BACS Early Career Researcher Prize Winner 2023

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2023 BACS Early Career Researcher Prize!


Winner Aixia Huang, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Chaired and co-ordinated by BACS Council members Christopher Foster and Patricia Thornton, the Early Career Researcher Prize has run again this year, with prize money doubled to £500. BACS thanks to Chris and Tia for their hard work. Tia will run the competition singlehandedly next year.

We received 18 submissions this year, of very high quality. All were sent out for independent review and scoring by two reviewers. One essay received a perfect score. So, the winner of this year’s Early Career Researcher Prize for the best essay is Aixia Huang of SOAS for their essay “Trans-gender Things: Objects and the Materiality of Trans-femininity in Ming-Qing China.”


From the reviews:

“The paper is a bold and…original contribution, in its argument for the central role of culturally-specific objects in transgender history, deployed here with the specific aim of moving beyond “an umbrella, essentialist ‘transgender’ identity derived from a Eurocentric context or other related progressivist and transnormative frameworks for subject formation.” It advances the conversation in a number of areas of late imperial Chinese studies, including literature and material culture studies as well as gender history and social history… [and has] the potential to be of interest to a much wider audience than that encompassed by the BACS constituency alone.”


“This paper offers a novel and deeply interesting analysis of how the ordering and use of specific objects functioned as a gendering force in late imperial China, and, therefore, how gender-crossing could be and was achieved by transgender women … during the Ming and Qing.”