EACS Young Scholar Award (YSA) 2020

On 19th September 2020, the three finalists of the EACS Young Scholar Award presented their lectures to an audience of EACS members and a jury of experts during an online Zoom event.

The YSA jury received 32 submissions of high quality which were subsequently reviewed by both internal and external reviewers. The finalists and their topics were:

Richard Sage (Hong Kong Baptist University)

Liezi’s story about the man who fell ill with forgetfulness through the eyes of Fan Zhixu (?-1129)

Elke Papelitzky (NYU Shanghai)

Shi Shipiao’s map of Southeast Asia: Making a case for maritime trade

Kwok-Fai Law (SOAS, London)

Between resistance and collaboration: Maritime teaboys and the making of working-class political culture in China’s wartime shipping industry, 1937-1941

After the lectures, the jury deliberated and unanimously chose Richard Sage as the winner of the 2020 Young Scholar Award.

In their announcement, the judging panel praised Sage’s paper for directing “our attention to an understudied topic, Daoist commentarial literature in the beginning of the Song period, prior to the period when Neo-Confucianist thought starting dominating the philosophical discourse.” One external reviewer noted that Sage’s paper “… is certainly a prize-worthy piece of scholarship, with the philological expertise and sophistication really being a signature of European Sinology.” The jury members also commended the winner’s treatment of the primary sources and the highly complex structure of the commentary, as well as the very readable translations. “Sage manages to creatively deal with these difficulties and present us with a coherent account of this commentarial text, and contextualize it within Daoist, Confucian, and Buddhist thought during this period.” The jury members were equally impressed by how Sage presented his highly specialized philological research to a general audience in the lecture, including the visualization of the complex structural build-up of the commentary. Contextualizing his material within the early Song period, Sage convincingly analyzes the paradoxical attempt of a high-ranking imperial official to undermine the notion of human cultural achievements by presenting alternative models of dealing with self and society.

The EACS Board and the jury members wish to congratulate all participants in the Young Scholar Award competition, but above all the three finalists for their excellent papers and online lectures.