type requires, the clarity of its presentation, and the demonstration of how the study of “borderland” territories is essential to how we interpret and theorize cross-cultural exchange. (from the report of the Selection Committee)
“Elements of Photography: Avant-garde Aesthetics and the Reforging of Nature,” Representations 142 (2018)
“Elements of Photography: Avant-garde Aesthetics and the Reforging of Nature”…is highly innovative in its approach to the interpretation of a famously problematic episode in the career of Aleksandr Rodchenko: the work produced during his visit to the White Sea-Baltic Canal, one of the first Soviet forced labor camps, in the early 1930s. As Glebova argues, Rodchenko’s “in-the-moment” White Sea Canal photographs, especially the colorized ones, revolutionized visual thinking and also reveal the conflicting impulses inherent in the execution of the first five-year plan. Through a close reading of the artist’s photographs of nature and of a range of texts by, among others, Nikolai Chernyshevsky, Sergei Tretiakov, and Leon Trotsky, Glebova reframes Rodchenko’s apparent rejection of avant-garde aesthetics to introduce the critical potential of his work—and of the theme of landscape more generally—in relation to what she describes as the “official censure of formalism and ‘contemplation’” in this period. At the same time, she situates Rodchenko’s visceral disdain for nature—an attitude in line with the Soviet subjugation of the vision of nature that had been epitomized by bourgeois eighteenth- and nineteenth-century landscape paintings—in relation to the immediate will of “the people” and “the state.” Her incisive and original argument follows from an evocation of a paradox that yokes totalitarian policy to aesthetics and ultimately yields a new understanding of Rodchenko’s 1930s practice as ideologically incorrect and un-Soviet. (from the report of the Selection Committee)
“From Tractors to Territory: Socialist Urbanization through Standardization,” Journal of Urban History 44:1 (2017)
Rigorously researched and theoretically astute, Christina Crawford’s essay “From Tractors to Territory: Socialist Urbanization through Standardization”…examin[es] the design and construction of both the Kharkiv Tractor Factory (1930-31) and the neighboring planned city for its workers, Crawford details the importation of a Fordist model of industrial standardization into a Soviet context and demonstrates how the concept of priviazka, taken from contemporaneous architectural discourse, was productively applied to other spheres in order to facilitate rapid growth in manufacturing and distribution. Her essay illuminates the importance of adaptability within the ostensibly standardized design practices that fueled the breakneck tempo of industrialization and urbanization during Stalin’s first Five-Year Plan. Innovative and authoritative, Crawford’s scholarship offers a methodological model for considering the relationship of architectural design and economic development during the process of early Soviet industrialization. (from the report of the Selection Committee)