About the prize
Established in 2014, the Canadian Association of Slavists’ Taylor & Francis Book Prize is awarded annually for the best academic book in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies published in the previous calendar year by a Canadian author (citizen or permanent resident). The book prize jury consists of three members chosen by the CAS executive. The winner receives a cash award of $250 CAD and recognition at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists.
Congratulations to the Book Prize Winner
Voices from the Soviet Edge by Dr. Jeff Sahadeo
The 2020 Canadian Association of Slavists/Taylor & Francis Book Prize in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies is awarded to Dr. Jeff Sahadeo’s Voices from the Soviet Edge (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2019).
As the committee’s report summarizes, “This book represents an important contribution to our understanding of the late socialist period in the Soviet Union. Based on an original archive of oral history interviews produced by the author and his research team over the course of several years and supplemented by archival and published primary sources, the book challenges the conventional wisdom that late socialism was a period of ‘stagnation’ and that the internationalism at the heart of the Soviet project was by then an empty slogan. Dr. Sahadeo offers a critical re-evaluation by following the life trajectories of Soviet citizens who migrated from the southern and eastern regions to its capital cities, and argues that their experience was one of social dynamism, vertical mobility, opportunities for self-realization, and active inter-ethnic, cross-cultural and cross-religious dialogue.
Dr. Sahadeo reveals a complicated relationship of Soviet migrants to Moscow and Leningrad (as both concrete places and as symbols), how meaningful the idea of ‘friendship of the peoples’ was to them even as they were aware of its hypocritical elements, how they dealt with various forms of racism and chauvinism directed at them, and how they navigated their quasi-colonial relationship to Russia, simultaneously resenting it but also instrumentalizing it. In doing so, Voices from the Soviet Edge informs our understanding of current-day racial politics and attitudes in Russia. Its protagonists involve a good balance of gender, region, and profession, thus making this excellent and thorough social history. Dr. Sahadeo also brings late Soviet history of migration into the global context of decolonization and population movements in the second half of the twentieth century, showing how much the Soviet modernist project shared with Western metropolitan areas. Last but not least, this book is extremely readable and easy to follow not only for specialists and students of Soviet history, but also for the general public.”