Laura Shannon Prize Winner

Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity

Publisher: University of Toronto Press

Publication Year: 2022

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Blood of Others: Stalin's Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity

by Rory Finnin

2024 Award in Humanities

Jury Statement

“Rory Finnin’s extraordinary study, Blood of Others: Stalin’s Crimean Atrocity and the Poetics of Solidarity, forges breakthrough integrations between Slavic and Middle Eastern Studies to open up and adroitly explore a largely understudied ‘contact zone’ of imperial politics central to the ongoing re-shaping of European conflict today: Stalin’s 1944 forced deportation of Crimean Tartars, a small Sunni Muslim nation, from its ancestral homeland. Approaching Black Sea imperial politics in ways that draw upon and extend more familiar studies of cultural strife throughout the Mediterranean Rim, Finnan’s deeply researched and eloquently written study tracks the historical record of Black Sea contact zone experience among Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, and Crimean Tartar cultures from the eighteenth century up to the 1944 atrocity—which cost the lives of great numbers of Crimean Tartars, mostly women, children, and the elderly—and its aftermath in more recent revisions of Soviet history. Finnin’s impressive range of linguistic skills enables him to examine the subtleties of original poetry and prose writings from each of these cultures that resist the tyrannies of imperial domination and inspire sympathy and understanding for ethnic ‘Others.’ Drawing on the theoretical work of Richard Rorty and Marth Nussbaum in particular, Finnin strikingly demonstrates the catalytic power of a ‘poetics of solidarity’ to enact social reform and justice. ‘Reading,’ as Finnin concisely puts it, ‘stops bleeding.’ The relevance of this book for the current war in Ukraine, as well as ethnic conflict zones throughout Slavic Europe and the Middle East, makes it essential reading for anyone engaged with the history, past and present, of resistance to imperial domination within and throughout the borders of Europe.”

Final Jury

Eliot Borenstein
Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies
New York University

Nicola Gess
Professor of German Literature
University of Basel

Gregory Kucich
Professor of English
University of Notre Dame

Heather Hyde Minor
Professor of 16th–18th century Europe in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design
University of Notre Dame

Susan Stewart
Avalon Foundation University Professor of the Humanities, Emerita
Princeton University