ASEEES Distinguished Contributions Award

2006 Recipient

Moshe Lewin

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.

Co-Honoree: Moshe Lewin

We honor Moshe Lewin with the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Slavic Studies for his monumental contributions to the field of twentieth-century Russian history. Born in 1921 in Wilno, Poland, and once a collective farm worker in the USSR and an officer in the Soviet army, Professor Lewin received the B.A. from Tel Aviv University (1961) and the Ph.D. from the Sorbonne (1964). After holding positions at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Columbia University, and Birmingham University, Professor Lewin joined the history faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978 where he remained until his retirement in 1995.

Over nearly four decades, Professor Lewins books have focused attention on neglected aspects of the Soviet experience, combining finely textured historical research with brilliant insights into overarching patterns and trends. Two of his most influential works, Russian Peasants and Soviet Power and Lenin’s Last Struggle, first appeared in 1968 and have been reissued many times. Professor Lewin subsequently published major studies on a broad range of subjects, applying political, social, economic, and cultural modes of analysis: Political Undercurrents in Soviet Economic Debates (1974), The Making of the Soviet System (1985), The Gorbachev Phenomenon (1988), Stalinism and the Seeds of Soviet Reform: the Debates of the 1960’s (1991), Russia–USSR–Russia: the Drive and Drift of a Superstate (1995), Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison (co-edited with Ian Kershaw, 1997), and most recently, The Soviet Century (edited by Gregory Elliott, 2005).

His books have been translated into many languages and his articles have appeared in publications throughout the world.

A lively and devoted teacher, mentor, and critic, Professor Lewin has grappled with some of the most challenging and complex issues of the past century. In 1980, together with Alfred Rieber, he initiated a multidisciplinary international faculty forum, the Seminar in Twentieth-Century Russian and Soviet Social History, designed to encourage innovative research and creative thinking about late Imperial and Soviet Russia. Over the next eight years, seminar meetings focused on the Russian and Soviet peasantry (1982), the Imperial and Soviet bureaucracy (1983), the social history of Soviet Russia during the Civil War (1984), the New Economic Policy (1986), and Soviet industrialization (1988). A series of edited volumes based on the seminars testifies to Professor Lewins inspiration for a generation of scholars.

Now in his mid-eighties, Professor Lewin (or Misha as he is affectionately called) continues to publish and to participate in debates on the past, present, and future of Russia. In recognition of his incomparable erudition, seminal scholarship, and intellectual creativity over a long and distinguished career, the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies presents him with its highest honor.

Co-Winner: James R. Millar