President Scott Kenworthy convened the meeting at 8:07 a.m. He noted that the agenda for the ASEC meeting includes issues like selection of officers, the advisory committee, and incorporation.
Kenworthy reported that the March conference in Miami Ohio was very successful with 32 presenters and one-fourth of the presenters coming from Europe. Kenworthy and Kizenko were both involved with a conference on religion and revolution in Moscow. There were 150 submissions, so the conference committee had to be selective. Many of the presenters came from abroad. There were four keynotes by Olga Vasilieva (Russian Minister of Education), Gregory Freeze, Yuri Slezkine (on Bolshevism as religion), and Mark Steinberg. The conference was three very full days. Day one was focused on Russian Orthodoxy. Day two broadened out to include panels on other religions. By day three, the conference broadened out even more on utopianism, Bolshevism, and other aspects of the Revolution. Some people from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University were at the conference.
Kenworthy asked if we are publishing any proceedings from this year’s conference. Clay noted that so far no steps have been taken in that direction. We need to have a prize committee to select a prizewinner for an outstanding article in English in the area of Eastern Christian History and Culture. Clay called for volunteers to be on the prize committee. Jenn Spock and Bill Wagner volunteered to join Clay on the committee. Clay raised the matter of electing a new board in 2018 when Kenworthy’s term as president ends. Clay will become president, but members will need to elect a new vice-president/president-elect. Clay called for volunteers to serve on a nominating committee to help identify prospective officers. Spock volunteered to be on the committee because she really is concerned with broadening our membership beyond Slavicists, even though as Kenworthy pointed out, institutionally ASEC is tied to ASEEES. Olga Tsapina also agreed to serve.
There was discussion about ASEEES conference panels conflicting with the ASEC meeting. David Goldfrank suggested that ASEC should have a point person who works with the ASEEES committee to try to make sure that we do not have panels on religious themes during our annual meeting. Tsapina also expressed concerns about panels on Sunday mornings making it difficult for scholars to attend religious services. There was some sense that it was an issue ASEC should take up with ASEEES.
Members reported some problems with not getting emails from the distribution list or having emails returned as undeliverable. Clay pointed out that short email messages require no moderation, so members can use the distribution list (firstname.lastname@example.org) to contact each other. One good use of distribution list would be for organizing conference panels. There are currently about 180 people on the list. It was noted that the process for signing up for the newsletter could be more visible on the website. Members with suggestions for the website should forward them to Clay.
Kenworthy noted that treasurer Chris Johnson was unable to attend the meeting, but reported that we have $8,446 in our account. The Havighurst Center at Miami University generously supported our conference in March, so it did not cost us very much. Kenworthy also mentioned that our newsletter editor Chuck Arndt was also unable to attend ASEEES, but will be sending out a request to members for material for newsletter. Kenworthy urged members to respond.
Incorporation: Kenworthy mentioned that our incorporation status went defunct and that we no longer officially have tax exempt status. We were incorporated in New Jersey at one point when Lucian Frary was treasurer. Our bank account is still in New Jersey which is inconvenient. We were first incorporated in New Hampshire. Spock noted that we do not have to be incorporated, but in some states, it is impossible to open a bank account for an organization that is not incorporated. But an incorporated non-profit has to spend ten percent of its funds per year, which would be easy for us to do. April French asked whether, like ASEEES, we should have an institutional affiliation just for some stability in incorporation process. Kenworthy will talk to folks at ASEEES to find out how it works.
The next ASEC conference will be sometime in 2019 at Arizona State University. The time of year has not been determined. Clay pointed out ASEC can work with Keith Brown and the School of Politics and Global Studies at ASU to develop the program. Clay asked ASEC members who are interested in serving on the program committee to contact him. All the sessions are plenary which is helpful for building an intellectual community. Specifics about the conference are undetermined. Kenworthy reminded everyone that for the 2017 conference, our original deadline for paper proposals was before ASEEES and we did not get enough proposals; but when we extended the deadline after ASEEES, we received many more. There was discussion of prospective themes for the 2019 conference. Kenworthy mentioned we do not have to have a theme. Goldfrank noted it would be nice to get more participation from folks studying Ruthenians. French noted that if there is a theme it should be broad. 2019 will be the millennium of Jaroslav the Wise becoming Grand Prince of Kiev. Goldfrank and Tsapina pointed out there are a lot of issues that could loosely be related (church-state, East-West relations, canon law, dealing with dissidents, links to Byzantium, etc.).
Announcements and suggestions: Goldfrank showed everyone the book from the 2013 conference in Georgetown on Iosif Volotsky. Members who would like the book can email Goldfrank. Clay announced that Christine Worobec received ASEEES’s 2017 Distinguished Contributions to Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies Award, noting that Worobec is a strong supporter of our organization so we should congratulate and support her. Spock asked about reviving ASEC’s advisory board to get people involved with the organization in a way that does not involve heavy lifting. The advisory board members could be consulted on matters like selecting keynote speakers or reaching out to graduate students who might be working in certain areas. Some names and institutions were floated. Tsapina suggested we should try to establish ties with Denis Sdvizhkov at the Deutsche Historical Institute in Moscow. Vera Shevzov was mentioned because of her involvement with the Orthodox group at AAR. Clay noted that more involvement at AAR would be good for our organization even though our constitution states that our annual meetings will be held at ASEEES. There was some discussion of trying to strengthen ties with AHA. Kenworthy tried with the American Society for Church History (ASCH), which meets with the AHA. Clay pointed out that ASEC members can use our distribution list to publicize or organize panels at conferences tied to other professional organizations. Spock formally nominated Pasha Johnson to be on the advisory board because she knows all the Serbian and Bulgarian librarians well and noted we need to work closely with librarians in general. The motion to invite Pasha passed. Spock reminded everyone that ASEC has letterhead that lists the members of our advisory board and suggested the executive board should review the list.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:11 a.m.