The Distinguished Scholar Prize is for an outstanding English-language article-length publication relating to a society or societies that are influenced by Eastern Christian culture.

2020: Catherine Wanner, “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. In this complex and conceptually ambitious article, Catherine Wanner effectively uses the concept of “a prayerful place” and recent work on the role of emotion in shaping religious experience to explain the behavior of  people in Ukraine who are anti-clerical, disaffected from religious institutions and authority, and even consciously irreligious but who nonetheless regularly visit religious sites. She makes compelling arguments about how such sites acquire their meaning and power, and how they work to construct religious meaning and ties through the shared experience of pilgrimage.

(The prize was not awarded 2017-19).

2016:  Elena Marasinova. “Punishment by Penance in 18th-Century Russia: Church Practices in the Service of the Secular State.” Translated by Simon Belokowsky Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 17, no. 2 (Spring 2016): 305–332.  Drawing on a wide variety of archival and published sources, this important study effectively analyzes the use of church penance by state courts in serious criminal cases.  This analysis illuminates larger issues about the relationship between civil and religious authorities, the influence of Orthodoxy on the evolution of Russian legal culture, and the nature of imperial rule in 18th-century Russia.

2015: Kathryn E. Graber and Jesse D. Murray. “The Local History of an Imperial Category: Language and Religion in Russia’s Eastern Borderlands, 1860s–1930s.” Slavic Review 74, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 127-152.  This significant work of original scholarship makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the role of Orthodox missionaries in defining a distinctive Buriat language and ethnic identity in late imperial and early Soviet Russia.  The authors also demonstrate how the missionaries’ ethnographic and linguistic scholarship served to extend and consolidate the Russian empire. Well-researched, theoretically informed, and conceptually sophisticated, the article engages productively with recent scholarly work on the development and role of language policies in the empire’s borderlands.

2014: Valentina Izmirlieva. Christian Hajjis—the Other Orthodox Pilgrims to Jerusalem.” Slavic Review 73, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 322-46. (Professor Izmirlieva discussed this project at New York University in April 2014).

Honorable mention: Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock“The Ticket to the Soviet Soul: Science, Religion, and the Spiritual Crisis of Late Soviet Atheism.” Russian Review (April 2014):171-97.

2013: Nadieszda Kizenko. “Feminized Patriarchy? Orthodoxy and Gender in Post-Soviet Russia.” Signs 38, no. 3 (Spring 2013): 595-621.

Honorable mention: Fergus Millar. “The Evolution of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the Pre-Islamic Period: From Greek to Syriac?” Journal of Early Christian Studies 21, no. 1 (Spring 2013): 43-92.

2012: Gary Hamburg. “Religious Toleration in Russian Thought, 1520–1825.” Kritika, 13, no. 3 (2012): 515-59.

Honorable mention: Robert H. Greene. “Bodies in Motion: Steam-Powered Pilgrimages in Late Imperial Russia. Russian History 39, no, 1-2 (2012): 247-68.

2011: David B. Miller. “The Politics and Ceremonial of Joasaf Skripitsyn’s Installation as Metropolitan on 9 February 1539.” Russian Review 70, no. 2 (April 2011): 234-51

2010: Sergei Zhuk. “Religion, ‘Westernization’ and Youth in the ‘Closed City’ of Soviet Ukraine, 1964–84.” Russian Review 67, no. 4 (October 2008): 661-79.

2009: Francis Butler. “Ol’ga’s Conversion and the Construction of Chronicle Narrative.” Russian Review 67, no. 2 (April 2008): 230-42.

2008: Vera Shevzov. “Scripting the Gaze: Liturgy, Homilies, and the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in Late Imperial Russia.” In Sacred Stories: Religion and Spirituality in Modern Russia. Edited by Mark D. Steinberg and Heather J. Coleman, 61-92. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.