Levenson Prize

Joseph Levenson Prize – Pre-1900 and Post-1900

The Merlin Foundation, established by the late Audrey Sheldon, has provided for the two awards, one for works whose main focus is on China before 1900 and the other for works on post-1900 China. The prizes will be awarded to the English-language books that make the greatest contribution to increasing understanding of the history, culture, society, politics, or economy of China. In keeping with the broad scholarly interests of Joseph Levenson, special consideration will be given to books that, through comparative insights or groundbreaking research, promote the relevance of scholarship on China to the wider world of intellectual discourse


The AAS China and Inner Asia Council will offer two $1,000 Joseph Levenson Prizes for nonfiction scholarly books on China published in 2019.

$1,000 – Pre-1900 prize winner

$1,000 – Post-1900 prize winner

Guidelines for Submission

  • Works in all disciplines and in all periods of Chinese history are eligible, but anthologies, edited works, and pamphlets will not be considered.
  • Only books bearing a copyright date of 2019 will be eligible for the 2021 awards.
  • Publishers must complete the book nomination form. Each press may nominate a maximum of three books per Levenson Prize competition (pre-1900 and post-1900 are separate competitions).
  • Only publishers may nominate books.
  • Upon receipt of a completed nomination form, publishers will be provided with addresses for prize committee members. A copy of each entry, clearly labeled “Joseph Levenson Prize,” must be sent to each member of the appropriate committee.


Nominations must be received by June 30, 2020 to be eligible for the 2021 awards.

Pre-1900 Committee

Amy McNair (Chair)
University of Kansas

Yuming He
University of California, Davis

Roberta Wue
University of California, Irvine

Post-1900 Committee

Fabio Lanza (Chair)
University of Arizona

Chun LIN
London School of Economics

Paola Iovene
University of Chicago

2020 Awards

Pre-1900, Honorable Mention

Wen-shing Chou, Mount Wutai: Visions of a Sacred Buddhist Mountain, Princeton University Press
Post-1900, Winner

Sasha Welland, Experimental Beijing: Gender and Globalization in Chinese Contemporary Art, Duke University Press
Post-1900, Honorable Mention (Posthumous)

Gao Hua, How the Red Sun Rose: The Origin and Development of the Yan’an Rectification Movement, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press