At the 1985 annual meeting in Washington, D. C., the CSA adopted a motion by Stanley Winters to create an award to be given every two years for an outstanding article published by a member of the Czechoslovak History Conference, now the Czechoslovak Studies Association. It was later determined to name the award in honor of Stanley Z. Pech.

2016 PECH PRIZE WINNER (Articles published in 2014-2015)

For the 2016 competition, the committee received numerous submissions in English and Czech from multiple disciplines, among them history, literature, political science and anthropology. The submissions represented works by experienced and young scholars who investigated Czech and Slovak topics from the perspective of culture, religion, gender, ethnicity and ecology.

This year's prize goes to David Z. Scheffel, for his "Belonging and Domesticated Ethnicity in Velky Saris, Slovakia" Romani Studies 5, Vol. 25, No. 2 (2015), 115-149. Online access

David Scheffel's investigation into the Roma minority of Velky Saris complicates traditional understandings of historic Slovak-Roma relations. He makes an original, outstanding contribution to area scholarship and to a more nuanced understanding of Roma-Slovak relations. Particularly striking is his use of the concepts of inclusion, integration and belonging as Roma operated in the Velky Saris community over the past century, from the interwar republic to the post-communist Slovak state. Working with a decade of engaged fieldwork respectful of the subjects/Romani, the author argues that, rather than complying reflexively with administrative censures against their Roma neighbors, local citizens and authorities treated the minority differentially, accepting some as contributing members of their society and, thus, fellow Velky Sarisans. While certainly not enjoying "equal status" with Slovaks, the Roma in this eastern Slovak town were remarkably protected by local townspeople from discriminatory state diktats and even deportation during successive government regimes. Scheffel traces twentieth and twenty-first century Slovak-Roma relations in Velky Saris to uncover the significant input and influence that local Roma contributed to the town's community. He also highlights the divisions among the local Roma themselves, between those who live in settlements (Billovci), and the local, "town" Roma, where distinctions played out in terms of culture, class, and language: "As far as the town Roma are concerned, the Bi­llovci possess all the characteristics of an undesirable underclass that gives decent Gypsies a bad name. They accuse them of disorderly public conduct [robia bordel], excessive drinking, and an inability to speak proper Slovak."

These numerous stories and vignettes, witty, lucid and engaging style, and investment into written and oral sources are what make this essay a "must-read" for area scholars who wish to probe deeper into the historic ties between Roma and their local Slovak communities, exploring ways peripheral communities such as the Roma can make claims for belonging.

Prize committee:
Carol Leff Skalnik, University of Illinois
Anna Hajkova, University of Warwick
Marty Manor Mullins, Independent Scholar


The next Pech Prize competition will be held in 2018, accepting articles published in 2016 and 2017. The committee will be announced in March 2018.

The rules for the award are:

1. The amount of the prize shall be determined by the President of the Czechoslovak Studies Association with the concurrence of the Executive Committee within three months after the biennial election of officers.

2. Essays submitted shall have been published or accepted for publication in a professional journal or a volume of essays and shall deal with topics of the peoples of Czechoslovakia within and without its historical boundaries.

3. Other things being equal, the prize judges shall give preference to essays by recent Ph.D.s over others.

4. Candidates for the prize may be identified by author self nomination, submission by a Czechoslovak Studies Association member, or by members of the Stanley Z. Pech Prize Committee, with the criterion for eligibility being the author's membership in the Czechoslovak Studies Association.

5. The President of the Czechoslovak Studies Association shall, within three months of his/her election, appoint a Prize Committee of three members, including one member that he/she shall designate as chairperson, which Committee shall evaluate the submitted essays and transmit their decision to the President for announcement and presentation of the Prize at the next annual meeting of the Czechoslovak Studies Association.

6. One prize only shall be awarded and the name of the recipient shall be the only one to be made public, subject to the decision of the Committee.


Thomas Ort, "Cubism's Sex: Masculinity and Czech Modernism, 1911-1914 ," Austrian History Yearbook Vol.44, 2013.

Tara Zahra, "Imagined Noncommunities: National Indifference as a Category of Analysis," Slavic Review Vol. 69, No.1 (Spring, 2010): 93-119.

Paulina Bren, "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...Is the West the Fairest of Them All?: Czechoslovak Normalization and Its (Dis)contents," Kritika 9, no. 4 (2008): 831-854.

Sheilagh Ogilvie, "'So that Every Subject Knows How to Behave': Social Disciplining in Early Modern Bohemia," Comparative Studies in Society & History, vol. 48, no. 1 (January 2006): 38-78.

Peter Bugge, "The Making of a Slovak City The Czechoslovak Renaming of Pressburg/Pozsony/Presporok, 1918-1919," Austrian History Yearbook 35 (2004): 205-227.

Bruce R. Berglund, "Building a Church for a New Age: The Search for a Modern Catholic Art in Turn-of-the-century Central Europe," Centropa, vol. 3 no. 3 (September 2003): 225-240.

Katherine David-Fox, "Prague-Vienna, Prague-Berlin: The Hidden Geography of Czech Modernism" in Slavic Review, 59, no. 4 (Winter 2000) 735-760.

Karl F. Bahm, "Beyond the Bourgeoisie: Rethinking Nation, Culture and Modernity in Nineteenth-Century Central Europe," in Austrian History Yearbook, 29, part 1 (1998) 19-35.
and Igor Lukes, "The Slansky Affair: New Evidence," in Slavic Review, 58, no. 1 (Spring 1999) 160-187.

Anna Drabek, "Die Frage der Unterrichtssprache im Konigreich Bohmen im Zeitalter der Aufklarung" in Osterreichische Osthelfte vol.38 (1996): 329-355.

Claire Nolte, "Our Brothers Across the Ocean: The Czech Sokol in America to 1914," in Czechoslovak and Central European Journal 2, no. 2 (Winter 1993) 15-37.

Hillel Kieval, "The Social Vision of Bohemian Jews: Intellectuals and Community in the 1840s" in Jonathan Frankel and Steven J. Zipperstein , eds., Assimilation and Community: The Jews in Nineteenth-Century Europe, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Owen V. Johnson, "Newspapers and Nation-building: The Slovak Press in Pre-1918 Slovakia," in Hans Lemberg et al, eds., Bildungsgeschichte, Bevalkerungsgeschichte: Gesellschaftsgeschichte in den Bohmischen Landern und Europa, Vienna: Verlag fur Geschichte und Politik, 1988, pp. 160-78.

Kevin F. McDermott, "Dependence or Independence? Relations between the Red Unions and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, 1922-1929," in Stanislav J. Kirschbaum, ed., East European History: Selected Papers of the Third World Congress for Soviet and East European Studies, Columbus, OH: Slavica Publishers, 1988, pp. 157-83.