ASEEES Distinguished Contributions Award

2021 Recipient

Donald J. Raleigh

Established in 1970, the Distinguished Contributions to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Award honors eminent members of the profession who have made major contributions to the field through scholarship of the highest quality, mentoring, leadership, and/or service. The prize is intended to recognize diverse contributions across Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Honoree: Donald J. Raleigh, Jay Richard Judson Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Donald J. Raleigh is the Jay Richard Judson Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. A historian of exceptional thematic and methodological breadth, his early pioneering works on the Russian Revolution and Civil War have been described as a “game changer,” and as “archival tours de force.” His more recent volumes on Soviet baby boomers are lauded as setting the highest standards for oral history. Raleigh’s work is justly celebrated for its attention to the reverberations of global events through local histories and individual lives. This interest in the diversity of human experience allows Raleigh to find a fresh angle on his subject matter, whatever the period. Over the course of his long and illustrious career, he has covered practically every decade of Soviet history, starting from his field-defining studies of the Revolution and the Civil War in Saratov, and ending with his current research on Leonid Brezhnev and Konstantin Chernenko.

Equally legendary is Raleigh’s reputation as a teacher and mentor. He has supervised well over fifty MA theses and PhD dissertations on topics that run the gamut from post-revolutionary criminology to early Cold War superpower relations, and from medical practices in Stalinist Central Asia to the late-Soviet history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Raleigh has extended his intellectual support to countless colleagues at his home institutions, the University of Hawaii, UNC-Chapel Hill, and beyond. Russian and American scholars describe him as “a brilliant graduate mentor” and “the model of collegiality, helpfulness, and graciousness,” in short, “a mensch of the highest accord.” Raleigh has published widely in both English and Russian, and has made his mark on the discipline through his editorial work and institution-building. Notable here is his tireless effort to promote contacts and cooperation between Russian and American historians, his fifteen-year tenure as the editor of Soviet (Russian) Studies in History, and his directorship of the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies, which he has turned into a real hot-house of exciting research on the region. ASEEES honors Professor Raleigh’s generosity of spirit and intellectual presence, which will continue to shape our field for years to come.