ASEEES Distinguished Contributions Award

2009 Citation Recipient


Caryl Emerson

The 2009 Distinguished Contributions to Slavic Studies Award, which honors senior scholars who have helped to build and develop the field of Slavic Studies through scholarship, training, and service to the profession, is presented to Caryl Emerson, scholar and teacher of Russian and Central European literature and music and outstanding member of the Slavic Studies community.

Caryl Emerson is the A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University. Trained in comparative literature at Cornell and Harvard Universities, she received her PhD in 1980 at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author and co-author of seven books, editor of seven volumes and author of a great number of articles and book chapters written and published in English and in Russian. The range of the topics she has mastered is exceptionally wide, ranging across Russian and Central European literature, culture, philosophy, and music. Her latest work—The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Literature—marks the culmination of years of writing on such authors as Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky. Her numerous publications on Mikhail Bakhtin have had a deep and lasting influence on the Slavic field and on literary studies generally. In her writings on literature she has often addressed her parallel interest: Russian and Slavic music. She has written seminal works on Russian opera, especially on Mussorgsky, but also on Shostakovich, Prokofiev and their literary collaborators. Her interest in Russian music is also manifested in many music reviews and, especially, in performances, as mezzo soprano, of the music of Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky.

Her contributions to the profession are also outstanding. She is the current chairman of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University, where for many years she has been an active citizen of the Princeton community. She is the president of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL), a member of the American Philosophical Society, of editorial boards of several publications in the field, a member of the external review committees of numerous Slavic departments, and a caring and inspiring teacher and colleague. She has received numerous awards and distinctions, including, most recently, a Guggenheim award and an ACLS fellowship for her new project on Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. This award, therefore, recognizes an outstanding and extraordinarily accomplished senior member of our community, whose work remains full of vitality and promise.