Russia Scholars Reply to ASEEES 'Detailed Clarification' Regarding Cohen-Tucker Fellowship Controversy

The following is the text of a letter to the Executive Committee of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, written by David Ransel, Robert F. Byrne Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University, and signed by 126 134 142 additional scholars in the field.  The complete list of signatories follows the text.  For previous posts on this controversy go here and here.  To see the ASEEES “Detailed Clarification” go here

February 5, 2015

Executive Committee

Dear Executive Officers,

Thank you for posting your Detailed Clarification Regarding Cohen-Tucker Fellowship Negotiations. While we appreciate your efforts to explain the procedural particulars of the case, the focus of our concern has been the Board’s decision to suggest to the donors that their generous gift supporting graduate fellowships might be welcome if it did not also serve indirectly to honor Stephen Cohen. We were hoping for a more helpful response.

Our aim from the beginning has been to defend the principles on which the ASEEES was founded. The association’s Mission Statement defines the ASEEES as “a private, non-political international professional organization,” and this principle is repeated in your Clarification statement. Yet the Board departed from this principle in its handling of the Cohen-Tucker Dissertation Fellowships. It is apparent now from your clarification and from emails provided by those involved that what you regarded as an effort to avoid a split in the membership resulted in a “compromise” proposal that removed the name of an eminent scholar from the fellowship program because some on the Board disagreed with his political opinions.

We urge you to put matters back on their proper footing by asking the Board of Directors to reject the compromise proposal and express its commitment to accept the Cohen-Tucker Dissertation Fellowship gift as named. We would ask you then to contact the KAT Foundation and assure Katrina and Steve that if the fellowship offer is renewed, it will be gratefully accepted with the original title. Since the question of the appointment of the fellowship selection committee has already been settled as the responsibility solely of the ASEEES, there would be no further obstacle to implementation of the fellowship program. We believe strongly that this is the only way to bring closure to a matter that now promises to be even more destructive to the association’s wellbeing.

