Beth Holmgren Graduate Student Essay Prize

2014 Citation Recipient

Taylor Craig Zajicek

The Beth Holmgren Graduate Student Essay Prize, established in 1990 and named in honor of Professor Holmgren in 2021, is awarded for an outstanding essay by a graduate student in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Zajicek analyzes representations, mostly Soviet, of the “new Turkey” in the early 1930s. His essay sheds light on Soviet-Turkish relations between 1933 and 1934, and it poses interesting and innovative questions related to the reasons Soviets endorsed Turkish modernity.

The author makes effective use of primary sources—such as Soviet newspapers, Western newspapers and journals, archival document collections—to answer his question and support his arguments. His use of the film “Heart of Turkey” is particularly compelling.  In addition, Zajicek engages well with the existing secondary literature and points out convincingly how the story he is telling has been largely overlooked.

By drawing from a wide variety of sources and broadening the traditional notions of diplomacy to include a range of scientific, technological, and cultural topics, Zajicek has authored a paper of interest to scholars from a variety of disciplines in the ASEEES community. His essay is carefully researched, effectively structured, and written in a clear, literate and engaging style.