HREC’s 2022 Conquest Prize in Holodomor Studies has been awarded to Dr. Oksana Kis for her article “Women’s Experience of the Holodomor: Challenges and Ambiguities of Motherhood,” published in Journal of Genocide Research (2021). The prize is awarded on a biennial basis to the author of an outstanding article that contributes to a fuller understanding of the Holodomor.


Oksana Kis is a historian and anthropologist with expertise in Ukrainian women’s history, feminist anthropology, oral history, and gender transformations in post-socialist countries. Historian Lynne Viola, a member of the Prize jury, commented, “Professor Kis has written a truly ground-breaking article on the Ukrainian famine. Her work is among the few to explore women’s experiences during the Holodomor. Her interdisciplinary approach makes this article a contribution of the highest order.”


Stanford University’s Norman Naimark commented, “Dr. Kis not only fills an important gap in the literature on the Holodomor by writing about the special place of women in Holodomor history and narratives but does so in nuanced, careful, and suggestive ways. She focuses on Ukrainian mothers and children, and how the women faced the traumatic realities of the starving village. Her comparisons with the Holocaust and the extreme hardships of Jewish mothers in attempting to feed their children produces interesting and instructive comparisons and contrasts with the Ukrainian experience.” 


Dr. Kis is the author of two books: Zhinka v tradytsiinii ukrainskii kulturi druhoi polovyny 19 – pochatku 20 stolittia and Ukrainky v Gulagu: vyzhyty znachyt peremohty (Ukrainian Women in the Gulag: Survival as Victory). The latter was included on a list of the thirty most important Ukrainian books published since independence and received the Translated Book Prize from the Peterson Literary Fund in 2021.


She is head of the Department of Social Anthropology (Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Lviv), President of the Ukrainian Association for Research in Women’s History, co-founder of the Ukrainian Oral History Association; an editor of Aspasia: The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History, and former editor-in-chief of the academic website Ukraina Moderna. Dr. Kis is a past recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, Shklar Research Fellowship, Petro Jacyk Visiting Professorship, Stuart Ramsay Tompkins Professorship, and Petro Jacyk Research Fellowship. She has taught at Columbia University, University of Alberta, Ukrainian Free University, Ukrainian Catholic University, and Ivan Franko National University. Her current research focuses on the lives of Ukrainian refugees in displaced persons camps in post-WWII Europe.


The Conquest Prize in Holodomor Studies honours historian Robert Conquest, author of the ground-breaking work The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, which marked a watershed in the study of the Holodomor at the time of its publication in 1986.