David Ransel, Indiana University

Nanci Adler, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam
Barbara C. Allen, La Salle University
Tarik Cyril Amar, Columbia University
Barbara Anderson, University of Michigan
Emily B. Baran, Middle Tennessee State University
Steven Barnes, George Mason University
Mark Beissinger, Princeton University
Frances Bernstein, Drew University
Stefano Bianchini, University of Bologna
Clayton Black, Washington College
J. Larry Black, Carleton University
Sally Boniece, Frostburg State University
Nicholas Breyfogle, Ohio State University
Archie Brown, University of Oxford, UK
Cynthia Buckley, University of Illinios, Urbana-Champaign
Jane Burbank, New York University
Paul Bushkovitch, Yale University
John Bushnell, Northwestern University
William Chase, University of Pittsburgh
Choi Chatterjee, California State University Los Angeles
Marianna Tax Choldin, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Paul T. Christensen, Boston College
Katerina Clark, Yale University
Barbara Evans Clements, University of Akron
Frederick Corney, College of William and Mary
David Darrow, University of Dayton
Michael David-Fox, Georgetown University
R. W. Davies, University of Birmingham, UK
Gerald M. Easter, Boston College
Ben Eklof, Indiana University
Barbara Engel, University of Colorado
Laura Engelstein, Yale University
Mark Edele, University of Western Australia
Robert English, University of Southern California
Matthew Evangelista, Cornell University
Anton Fedyashin, American University
Melissa Feinberg, Rutgers University
Donald Filtzer, University of East London, UK
Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Chicago, University of Sydney
Frederic J. Fleron, Jr., State University of New York at Buffalo
Ziva Galili, Rutgers University
Robert Geraci, University of Virginia
Arch Getty, University of California Los Angeles
Paul Goble, Institute of World Politics
Wendy Goldman, Carnegie Mellon University
Loren R. Graham, Harvard University
Gordon Hahn, Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago
Paul Hanebrink, Rutgers University
Robert M. Hayden, University of Pittsburgh
James Heinzen, Rowan University
Jochen Hellbeck, Rutgers University
Susan Heuman, Independent scholar
Francine Hirsch, University of Wisconsin
David Hoffmann, Ohio State University
Erik P. Hoffmann, State University of New York at Albany
David Holloway, Stanford University
Larry Holmes, University of South Alabama
Peter Holquist, University of Pennsylvania
Cynthia Hooper, College of the Holy Cross
Birgitta Ingemanson, Washington State University
Robert E. Johnson, University of Toronto
Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann, Independent Scholar
Peter Kenez, University of California Santa Cruz
Nancy S. Kollmann, Stanford University
Boris Kolonitskii, European University at St. Petersburg
Stephen Kotkin, Princeton University
Yanni Kotsonis, New York University
Sharon Kowalsky, Texas A&M University
Vladislav Krasnov, President Raga
Dragan Kujundzic, University of Florida
David Lane, University of Cambridge, UK
Robert Legvold, Columbia University
Eve Levin, University of Kansas
Lars Lih, Montreal, Canada
Adele Lindenmeyr, Villanova University
Eric Lohr, American University
Alexander Martin, Notre Dame University
David McDonald, University of Wisconsin
David McFadden, Fairfield University
Louise McReynolds, University of North Carolina
Laurie Manchester, Arizona State University
Russell E. Martin, Westminster College
Jack Matlock, Institute for Advanced Study, former US ambassador to Russia
Michael S. Melancon, Auburn University
Martin Miller, Duke University
Norman Naimark, Stanford University
Benjamin Nathans, University of Pennsylvania
Joan H. Neuberger, University of Texas
Julie Newton, University of Oxford, UK
Max Okenfuss, Washington University, St. Louis
Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University
Kathleen Parthe, University of Rochester
Norman G. O. Pereira, Dalhousie University
Nicolai N. Petro, University of Rhode Island
Karen Petrone, University of Kentucky
Simon Pirani, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
Jan Plamper, University of London
Ethan Pollock, Brown University
Rachel Polonsky, University of Cambridge
Joachim von Puttkamer, University of Jena
Ekaterina Pravilova, Princeton University
David Priestland, University of Oxford, UK
Alexander Rabinowitch, Indiana University
Janet Rabinowitch, Indiana University
Donald J. Raleigh, University of North Carolina
Henry Reichman, California State University East Bay, AAUP Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure
Alfred Rieber, Central European University
Lesley A. Rimmel, Oklahoma State University
William Rosenberg, University of Michigan
Richard Sakwa, University of Kent, UK
Joshua Sanborn, Lafayette College
Jonathan Sanders, State University of New York at Stonybrook
David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Brock University
Barry Schutz, Stanford University
Robert Sharlet, Union College
David Shearer, University of Delaware
Lewis Siegelbaum, Michigan State University
Rudra Sil, University of Pennsylvania
Brian D. Silver, Michigan State University
Thomas Simons, Jr., Davis Center, Harvard, former US ambassador to Poland
Ken Slepyan, Transylvania University
Yuri Slezkine, University of California Berkeley
Regina Smyth, Indiana University
Vladimir Solonari, University of Central Florida
Willard Sunderland, University of Cincinnati
Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan, University of Chicago Emeritus
William Taubman, Amherst College
Stanislav Tkachenko, St. Petersburg State University
Daniel Todes, Johns Hopkins University
Maria N. Todorova, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Andrei Tsygankov, San Francisco State University
Carol R. Ueland, Drew University
Katherine Verdery, Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Lynne Viola, University of Toronto
Amir Weiner, Stanford University
Richard Wortman, Columbia University
Francis Wcislo, Vanderbilt University
Robert Weinberg, Swarthmore College
Paul Werth, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Stephen White, University of Glasgow, UK
Charters Wynn, University of Texas
Sergei Zhuravlev, Institute of Russian History, RAS

15 thoughts on “Russia Scholars Reply to ASEEES 'Detailed Clarification' Regarding Cohen-Tucker Fellowship Controversy

  1. What a shame! I guess in 1930-ies these academicians would be happy to get a fellowship in German studies sponsored by Hitler and his ardent partisans. And even would argue that this is completely fair and non-political decision.

    • The guidelines for comments on this site indicate that they should not “degrade others” and comparison with Hitler might surely be considered an attempt, however clumsy, to degrade Professor Cohen. The comment has been approved, however, in the interest of erring on the side of freedom of expression. That said, I should emphasize that any comparison between a highly distinguished senior American scholar with controversial views on foreign policy and Hitler and the Nazis is so ridiculously absurd and hateful that it serves in fact to demonstrate precisely where the kind of closed-minded and censorious attitudes with which Cohen has been dealing actually lead. Shame, indeed!

    • Dmitry, yours is a pointless comment, doing nothing to promote conversation. I am curious, though: Why did you make it? What is your real concern? Is this a question relating to your own political inclinations? What led you to post something that can only stop discussion?

    • I think, Dmitry, that you have run afoul of Godwin’s law. Your comment won’t mean much to someone like me, who finds Cohen persuasive, unless you can back up your accusation with something concrete. I might add that it is ironic that you compare Cohen with a fascist enabler given that much of the Ukrainian junta is made up of real, live, flesh and blood Nazis.

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