Student Essay Contest

The Canadian Association of Slavists Student Essay Contests

The Canadian Association of Slavists is pleased to announce its Undergraduate and Graduate Student Essay Contests for 2023.

Essays completed in any discipline relating to the regions of central and eastern Europe, Russia, and central Asia are eligible. Students participating in the contest must have been enrolled at a Canadian educational institution during the preceding academic year (Fall 2022 – Winter 2023). Their essays may have been written in connection with course work, with thesis or dissertation research, or for presentation at scholarly meetings. Only unpublished papers that are not currently under consideration for publication are considered for the contest.

The competition’s winners will be announced by May 2024. Each winner will receive a one-year paid membership in the CAS, and winning submissions will be considered for publication in the association’s journal, Canadian Slavonic Papers.

Faculty are encouraged to publicize this opportunity among their students and colleagues.

Submission Instructions

1.  Submissions should be no longer than 35 pages (approximately 12,500 words). The limit includes footnotes or parenthetical references (following disciplinary convention) and bibliography.
2.  Submissions must be double-spaced, except for footnotes and block quotations, which may be single-spaced. Please use Times New Roman 12-point font (footnotes may be 10-point). Margins must be at least 2.5 cm (1 inch), and pages must be numbered (title pages are not counted in the page limit and should not be numbered).  
3.  Illustrations (if necessary) should be attached as appendices, numbered with corresponding references (e.g., “see figure 1”) in the text. Illustrations do not count in the page limit, but captions must be limited to brief identification and source acknowledgement.
4.  To facilitate blind assessment, submissions should be anonymized and bear no identifying references in the text.
5.  The essay must be accompanied by a letter of nomination from a faculty member involved in the student’s supervision, who has read the essay. The faculty member must be a member of the CAS.   
6.  Complete submissions should be sent electronically to The deadline is Friday, 3 November 2023.   
7.  We encourage electronic submissions, but submissions can be mailed in hard copy, too, provided they meet the criteria specified above and are postmarked no later than Friday, 3 November 2022:  :

Undergraduate / Graduate Student Essay Contest
Canadian Slavonic Papers
Dept. of History, Leacock Bldg.
McGill University
855, rue Sherbrooke O.
Montréal (Québec) H3A 2T7

List of Past Student Essay Prize Winners


  • Undergraduate Essay: Sydney Shiller (McGill University) “The Crucified Land: Accusations of Ukrainian Antisemitism in Putin’s Russia, 2014-2022.”
  • Graduate Essay: Filipp Lekmanov (University of Toronto) “‘Not fashionable but just how I need it: rather tasteless’: Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s Philosophy of Dress.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Sarah Sturken (McGill University) “Honour and Glory to the Heroes: Cultural Memory, Politics, and the Controversial Legacy of Poland’s ‘Cursed soldiers.'”
  • Graduate Essay: Benyamin Villani (McGill University) “The Refugees’ Revolution: Displaced Persons, the Eastern Bloc, and the United Nations.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Yaroslav Gouzenko (McGill University) “Shaimiev and the Tatarstan Model: A Successful Highjack.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Flora Deverell (McGill University) “Rushing the Maidan: Understanding the Relationship between the 2004 Orange Revolution and the 2013-14 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine,” and Hannah Rudderham (University of Alberta) “Who Wore the Uniform? The Question of Soldier Identity in Revolutionary Russia, February-October 1917.”
  • Graduate Essay: Sean Patterson (University of Alberta) “Prefiguring Privilege: Mennonite Self-Defence as a Symptom of Imperial Decolonization.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Samuel Hull (McGill University) “Violence and Power: The Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans and the Fall of the Benes Regime.”
  • Graduate Essay: Rachel Van Fraassen (McMaster University) “Black Ikons: Experiencing Racial Categorization in the Interwar Soviet Union.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Christopher Martin (McGill University) “Community and the Sacred: A Durkheimian Approach to Polish Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Russian Poland.”
  • Graduate Essay: Violčne Dauvois (University of Ottawa) “AQUA VITAE, AQUA MORTIS: Le système atemporel de l’eau dans l’œuvre Watermark de Joseph Brodsky.”


