Condee's Book on Recent Russian Film to Receive Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award

Issue Date: 
March 22, 2010

University of Pittsburgh professor Nancy Condee’s The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2009) has been selected for the 2010 Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS). The formal announcement will be made at an awards ceremony March 18 during the annual SCMS conference, to be held in Los Angeles.

The Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award is given in memory of film scholar Katherine Singer Kovács whose will included a provision for this prize, which is offered annually to recognize the best new book published in film and media studies.

The selection committee chose Condee’s book from among 58 books reviewed for the award. The awardee receives a certificate and a $1,500 prize. The book award is given for “original works that significantly advance scholarship and thinking in film and media studies by opening up new lines of inquiry or by consolidating existing ones at a high level of accomplishment.”

In The Imperial Trace, Condee examines films from contemporary Russian cinema and notes that “we cannot make sense of current Russian culture without accounting for its imperial legacy.”

A film historian in Pitt’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Condee analyzes the works of the late-Soviet and post-Soviet-period auteurists Kira Muratova, Vadim Abdrashitov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Aleksei German, Aleksandr Sokurov, and Aleksei Balabanov to learn whether a Russian imperial legacy is evident in their films.

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.

Condee is cofounder and coeditor of the journal Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema and 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, and the Library of Congress. With Vladimir Padunov, Pitt professor of cultural studies and film studies, Condee is coorganizer of Pitt’s Russian Film Symposium, held annually in May.

Condee also is a senior associate member of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University and a member of the Russian Guild of Cinema Scholars and Critics (Union of Cinematographers of the Russian Federation) and, for more than a decade, has been one of two U.S. scholars annually invited to and supported by the Kinotavr Film Festival (Sochi), Russia’s leading postsocialist film festival. Condee also has served for six years as chair of the board of directors of the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the largest U.S. grant agency for social-science research in the former socialist bloc.

Founded in 1959, SCMS is a professional organization of college and university educators, filmmakers, historians, critics, scholars, and others devoted to the study of the moving image. The goals of SCMS are to promote all areas of media studies within universities and two-and four-year colleges, to encourage and reward excellence in scholarship and writing, to facilitate and improve the teaching of media studies as disciplines, and to advance multicultural awareness and interaction. SCMS is dedicated to serving its members’ professional needs and concerns; strengthening the ties between the academic community and those who interact with it, from the media industry to the government to the public at large; and to promoting the preservation of our heritage in film, television, video, and other media.