Olga Shevchenko's Study of Postsocialist Moscow Wins Davis Center Book Prize

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Nov. 17, 2010 – Olga Shevchenko, associate professor of sociology at Williams College, has been awarded the Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies for her 2009 book, “Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow” (Indiana University). The prize, administered by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, is given annually to an outstanding monograph on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography.

“Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow” is an ethnography of daily life in Moscow in the 1990s. The prize selection committee praised the book for providing “an excellent balance of rich ethnographic research, an insightful theoretical framework, and engaging writing.” The study draws on more than 100 in-depth interviews with a cross-section of Muscovites to explore how people made sense of their post-Soviet experience—from the protracted decline of the old order, to the abrupt shock of the financial crisis of August 1998—and examine the kinds of identities and competencies that emerged in response to these challenges.

The book also won the Association for Women in Slavic Studies’ Heldt Prize for the best book by a woman in any area of Slavic, East European, or Eurasian studies.

Shevchenko joined the Williams faculty in 2002. This year, she is teaching courses titled “Social Theory,” “Culture, Consumption, and Modernity,” “The Public and the Private,” and “Memory and Identity.”

Her major research interests include sociological theory, visual sociology, and the sociology of culture and everyday life. She is working on a project examining family photography and the generational memories of socialism in Russia.

In addition to her book, Shevchenko’s research has been published in several journals, including “Social Psychology Quarterly,” “Communist and Post-Communist Studies,” and “Journal of Consumer Culture,” as well as a number of edited volumes.

Shevchenko’s other awards include collaborative research grants from both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute.

Shevchenko received her B.A. from Moscow State University, her M.A from Central European University, and her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.


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