  • Graduate Essay: Stephanie Dreier, PhD Student (Germanic Studies, UBC) “The Problem of Literary History.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Nicolas Tetreault (McGill University) “Foreign Tourism’s Under-Assessed Challenge to the Polish United Workers’ Party, c. 1970-1980.”
  • Graduate Essay: Meagan Fairholm (University of Alberta) “Motherly Compassion and Matriarchy” (a chapter from MA thesis “Mothers, Wives, Housekeepers and More?  Maria Feodorovna and Women’s Education in Russia, 1796-1828.”).


  • Undergraduate Essay: Antony Kalashnikov (BA University of Alberta; currently enrolled in the graduate program on Russian and East European Studies at Oxford) “Party Ideology in the Late Soviet Period: an Althusserian Analysis.”
  • Graduate Essay: Zsofia Surjan, PhD Student (Department of History, University of Victoria) “Fertility Treatment in Sixteenth-Century Hungary: The Correspondence of a Count, His Wife and a Physician.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Dennis Khaiter (University of Toronto) “Reflecting the Problems from One Epoch to Another: A Contrast of Pushkin and Tchaikovsky’s Versions of Yevgeni Onegin.”
  • Graduate Essay: Francesca Silano, PhD Student (Department of History, University of Toronto) “‘A Link in the Chain of Art’: The Life of Maria Yudina.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Sara Miller (University of Ottawa) “From the Politics of Amnesia to the Politics of Remembrance: An Analysis of the Katyn Massacre’s Historical Narrative.”
  • Graduate Essays: Will McFadden, PhD Candidate (Department of History, University of Toronto) “The Power and the Paradox: The Early Lives and Writing of John Dos Passos, John Scott, and Vasily Grossman”; and Ian Garner, PhD Candidate (MA Student at the time of submission, Department of History, University of Toronto). “Why the USSR Sent Troops into Kabul in December 1979.”


  • Undergraduate Essays: Stephen Ejack (University of Alberta) “A Brief Critical Analysis of the War Industries Committees’ Political Activities: May – September 1915”; and Terrance David Reid (University of Waterloo) “Laying the Theoretical Groundwork of Biomechanical Technique: Understanding the origins and theories of ‘Biomechanics’.”


  • Graduate Essay: Ben McVicker (University of Toronto) “The Creation and Transformation of a Cultural Icon: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Post-Soviet Russia, 1994-2008.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Megan Butler (University of Lethbridge) “The Prayers of the Soviets.”
  • Graduate Essay: Timothy Sayle (University of Toronto) “Andropov and the Hungarian Complex.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Alex Souchen (University of Ottawa) “The Czechoslovak Legion in Russia.”
  • Graduate Essay: No prize awarded this year.


  • Undergraduate Essay: Talia Zajac (University of Toronto) “Silk and Crosses: Contextualizing the Rus’ Conversion of 988 in Byzantine and Rus’ Sources.”
  • Graduate Essay: Auri Berg (University of Toronto) “From Town to City: Urbanization and Social Integration in late 19th Century Nizhnii Novgorod.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Paul Ferguson (Carleton University), “The Failed Middle Path: Russian Liberalism, 1900-1914.”
  • Graduate Essay: Olga Kesarchuk (University of Toronto), “Loving Investment, Hating Investors? The Case of Ukraine.”


  • Undergraduate Essay: Emily Anglin (   ), “‘A Disastrous and Dangerous Illness’: Division and Danger in A Double Life.”
  • Graduate Essay: Max Bergholz  (University of Toronto), “Who was the Soviet Professional?”


  • Graduate Essay: Denis Kozlov (University of Toronto): “The Leningrad Martyrology: A Note on the Statistics of 1937 Executions in Leningrad City and Region.”


  • Graduate Essay: Peter Waisberg (Carleton University), “A Citizenship Law for Tatarstan.”


  • Graduate Essays: Heather DeHaan (U of Toronto), ” Russia’s rebirth: The Spiritual Aspect of Enlightenment”; and Tawnia Sanford (Carleton U), “The Creation of Criminal Russia.” Articles based on both of these submissions were published in CSP,Volume 43, Nos. 3-4 (Sept.-Dec. 1999).