2024 Early Career Researcher Prize

The British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS) invites early career researchers to submit an original research paper for consideration for the 2024 BACS Early Career Researcher Prize.

The research paper can be on any arts, humanities or social sciences topic on traditional or modern China, broadly conceived. All submissions must involve original research on China or Chinese language sources, and engage with relevant academic literature in Chinese Studies.

Founded in 1976, BACS is a non-political organisation which aims to encourage and promote Chinese studies in the United Kingdom, in particular, by organising conferences, lectures, seminars and other appropriate activities, by disseminating information, and by encouraging co-operation among persons and organisations concerned with the study of China.

The British Association for Chinese Studies Early Career Researcher Prize, which is kindly supported by the Universities’ China Committee in London, was established in 2016 to:

  • stimulate new research in arts, humanities and social sciences on traditional and modern China;
  • recognise excellence in the field of Chinese Studies;
  • promote early career researchers in the field.

Previous prize winners include Dr Angela Becher (University of Liverpool). Dr Denise Kwan (UWE Bristol), Dr Kailing Xie (University of Warwick), Dr Pamela Hunt (University of Oxford), and Dr Coraline Jortay (University of Oxford).

The prize
The winner will receive:

  • a cash prize of £500;
  • reimbursement of travel costs to the 2024 BACS conference;
  • additional guidance in editing the essay for submission to a peer-reviewed academic journal in the form of written feedback from our judges;
  • mention on the BACS website, on BACS social media, and in the BACS Bulletin.

How to enter

Entries of between 7,000-10,000 words should be submitted to The e-mail subject heading must clearly state that the paper is for the Early Career Researcher Prize and be accompanied by a letter from the entrant’s home institution confirming their status and/or a certificate confirming PhD award date.

All entries will go through anonymous peer review by judges consisting of established scholars in the field. The winner will be selected from all entries by the judges from the pool of papers submitted.

The deadline is midnight Saturday 29 February 2024.

Entrants should read the Competition Rules for full details of the terms and conditions of the prize.

Any queries should be directed to

Previous winners

2023: Aixia Huang. ‘Trans-gender things: Objects and the materiality of trans-femininity in Ming-Qing China.’ Gender & History, 34:1 (2024)

2022: Fei Huang. ‘Stay-at-home Fathers in Contemporary Chinese TV Drama.’ British Journal of Chinese Studies, 13.1 (2023), 1-21.

2021: Coraline Jortay. ‘Reclaiming Rubbish: Feiwu at the Intersection of Gender, Class, and Disability in Xiao Hong’s Market Street and Field of Life and Death.’ British Journal of Chinese Studies, 12.1 (2022), 1-19.

2020: Angela Becher. ‘The Digital Illusion: New Media Artists Exploring the Phenomenology of Space.’ British Journal of Chinese Studies, 11 (2021), 114-134.

2018: Kwan, Denise. ‘Dressing Up, Dressing Down! Situating Identities and Negotiating Otherness Through the Bodies of British Chinese Women.’ British Journal of Chinese Studies, 9.1 (2019), 117-159.

Following the retraction of the article by Ros Holmes from the British Journal of Chinese Studies because of evidence of significant breaches of academic conduct, the award has been given to the runner-up, Denise Kwan.

2017:  Kailing Xie.  ‘Premarital Abortion, What is the Harm?  The Responsibilisation of Women’s Pregnancy among China’s “Privileged” Daughters’. British Journal of Chinese Studies, 8:1 (2018): 1-31.

2016:  Pamela Hunt.  ‘Drifting Through the Capital: “Floating” Migrants and Masculinity in Xu Zechen’s Fiction’. Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies 6 (2016): 1-34.

Competition rules

The entry requirements and rules are as follows:

  • The Prize is open to all PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, or other early career researchers, defined for the 2024 Prize as a scholar who received their PhD in or after 2019, who are current BACS members. Entrants must be based at an institution in the United Kingdom or should have received their PhD award from such an institution. Evidence of status is required, e.g. a letter from the entrant’s home institution confirming status there and/or a certificate confirming PhD award date; and evidence of BACS membership (communication with the BACS treasurer about establishing membership at the point of application also accepted).
  • Research papers are to be between 7,000 – 10,000 words, inclusive of all footnotes and references and should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style 17th
  • Permission must be obtained for the reproduction of illustrations.
  • The competition is free to enter and only one entry per person is permitted.
  • All entries must be submitted to Prof Patricia M. Thornton via e-mail at The e-mail subject line must clearly state that it is an entry for the Early Career Researcher Prize and must be accompanied by evidence of early career status (see above).
  • Papers submitted for the British Association for Chinese Studies Early Career Researcher Prize must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  • The closing date for entries will be 29 February 2024 at midnight. Competition entries will go through double-blind peer review, and be scored by peer reviewers based on an additional question about the suitability of the paper for a prize. Where there is a tie, the final winner will be determined by a panel made of BACS Council members. The name of the winner will be announced on the British Association for Chinese Studies website and all submissions will receive feedback from the review process.
  • The decision of the judges will be final and binding, and no correspondence will be entered into about it.
  • The prize for the winner is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and no alternative is offered.
  • There is no runner-up prize.
  • In the unlikely event that, in the judges’ opinion, none of the essays submitted are of the required standard for the award of the prize, it will be offered for new entries the following year.
  • The winner will be notified by email (using the email address provided at entry) in the second week of August. If the winner does not respond to the British Association for Chinese Studies within 7 days of being notified, then the winner’s prize will be forfeited and the British Association for Chinese Studies will be entitled to select another winner.
  • Participants are deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions upon entry. A copy of the terms and conditions can be viewed at The British Association for Chinese Studies reserves the right to refuse entry, or refuse to award the prize to anyone in breach of the terms and conditions.
  • The British Association for Chinese Studies does not accept any responsibility for entries not successfully completed due to a technical fault (including, but not limited to technical malfunction, computer hardware or software failure, satellite, network or server failure) of any kind.
  • The British Association for Chinese Studies reserves the right to hold void, cancel, suspend, or amend the competition if it becomes necessary to do so.