2017 Yu Ying-shih Prize for Humanities Research Fellowship Awarded
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Folie à Millions: Imagining Mental Disorders in the Age of Scientific Internationalism by Harry Yi-rui Wu is named among the 2017 Yu Ying-shih Prize for Humanities Research for Monographic Book Prize. Wu, now an assistant professor in medical ethics and humanities at University of Hong Kong, used to be a resident doctor in psychiatry in Taipei. His career turned unexpectedly when he went to UK for further studies. His book discusses scientists making up a mental illness for the sake of peace during World War II. The jury's report praised his work as unprecedented, “involving medical humanities, policy making and practical application.”

Wu and other awardees, including the winners of Doctoral Thesis Prize, were presented with a trophy from Chin-shing Huang, Vice President of the Academia Sinica, at the award ceremony at Institute of History and Philology on December 28th. Each awardees will also receive a cheque (NT$360,000 for Monographic Book Prize; NT$240,000 for Doctoral Thesis Prize) and a souvenir. The awarded works span across diverse fields including archeology and architecture design, said Dr. Huang. With the recognition and support from the Yu Ying-shih Prize for Humanities Research, the awardees are expected to move forward in their studies.

While Wu’s book opens a new page in medical humanities research in our time, Russian influence on political and cultural development is certainly no news.

Hsiang-yin Sasha Chen, an associate research fellow at the Academia Sinica, also earned a place in the Monographic Book Prize. Chen’s book, Russia as Master and Monster: The Literary Experiment of Lu Xun, Qu Qiubai and Cao Yu in Transcultural Practices, investigated how the waves of Russian culture left marks on these household names in Chinese literature in early 20th century. Chen’s book carefully reviewed the intertwined relationships across different cultures and disciplines beyond their predefined borders, locating pieces of the puzzle into place. Upon receiving the prize, Chen expressed her admiration to Yu Ying-shih as a role model that guides younger generation especially in pursuit of knowledge in the time when the world is unstable, restless. With the financial support, Chen will travel to Russia and Japan and inspect some rare written document.

Another awardee in the Monographic Book Prize is Hsin-yi Lin at National Taiwan Normal University. Lin’s studies revisited a period when Taiwan, known as Formosa in the 19th century, witnessed profound transformation. Lin put herself in a foreigner’s shoes and then looked back to the island from a new angle.

Not only the social phenomenon may repeat itself, but pressing issues in modern human resource management are likely to find answers in a 900-year-old official record.

Doctoral Thesis Prize went to Hsiu-ping Lee, Yen-yi Chan, and Huei-lan Xiong. Xiong’s study is a registration book dated back to the Southern Song Dynasty in the 12th century. This document detailed the education background and career development of these rising stars in government bodies. Xiong systematically reviewed the entries in this talent directory and deciphered the recruitment policy and the tactics of nourishing the nation’s civil servants.

Across the sea, Kōfukuji Nan'endō at Nara, Japan, a Buddhist temple constructed in the 7th century, took the stage of Chan’s thesis. From formal history record to local anecdotes, Chan distilled information from various source materials. “Her perspective in Buddhist culture is refreshing,” said the jury's report. Historical building renovation in Taiwan was also in Chan’s interest. The prize will allow Chan to commit further field research in Japan.

Back to mainland China and rewinding to prehistoric time, sometimes smaller might be better.

Lee’s awarded thesis focused on “proper Erlitou Culture” at Henan, central part of China, which is not the commonly known Erlitou Culture that has a much larger geological coverage. By narrowing down the physical scale of Erlitou Culture, Lee is able to see a different picture of the interregional interactions of that time.

Mr. Yu Ying-shih was awarded the inaugural Tang Prize in Sinology, and Yu used the Tang Prize research grant to establish Yu Ying-shih Prize for Humanities Research. The Tang Prize Foundation has commissioned the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, to implement the project. The prize is awarded annually for the period between 2015 and 2020, in aim of providing financial support to young scholars. The application number grew year by year, and the applicants came from all over the world. This year, one of the Doctoral Thesis Prize awardees, Huei-lan Xiong, is based in the Netherlands.

Congratulations to all the 2017 awardees and thanks to all the applicants. Their hard work will not go without notice. Some of the former winners will have their awarded titles in print in the near future. No matter looking back or forward, humanities research should continue to thrive.

2017 Yu Ying-shih Prize for Humanities Research full list of awardees and their named works:

  • Monographic Book Prize:

Harry Yi-rui Wu (Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Humanities, Li Ka-Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong)∕Folie à Millions: Imagining Mental Disorders in the Age of Scientific Internationalism

Hsin-yi Lin (Assistant Professor, Department of History, National Taiwan Normal University)∕A Foreigner’s History of Taiwan: Old Taiwan Hands’ Shaping of Formosan Knowledge and the year of 1895

Hsiang-yin Sasha Chen (Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinca)∕Russia as Master and Monster: The Literary Experiment of Lu Xun, Qu Qiubai and Cao Yu in Transcultural Practices

  •  Doctoral Thesis Prize:

Hsiu-ping Lee (PhD. Candidate, Costen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA)∕Erlitou and Its Neighbors: Contextualizing Interregional Interaction in the Central Yellow River Region in the Early Bronze Age China (ca. 1750-1550 BCE)

Yen-yi Chan (PhD. Candidate, Department of Art History, The University of Kansas)∕The Kōfukuji Nan'endō and Its Buddhist Icons from the Ninth through Twelfth Centuries: Placing Memories and History of the Northern Fujiwara Clan

Huei-lan Xiong (PhD. Candidate, Institute for Area Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands)∕The Imperial Library and Its Role of Nurturing Talent for Governance: Rethinking the Political Culture during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279)