Omeljan Pritsak Book Prize in Ukrainian Studies

2023 Citation Recipient

Rory Finnin

University of Cambridge

The Omeljan Pritsak Book Prize in Ukrainian Studies, established in 2019 and sponsored by the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, recognizes a distinguished book in the field of Ukrainian studies that was published in the previous calendar year. Omeljan Pritsak was an esteemed scholar of Ukrainian history and the primary founder of the Harvard Ukranian Research Institute.

Co-winner: Rory Finnin, University of Cambridge
Title: Blood of Others: Stalin’s Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity (University of Toronto Press)

Rory Finnin’s fascinating monograph brings past and present together with complex literary histories of Crimean Tatars at the front and center of Ukrainian history over a long course. The prize committee was impressed by how he centers the history of the 1944 deportations by making use of a variety of sources from Slavic studies to Middle Eastern studies and looking at the history of lived atrocity and forms of literary exchange between Crimean Tatar, Ukrainian, Turkish, and Russian writers. Finnin expands the scope of settler colonial histories into Ukrainian literary studies and histories of exchange in a way that straddles the boundaries of intellectual history, comparative literature, and the history of ideas. Finnin’s monograph is a compelling exploration in terms of scope and dialogue and into the much larger worlds of solidarity that now encompass Ukraine and Ukrainian multiple cultures and the growing field of Ukrainian studies.

Co-winner: Catherine Wanner, Pennsylvania State University
Title: Everyday Religiosity and the Politics of Belonging in Ukraine (Cornell University Press)

Catherine Wanner’s impressive monograph starkly incorporates new commentary on Russia’s war against Ukraine by unpacking problematic aspects of modernity as well as past and current Ukrainian history. She looks carefully at Orthodox communities in order to give us a deeper look into hidden private religious identities that do not necessarily reduce to ethnic or ethnolinguistic concepts of modern nationhood. Wanner strikes a creative balance between the book’s methods and sources, subjects and practices; the theories and complex emotional worlds of, among, and for Ukrainians. The monograph combines cultural anthropology, theology, religious studies, and historical sociology to deal with Ukrainians across regional, linguistic, and confessional divides, and the country’s multiple cultural and political landscapes.