University of Pittsburgh
January 13, 2012

Award-Winning Pitt Author Wins MLA’s Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures

Nancy Condee received the award for her book The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema
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PITTSBURGH—Nancy Condee, University of Pittsburgh professor and director of Pitt’s Global Studies Center, received the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) ninth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures for her book The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2009). The prize—awarded biennially for an outstanding scholarly work on the linguistics or literatures of the Slavic languages—was presented Jan. 7 at the MLA’s annual convention in Seattle.

MLA’s citation for The Imperial Traces reads: “Condee brilliantly accomplishes two pressing goals at once. The book is an insightful guide to six major post-Soviet filmmakers whose work it explores aesthetically as a function of cinematic style and cultural ideology and historically as an imaginative response to the decay and collapse of the Soviet Union and to the turbulent post-Soviet aftermath. If the debate on Russia’s imperial and national identities has been dominated by historians and social scientists, then The Imperial Trace insists on the pertinence of cultural production even as it engages in a dialogue across disciplines. Condee succeeds in her goal, not by dissolving each filmmaker into his or her context, but by exploring the more oblique tricks of the imaginative trade by which a work of art ponders, disavows, or transfigures its own time.”

The Imperial Trace also won the 2010 Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Condee’s most recent work is the coedited volume The Cinema of Alexander Sokurov, with Birgit Beumers (I.B. Tauris, 2011). Her other publications include Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, Postmodernity, Contemporaneity, with Terry Smith and Okwui Enwezor (Duke, 2008); Endquote: Sots-Art Literature and Soviet Grand Style, with Marina Balina and Evgeny Dobrenko (Northwestern University Press, 2000); and Soviet Hieroglyphics: Visual Culture in Late 20th Century Russia (Indiana University Press, 1995). Her writing has appeared in Publications of the Modern Language Association, The Nation, October, and Sight and Sound, as well as in major Russian and Soviet journals. 

Director of Pitt’s graduate program for cultural studies from 1995 to 2006, Condee is a specialist in contemporary Russian culture and cultural politics, Soviet cultural politics, late-Soviet and post-Soviet cinema, imperial and postcolonial theory, and Soviet and post-Soviet popular culture. She also is a Pitt Film Studies Program faculty member. 

With Vladimir Padunov, Pitt professor of cultural studies and film studies, Condee directed the Working Group on Contemporary Russian Culture supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, and is co-organizer of Pitt’s Russian Film Symposium, held annually in May.

Cofounder and coeditor of the journal Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, Condee serves on a number of editorial and advisory boards, including those of Kinokultura, Critical Quarterly, and Russian Studies in Literature. She has worked as a consultant on film projects for the Public Broadcasting System, Frontline documentaries on the Soviet Union and Russia, the Edinburgh Festival, the National Film Theatre in London, the San Francisco Film Festival, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, and the Library of Congress. She also was chair of the board of directors of the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research from 2001 to 2006.

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund was established and donated by Aldo Scaglione to the MLA in 1987; it honors the memory of his wife, Jeanne Daman Scaglione, a Roman Catholic whose many contributions to humanity have been commemorated in the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Aldo Scaglione, a member of the MLA since 1957, is Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Literature at New York University. A native of Torino, Italy, he received a doctorate in modern letters from the University of Torino.

The MLA, the largest and one of the oldest American learned societies in the humanities, promotes the advancement of literary and linguistic studies. The more than 30,000 members of the association come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as from Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.





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