UNC-Chapel Hill master’s and doctoral alumnus Louis Howard Porter has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Robert C. Tucker/Stephen F. Cohen Dissertation Prize.
The Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) presents the annual award, which recognizes “an outstanding English-language doctoral dissertation in Soviet or Post-Soviet politics and history in the tradition practiced by Robert C. Tucker and Stephen F. Cohen.” The prize, sponsored by the KAT Charitable Foundation, will be presented at the ASEEES Annual Convention award ceremony on Nov. 25.
Porter received his doctoral degree in history in 2018. His dissertation is titled “Cold War Internationalisms: The USSR in UNESCO, 1945-1967.”
His research examines the participation of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 1945 to 1967. UNESCO was founded in 1945.
“Drawing on over a year of research during which I examined declassified but unused archival documents in Moscow and at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, I detail the stories of Soviet citizens who went to UNESCO international academic conferences, worked as UNESCO experts in developing countries, read UNESCO publications and worked in the UNESCO bureaucracy,” Porter said.
“I conclude that these various kinds of involvement in UNESCO led many Soviet citizens to become advocates for making the USSR a better partner in international cooperation through international organizations. Thus, even though UNESCO did not ‘solve’ the Cold War through its policies, it helped open up the Soviet Union to the outside world after Stalin’s death in 1953.”
The Tucker/Cohen Dissertation Prize has a $5,000 award, to help the honoree prepare their dissertation for publication. Porter, who teaches classes on Russian history at UNC-Chapel Hill, is currently writing a book based on his dissertation.