It is with great pleasure that Aspasia offers its congratulations to Dr. Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, the 2018 recipient of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies’ Outstanding Achievement Award. A historian of the Russian woman suffrage movement, Dr. Ruthchild played a foundational role in the development of women's history within Russian and Eastern European studies. She helped to establish the Association of Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) in 1988, serving as its first president. She also contributed to the inaugural volume of Aspasia in 2007,1 and has served as an editor of this journal for over a decade. She is an exemplary scholar, a champion of women's studies and women's achievements, as well as a mentor to colleagues and students in the United States and abroad.
Rochelle Goldberg received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Mathematics from Hofstra University in 1962. She completed her Master of Arts in History in 1964, and her PhD in 1976, both from the University of Rochester. Her dissertation, “The Russian Women's Movement, 1859–1917,” built on the foundational work in the field by Richard Stites, whose book on the topic appeared in 1978.2 Dr. Ruthchild has remained at the forefront of scholarship on Russian women's history, and is an accomplished and prolific author whose work has helped to influence and shape scholarship on Russian feminists and feminisms. In addition to numerous encyclopedia articles,3 reports, book reviews, and editorial contributions, Dr. Ruthchild compiled an annotated bibliography of works on Russian women's history, published in 1994, and her book Equality and Revolution: Women's Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905–1917 appeared in 2010, winning an Honorable Mention for the Reginald Zelnik Prize of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), and an Honorable Mention for the Heldt Prize given by the Association of Women in Slavic Studies.4 In Equality and Revolution, Dr. Ruthchild engages in a close analysis of Russian feminists and the woman suffrage movement in Russia. She effectively challenges Soviet and other left-wing dismissals of feminism as inherently bourgeois by revealing the diversity of the Russian woman suffrage movement, and undermines assertions that a liberal political environment was a necessary precursor for the successful emancipation of women. In 2008, Dr. Ruthchild was the invited plenary speaker at the conference in St. Petersburg celebrating the centenary of the First All-Women's Conference and since then has served in that function several times, including at the AWSS Conference in Alexandria, VA, in 2017. Dr. Ruthchild's scholarship has continually looked both to the past and to the future. Her assessments of the state of the field, from conference reports to her recent article, “Women and Gender in 1917,”5 reflect a clear sense of the importance that women's and gender history continue to occupy within academia. Her work has reshaped the field of Russian women's history, reinserting key figures into the narrative and widening its lens through its measured but revisionist approach.
The recipient of numerous prestigious grants, including several awards from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), Dr. Ruthchild served most of her academic career in faculty and administrative positions at the Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program in Social Change, Norwich University, and the Union Institute and University. From 1988 to 1994 she was the Director of the Russian School at Norwich University. She has long been associated with the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, holding the position of Center Associate in addition to coordinating its Gender, Socialism, and Post-Socialism Working Group. While these positions never offered Dr. Ruthchild the opportunity to train her own graduate students, she mentored and supported generations of scholars in the United States and Russia through patience and generosity. She was instrumental in the founding of a Women's Studies Caucus as part of the then-named American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS) in 1986 and in the establishment of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) in 1987. She served as President of AWSS from 1988 to 1990, and has remained a member of the organization's Executive Board since then, holding various roles including Clerk and Investment Officer.6 Dr. Ruthchild also initiated an AWSS effort to fund scholars from the region to attend professional conferences. Moreover, she was involved in the inception of Aspasia, publishing in its first volume and joining the journal as an editor in 2009. More recently, Dr. Ruthchild has become involved with the 888 Women's History Project and the making of the documentary film Left on Pearl: Women Take Over 888 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, which brings to light a little-known but emblematic 1971 event in the history of the US women's liberation movement.7 These organizational roles have provided an overarching umbrella for Dr. Ruthchild's broad efforts to promote scholarship on women's and gender history, and to support scholars engaged in such study.
Dr. Ruthchild's continual and sustained efforts to support and encourage scholars and scholarship on women's and gender history deserve wide recognition and acknowledgment. She has made invaluable contributions not only through her intellectual curiosity and incisive feminist scholarship, but also through her commitment to supporting and expanding opportunities for other scholars, particularly through her work with AWSS and Aspasia. The Outstanding Achievement Award is a well-deserved acknowledgment of Dr. Ruthchild's contributions to Russian women's and gender history. Aspasia extends its deepest congratulations and gratitude.
Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, “Women's Suffrage and Revolution in the Russian Empire, 1905–1917,” Aspasia 1 (2007): 1–35.
Richard Stites, The Women's Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, Bolshevism, 1860–1930 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978).
Dr. Ruthchild contributed articles to The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History (Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press, 1981); Dictionary of Russian Women Writers (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994); A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998); The Encyclopedia of Russian Women's Movements (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001); Biographical Dictionary of Women's Movements and Feminisms in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2006); and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
Ruthchild, Women in Russia and the Soviet Union: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: G. K. Hall, 1994); Ruthchild, Equality and Revolution: Women's Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905–1917 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010).
Ruthchild, “Women and Gender in 1917,” Slavic Review 76, no. 3 (Fall 2017): 694–702.