2021 Yaro Skalnik Prize Winner: Jacob Bell



Congratulations to Jacob Bell (PhD Candidate in History) for winning the Best Graduate Student Essay in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies for his paper “Soul-Brothers, Androphiles, and Eunuchs by Nature: Homosociability and Same-Sex Desire in Byzantine and Rous’ian Religious Communities.” His prize includes an official certificate as well as an award of $250.

In its citation, the Skalnik Prize Committee writes:

The Skalnik Prize committee was impressed by Jacob’s careful, scholarly approach to hagiographic sources. He uses these texts to reveal a vocabulary (semantic and spatial) of same-sex desire in Byzantium and Rous’. Bell’s close textual analysis breaks new interpretive ground on medieval Christianity. In view of the tremendous research evident throughout this seminar paper, the committee found it very hard to believe the essay was not drawn from a dissertation. Jacob’s work is profoundly in dialogue with current scholarship on the history of sexuality, even as it skillfully uses utilizes textual support from sources that Bell translates himself. It is an illustrative and incisive work.