ASEC Annual Business Meeting, November 6, 2020

President Eugene Clay convened the meeting at 6:38 with introductions.

1)     Approval of the minutes of the 2019 meeting.

April motioned to approve and Niko seconded. Minutes approved.

2)     ASEC article prize.

Eugene thanked the prize committee chaired by Nadia Kizenko, assisted by Bill Wagner. The committee awarded the prize to Catherine Wanner for her article “An Affective Atmosphere of Religiosity: Animated Places, Public Spaces, and the Politics of Attachment in Ukraine and Beyond,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 62, no. 1 (2020):68–105.

Eugene sought volunteers to serve on the prize committee next year. Heather Coleman and Jennifer Garza volunteered. Nadia will serve again in her capacity as ASEC vice-president/president-elect.

3)     Treasurer’s report.

Roy reported that as of November 2019 ASEC had $7,865.14 in the bank which grew to $8,187.15 as of November 2020. While ASEC is doing well, he reminded everyone to pay their dues.

4)     Biennial conference plans.

Eugene noted that the board would like to postpone the conference until 2022 and asked for comments and suggestions about how to proceed. Pasha pointed out that a lot of conferences are being postponed so there may be a glut of conferences in 2022. She suggested possibly having some kind of alternative event like a keynote lecture. Scott spoke in favor of postponing since so much good interaction happens between sessions. The sentiment was echoed by several other members. Heather C. also noted that international travel is difficult right now. Since the recommendation to postpone came from the board a second was not necessary. A vote was taken—17 in favor of postponing and 0 no votes.

Alice suggested that we should plan to have a virtual component to our next conference, since we don’t know what the situation will be in 2022. She also suggested that in lieu of a conference in 2021 ASEC could host a Zoom mentoring session for graduate students and early-career scholars. We could send a feeler out. There was a sense that it could be a good way to grow membership. Jennifer Garza suggested it could be a research roundtable. Pasha noted that we could also do something relating to Pimen Maksimovich Sofronov (Old Believer iconographer, 1898-1973) as a nice way to bring in art component and explore ties between Orthodoxy in America and Europe/Russia. Scott mentioned that Fordham group are very active and visible and maybe we could do something like that to get more visibility, but on the other hand people are a bit inundated right now. It was also suggested that Fordham could be a place for a future conference. We could look into developing ties with Fordham and doing something collaborative.

Alice asked about ASEC’s social media presence. Eugene clarified that we have Facebook site. Bolstering presence on social media could be another way to pull in younger, upcoming scholars. Alice suggested that ASEC might want to have a communications officer in order to more systematically build our public image. Jacob suggested getting more active on social media and volunteered to help ASEC reactivate its social media presence on Twitter. Twitter and Facebook can be very easily linked. Eugene pointed out that sometimes people post things of a political or commercial nature that are not appropriate for a scholarly organization and he has to monitor and sometimes remove these things. Eugene asked if Alice, Jacob, and April would be willing to consult with the board and help ASEC with its social media presence. They agreed.

Pasha suggested building an archive of people’s photos from Eastern Europe and Russia so they could be displayed and available to scholars. Alice suggested circulating a google doc to members to find out what members have and then we could figure out where we could store materials and how to make them available. These images then could be good for use on Instagram. Roy noted it could also be a good source/gateway for undergraduates. Several members liked this photo archive idea.

5)     Announcements.

Jennifer Garza is working on an edited volume on Polish history in honor of her father, Edward Wynot, Jr., who passed away in August 2020. He was a specialist in twentieth-century Polish history. Anyone with interest in contributing should contact her at

David Goldfrank announced that the volume he co-edited with Kevin Kain, Russia’s Early Modern Orthodox Patriarchate: Apogee and Finale, 1648-1721 (Academica Press, 2020), was released in July.

Roy and Eugene congratulated Heather on her book The Public Image of Eastern Orthodoxy (NIUP, 2020). Roy announced that the Northern Illinois UP relationship with Cornell is complete and is working well. NIUP has a lot of independence, but has a bigger imprint and more resources now that it is an imprint of Cornell. He encouraged people with interest in Orthodox Christian Studies or Russian Studies to submit. About two-three books are published in the Orthodox series per year. There are also some interesting translation projects that NIUP has been publishing, in addition to the monograph series. Not a lot of presses are interested in translation projects so anyone working on such projects might want to consider NIUP.

Scott Kenworthy announced that his book Understanding World Christianity: Russia (Fortress Press), co-authored with Alexander S. Agadjanian, will be available in January 2021.

April announced and regretted the loss of Sonja Luehrmann. Scott announced the loss of Robert Bird. May their memory be eternal.

The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

[For a PDF version, click here.]