The Laura Shannon Prize Award and Lecture with Eleonory Gilburd


Location: Online

The 2020 Laura Shannon Book Prize: To See Paris and Die

"Translation and Closed Borders: The Case of the Soviet Union at Mid-20th Century"

Eleonory Gilburd
Associate Professor of History and the College, The University of Chicago

Dudley Andrew, R. Selden Rose Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of Film Studies at Yale University and 2020 final juror, will introduce the lecture.

Thursday, February 11, 2021
12:00 noon ET
The lecture is free and open to the public.

The Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame has awarded the 2020 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies to Eleonory Gilburd for her book To See Paris and Die: The Soviet Lives of Western Culture, published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

The $10,000 Laura Shannon Prize, one of the preeminent prizes for European studies, is awarded annually to the best book in European studies that transcends a focus on any one country, state or people to stimulate new ways of thinking about contemporary Europe as a whole. The 2020 cycle of the award considered humanities books published in 2017 or 2018.

Eleonory Gilburd, University of Chicago

To See Paris and Die received high praise from the final jury:

“A masterly and engrossing performance, To See Paris and Die: The Soviet Lives of Western Culture reveals just how ambiguous the Soviet Russian relationship was with Western people and art. In her remarkable and stunningly comprehensive work of scholarship, Eleonory Gilburd has the pulse of the people at her fingertips as she deftly counterpoints the ‘thaw’ of the 1930s with those of the 1950s and ’60s.

“From the long view of Soviet national politics in the international arena, Gilburd cuts to definable cultural sectors such as popular music and cinema, book publishing, and translation delivering the texture of experience during this period. Events such as foreign art exhibitions, book fairs, or the French and Italian film weeks allow Gilburd to track fashions and debates at the micro-level of individual responses, as well as through the usual introductions and pamphlets. Gilburd also offers a range of colorful vignettes of government disapproval, such as the story of Kruschev sleeping through much of a Fellini film at the Moscow Film Festival.

“Well-structured and jauntily written, To See Paris and Die succeeds because of its panoptic brio, audacious look at popular responses to cultural forms, accessible style, and a sustained sense that, within its pages, the destiny of Europe is at stake.”

Gilburd is an associate professor of history at the University of Chicago. Her work focuses on the history of modern Russia and the Soviet Union, with a particular interest in Soviet culture, society and their international context. She will accept the 2020 Laura Shannon Prize award and deliver a lecture entitled, "Translation and Closed Borders: The Case of the Soviet Union at Mid-20th Century," on Thursday, February 11, 2021, at 12:00 noon ET.