2019 Pritsak Book Prize



2019 Pritsak Book Prize

The 2019 Pritsak Book Prize was awarded to Maria G. Rewakowicz for Ukraine’s Quest for Identity: Embracing Cultural Hybridity in Literary Imagination, 1991-2011 (Lexington Books)

Sometimes state borders and sometimes language choice are key means of categorizing works in national canons. Yet Ukraine’s imperial past, its continuous history of changing borders, and its bilingual cultural landscape make these options for defining a national “literary imagination” non-viable. In this engaging and encyclopedic book, Maria Rewakowicz explores postindependence literary culture in Ukraine, examining the connection between literary production and identity construction. She analyzes the elaboration of cultural geographies, themes of gender, social marginalization, and language choice, as well as the role of popular literature in national identity formation. Rewakowicz demonstrates how a Ukrainian national literature that embraces the plurality and hybridity of national and cultural identities has emerged. Her work is in many ways an intellectual history of the post-communist period in Ukrainian history—a study of a huge range of works of fiction in both Ukrainian and Russian, but also of literary criticism and popular literary culture. It will be essential reading for all scholars of contemporary Ukrainian literature, culture, and history, as well as a broader audience interested in post-communist and post-colonial literature and societies more generally.

Honorable Mention: Nicholas Denysenko

Title: The Orthodox Church in Ukraine: A Century of Separation (Northern Illinois University Press)

In this extremely timely book, Nicholas Denysenko examines the history of the politics of Orthodox Christianity and the quest for autocephaly in Ukraine between 1917 and 2016. Using extensive archival materials, Church documents, and historical accounts, Denysenko offers a nuanced, sympathetic, yet also critical analysis of the crucial moments and debates in the evolution of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, especially the long-range impact of the way in which the first Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was founded in 1921 for the fate of autocephaly and Ukrainization in church life, both in Ukraine and in the North American diaspora. From a theologicallyinformed perspective. Denysenko traces efforts to come to terms with the “stigma of illegitimacy” and the creation of “identity markers” and “native traditions” within Ukrainian liturgical life so as to advance the Kyivan tradition within Eastern Christianity. Broad in scope and drawing on a range of methodologies, this book will be essential reading for scholars in a wide range of disciplines and for the general public interested in Ukraine past and present, and in contemporary Orthodoxy.