Article by Hashamova Wins Heldt Prize

November 6, 2013

Article by Hashamova Wins Heldt Prize

Yana Hashamova

An article by Yana Hashamova, Mershon affiliate and director of the Center for Slavic and East European Studies, has won the Heldt Prize for best article from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies.

"War Rape: (Re)defining Motherhood, Fatherhood, and Nationhood" was published in Embracing Arms: Cultural Representation of Slavic and Balkan Women in War, edited by Helena Goscilo and Yana Hashamova (Central European University Press, 2012).

The roots of both the article and book go back to the 2007 International Conference on Women and War, organized by Hashamova and Goscilo and supported by the Mershon Center.

According to the awards committee:

Yana Hashamova’s essay is an important intervention in the debate over the fate of women raped in wartime.  Her discussion complicates the usual depiction of survivors as hapless victims by focusing on the dilemmas women faced when they bore a child against their will.  Two fictional works addressing this predicament—one a novel by Slavenka Drakulić, the other a film by Jasmila Žbanić—weave painful stories of “impossible motherhood.”  Building on Kristeva’s argument about the power of maternity, Hashamova insists that we recognize the active subjectivity women demonstrate: first in choosing motherhood despite their reservations, and then living with the consequences in a society still aching with hatred and suspicion.  The essay is a powerful indictment of the violence of war and the traumas that linger in peace: whether they be homegrown, or committed abroad when images of victimhood dominate the narrative.  Hashamova calls on us to be witnesses to suffering, and to the redemption found in a child’s loving face. The Committee awards Yana Hashamova the prize for Best Article in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women’s Studies.