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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., November 22, 2016—Julie Cassiday, chair of German and Russian and professor of Russian at Williams College, has been named president-elect of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). As president-elect, Cassiday will serve as vice president in 2017 and president in 2018.
Established in 1948, ASEEES is a nonprofit, non-political, scholarly society and the leading international organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, and Eastern Europe in regional and global contexts.
Cassiday will serve on the executive committee of the board of directors, which handles all aspects of the management of ASEEES and consists of the president, vice president, immediate past president, treasurer, executive director, the editor of Slavic Review and one member-at-large (designated by the president).
Previously, Cassiday served as a vice president for the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) from 2008 through 2010, and in that role she helped to initiate its program of advanced seminars given by leading scholars during the organization’s annual conference. She is currently part of the initiative to form an interest group within ASEEES, provisionally titled Q*SEEES, which will support scholars working on LGBTQ topics.
“At this point in time, my single biggest plan as president is to do my best to support the organization’s diversity in whatever ways I can,” Cassiday says. “I’d very much like the fields of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies to be open and accessible to students and scholars from as wide variety of national, ethnic, racial, and educational backgrounds as possible.”
Cassiday is the author of The Enemy on Trial: Early Soviet Courts on Stage and Screen (Northern Illinois University Press, 2000), which considers in depth the elements of performance in Soviet show trials. Examining a diverse body of material, including early 20th-century theory on theater and cinema, mock trials, feature films, and documentaries of early show trials, the book argues for a combined theatrical and cinematic modeling of the legal spectacles that paved the way for the Great Purge. Building on this research, Cassiday also has published articles on the cinematic representation of the cult of Sergei Kirov, as well as on the only detective film made under Stalin.
In addition, Cassiday has published several articles on 19th-century theater as an important innovator in the performance of gender roles in the pre-Pushkin era. Her current research focuses on gender, performance, and ideology in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. She has collaborated with Emily Johnson of the University of Oklahoma on a study of the cult of personality surrounding Putin and published on Russia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. She is currently co-editing with Julie Buckler of Harvard University and Boris Wolfson of Amherst College a volume of essays titled Russian Performances, which explores the intersection of Russian and performance studies.
At Williams since 1994, Cassiday serves currently as department chair, as well as chair of the Executive Committee of Williams’ Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Cassiday received an A.B. in Russian from Grinnell College and an M.A. in Russian and a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures and humanities from Stanford University.
Cassiday’s research informs a broad range of courses at Williams College, where she teaches Russian at all levels, as well as seminars on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and courses on a variety of topics in Russian culture and comparative literature. She received the Nelson Bushnell Prize for Teaching and Writing at Williams College in 2014 and has been awarded an NEH summer stipend, as well as funding from ACTR/ACCELS, the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the Social Science Research Council, for her research.
Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.