Volha Sasunkevich, European Humanities University lecturer and executive officer of the Center for Gender Studies, has been awarded a Graduate Essay Prize by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS).
The essay—“Shuttle Trade and Gender Relations: Female World in a Provincial Border Town”—is a chapter from Sasunkevich’s recently defended dissertation on cross-border trading engaged in by Belarusian women.
The AWSS 2014 Graduate Essay Prize Committee, composed of Adrienne Harris (Baylor University), Janet Johnson (Brooklyn College, CUNY), and Adele Lindenmeyr (Villanova University), noted: “Sasunkevich combines the stories of individual women with a sophisticated analysis of the economic gender segregation, the female labor market, and networks of social solidarity that determine the female-dominated world of illegal or semi-legal trading in goods that vary from cigarettes to children’s toys. Employing statistical data, regulatory and legal documents, and oral history interviews with eighteen women—and an innovative essay contest—her findings challenge the stereotype of women as passive victims of a post-Soviet patriarchal system, evaluating this informal economy instead as a resource used by post-Soviet women for economic empowerment.”
The Association for Women in Slavic Studies sponsors research and teaching for scholars interested in women's and gender studies in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia. AWSS serves as a networking resource for those concerned with the problems, status, and achievements of women in the academic and related professions. AWSS seeks to improve the general public's understanding about women and gender in these regions.