Jennifer Carroll wins the 2020 Barbara Heldt Book Prize

The Heldt Prize is awarded annually to the best book in Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian studies from any academic discipline.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Jennifer Carroll

Dr. Jennifer J. Carroll, assistant professor of anthropology at Elon, has been selected as the winner of the 2020 Barbara Heldt Prize for best book in any area of Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian studies for her 2019 monograph “Narkomania: Drugs, HIV, and Citizenship in Ukraine.”

This distinction was awarded at the annual membership meeting for the Association for Women in Slavic Studies, which is dedicated to the promotion of research and teaching in Slavic, East European and Eurasian women’s, gender and sexuality studies, and to the support of scholars who identify as women or LGBTQIA.

The prize committee offered the following commendation of Carroll’s work:

Jennifer Carroll’s, Narkomania is an important contribution to the study of Ukrainian social and political development and a testamentto the power of ethnographic research to illuminate multiple, interweaved meanings in a complicated social situation–drug addiction and its treatment in post-soviet Ukraine.  Carroll’s book will become standard reading in qualitative and ethnographic methods classes.

Beginning her research in 2007 and continuing on and off over the next decade, Carroll crafted a research project which examined drug use in Ukraine, its medication-assisted treatment regime (MAT), clinics, clients, and practitioners, and how nongovernmental organizations, like the Global Fund, subverted local and governmental functions to pursue neoliberal agendas and set unrealistic expectations on the clinics and Ukraine’s Ministry of Health.  

Cover design for the book Narkomania
“Narkomania: Drugs, HIV, and Citizenship in Ukraine,” by Jennifer J. Carroll

Yet, this is more than a story of addicts and their treatment. As domestic and international conflict escalated in Ukraine, Carroll adapted the study’s scope and premise to incorporate the events of the Euromaidan revolution, the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, and the Russian-backed separatist insurgency in Donbass to examine how Ukraine, during the 2010s, discursively excluded addicts’ presence and claim to citizenship. By linking addiction, national identity, and state building, Carroll demonstrates how “othering” addicts by the state and its citizenry developed into a shared belief, “addiction imaginary,” that the state needed to protect the nation from addicts. Especially illuminating is how Ukrainians deployed fear of addicts in the discourses around Euromaidan movement and the crises in Crimea and Donbass.

As Michele Rivkin-Fish, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill notes, “Exposing the moralized judgments dogging drug users, Narkomania details the brutal modes of exclusion being deployed to redefine Ukraine’s body politic. Jennifer J. Carroll both explains the origins and uses of this ‘addiction imaginary,’ and counters it with a profoundly humanizing portrait of the lives and fates of Ukrainians who use drugs.”

Narkomania’s intellectual scope and breadth and engagement with the field of medical anthropology, domestic and global health policy, ethnography, international relations, and contemporary national and regional politics is why the prize committee picked it for this year’s Heldt prize for best book by a woman in any area of Slavic, East European, Eurasian Studies.  

More information about the award can be found on the AWSS website.