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Victor Bailey
Hall Center for the Humanities
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Assistant professors in the humanities win book publication awards

Mon, 04/21/2014

LAWRENCE – Erik Scott, assistant professor of history, has won the 2014 Vice Chancellor for Research Book Publication Award for his upcoming publication, “Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora in the Soviet Union,” to be published by Oxford University Press. The annual award is administered by the Hall Center for the Humanities.

The Friends of the Hall Center provide support for a second faculty publication. Stephanie Fitzgerald, assistant professor of English, received the Friends Book Publication Award for “Land Narratives: Native Women and Dispossession from Removal to Climate Change,” to be published by University of New Mexico Press. 

Scott’s study challenges the conventional wisdom regarding national minorities in the Soviet Union and the nature of the Soviet Empire. The author advocates moving beyond separate historical accounts and national histories and toward “the idea of a Soviet empire of diasporas.” He writes not just about Georgians in the Soviet Union, but about the ways that Georgian and Soviet national identities informed each other.

Georgians in the Soviet Union represented less than 2 percent of the Soviet population, yet they constituted an extraordinarily successful and powerful minority. This groundbreaking book tells their story. Current scholarly literature argues that revolutionaries downplayed their cultural origins and embraced an international ideology. Scott’s book rewrites the history of the Russian revolution, demonstrating that ethnic ties and identities remained powerful even within revolutionary circles and persisted throughout the Soviet era. The book is an important study of how one minority acted as the spearhead of the Russian empire‘s socialist revolution and later the elite of the Soviet Union.

The University of Kansas Office of Research sponsors the Vice Chancellor for Research Book Publication Award. It assists in the publication of meritorious book manuscripts by faculty members in the humanities.

Fitzgerald’s book, “Land Narratives: Native Women and Dispossession from Removal to Climate Change,” will be a welcome addition to the fields of literature and the environment and gender studies, both of which are undertheorized in relation to Native American studies.

The book will look at different representations of land loss, dispossession and environmental devastation, primarily by Native women in literature, but also in newsletters, brochures and social media. Federal law and climate change have affected tribal nations and communities since the early 19th century. Fitzgerald will argue that Native land loss is not just a legal or land tenure issue, but an environmental issue as well.

Fitzgerald’s award is made possible by the Friends of the Hall Center, an organization of faculty, community members and students who support the Center’s programs.



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