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Image of Head and shoulders shot of Rebecca Reich standing in front of a red brick wall

Dr Rebecca Reich wins prize for first book

Congratulations to College Fellow Dr Rebecca Reich on winning the 2019 prize for Best First Book from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL).

Dr Reich, a Senior Lecturer in Russian literature and culture at the University of Cambridge, collected the prize for State of Madness: Psychiatry, Literature and Dissent After Stalin (2018, De Kalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press). Dr Reich’s work was also shortlisted in the Best Book in Literary Scholarship category.

AATSEEL's award citation states: "Rebecca Reich perceptively explores the various types of discourse on madness for literary and political purposes in the late-Soviet period. She juxtaposes official medical sources with accounts by those who experienced punitive psychiatric care and the fictional texts that they wrote to subvert this supposed medical treatment.

"State of Madness provides discerning analysis of important texts on madness, describing how literature confronted the official version of madness. In so doing, Reich provides a compelling explanation of how the Soviet State pathologised dissent in the late Soviet period."

Talking about the prize Dr Reich says: "It's a great honour to receive an award from an organisation composed of so many leading scholars. One of my goals in writing State of Madness was to promote a conversation between literary studies and both cultural history and the history of medicine. I am delighted that the panel saw this approach as a contribution to the field."

Read more about the State of Madness on the University of Cambridge website.

AATSEEL was founded in 1941 to advance the study and promote the teaching of Slavic and East European languages, literatures, and cultures.

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