Canadian Association of Slavists

CAS President’s Report, 2006

The core activities of CAS, I am happy to report, are in good order. Oleh Ilnytzkyj continues to do an excellent job steering our journal so smoothly that we, the passengers, are not even aware of the obstacles and turbulence that he has managed to avoid. Under his leadership the journal has found a steady working rhythm and is on a sound footing intellectually and financially. He is also to be commended for the work he has done in moving our journal ever further into the era of electronic communications. The landscape of subsidized scholarly journal publishing in Canada is likely to be changing in the near future and Oleh has insured that Canadian Slavonic Papers is well prepared for this eventuality, no matter what shape it takes. I am very reassured by the fact that he has agreed to stand for another term as editor of our journal. On behalf of the membership I extend to him and his excellent team our sincere thanks for the work he has done and best wishes for his continuing editorship in the future.

Our annual conference was also in very capable hands this year. Taras Koznarsky has, with the assistance of Louise Wrazen, assembled an excellent program for the Congress at York University. This year’s conference has, as usual, attracted a large number of very interesting presentations and I am particularly happy to see so many graduate students participating in the program. This bodes well for the future of our organization and our profession.

Zina Gimpelevich, our secretary-treasurer, has devoted an extraordinary measure of her energy, time, and nerves to the matter of restoring the charitable status of our Association’s CAS Fund. Her hard work has led to good results. While the final word from Revenue Canada has not yet come in, we are clearly on the right path and can hope to have our Fund’s charitable status completely restored shortly. In the course of this process, Zina and the other members of the CAS Fund Committee have produced a charter or constitution for the CAS Fund which will formally regulate its activity and will also meet the requirements of Revenue Canada. Once this charter has been formally accepted by Revenue Canada, it will appear on the CAS website for the information of our members.

CAS continued its tradition of awarding prizes for the best undergraduate and graduate essays. The Canadian Association of Slavists Annual Essay Contest for best Graduate and Undergraduate Essays for 2005 have been awarded to Olga Kesarchuk and Paul Ferguson. The graduate prize goes to Olga Kesarchuk of the University of Toronto for an essay entitled “Loving Investment, Hating Investors? The Case of Ukraine.” The essay was nominated by Prof. Peter Solomon. The undergraduate prize goes to Paul Ferguson of Carleton University for an essay entitled “The Failed Middle Path: Russian Liberalism, 1900-1914.” The essay was nominated by Carter Elwood. The winners in the competition will receive a one-year paid membership in the Canadian Association of Slavists, and a $250 reimbursement to help cover expenses if they choose to participate in the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists at the University of Saskatchewan in 2007. Additionally, the winning submissions will be considered for publication in Canadian Slavonic Papers.

Finally, I am happy to report that our profession seems to have survived the crisis we were facing as recently as five to ten years ago. Judging by the activity in Canada alone, I think we can look forward to a modest but steady revival of the fortunes of Slavists in various fields including language, literature, and culture; political science; history and other fields. CAS must not only remain vigilant to ensure this revival proceeds in good order but also to insure that our own activities, particularly in our journal and in our conference, reflect the growing interest in and diversity of our field. One particular area of concern for me in our association is the matter of graduate student representation in our executive. This is, to be blunt, an aspect of our governance that is broken and needs fixing. I invite the members, particularly graduate students, to share their ideas on how to fix this problem with the incoming executive.

Maxim Tarnawsky

May 26, 2006