Palais Prize

James B. Palais Book Prize

The James B. Palais Prize of the Association for Asian Studies was initiated by the Palais Prize committee headed by AAS President Robert Buswell in 2008-09. The Palais Prize is given annually to an outstanding scholar of Korean studies from any discipline or country specialization to recognize distinguished scholarly work on Korea.


The Palais Prize carries a $1,000 cash award.

Guidelines for Submission

  • There are no citizenship or residence requirements for nominees.
  • Authors need not be AAS members.
  • Any original, scholarly, nonfiction work with a copyright date of 2021 or 2022 is eligible for the 2024 Palais Prize.
  • Reference works, exhibition catalogs, translations, textbooks, collections of previously published essays, poetry, fiction, travel books, memoirs or autobiographies are not eligible.
  • Publishers must complete the book nomination form. Each press may nominate a maximum of six books for the Palais Prize.
  • 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 “James B. Palais Prize,” must be sent to each member of the committee.


The nomination deadline has passed. Award recipients will be announced in early 2024.

Palais Prize Committee

Heonik Kwon (Chair)
University of Cambridge

Ksenia Chizhova
Princeton University

Sungyun Lim
University of Colorado

2023 Awards

Winner and Citation

Hwasook Nam, Women in the Sky: Gender and Labor in the Making of Modern Korea (Cornell University Press)

Hwasook Nam’s Women in the Sky powerfully demonstrates that women factory workers—who had long been either described as passive victims or rarely visible in existing scholarship—indeed have tirelessly struggled against both patriarchal social order and labor exploitation, from the colonial era to the present. Through her riveting portrayal of gendered struggle, Nam challenges the longstanding male-dominated political narrative of Korean labor, democracy, and nation-building. Deftly written and meticulously researched, Women in the Sky compels an urgent reckoning with how gender has always been and continues to be the foundational crucible in which a “modern Korea” has been forged.  

Honorable Mention

Past Awards

James B. Palais Book Prize

2010 Sem Vermeersch, The Power of the Buddhas: The Politics of Buddhism during the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392)

2011 Hwasook Nam, Building Ships, Building a Nation: Korea’s Democratic Unionism under Park Chung Hee

2012 Eleana J. Kim, Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging

2013 Suk-Young Kim, Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film and Everyday Performance in North Korea

2014 Theodore Hughes, Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea: Freedom’s Frontier

2015 Suzy Kim, Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution: 1945-1950

2016 Steven Chung, Split Screen Korea: Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema

2017 Jisoo Kim, The Emotions of Justice: Gender, Status, and Legal Performance in Choson Korea

2018 Youngju  Ryu, Writers of the Winter Republic: Literature and Resistance in Park Chung Hee’s Korea

2019 Eunjung Kim, Curative Violence: Rehabilitating Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in Modern Korea

2020 Yoon Sun Yang, From Domestic Women to Sensitive Young Men: Translating the Individual in Early Colonial Korea

2021 Monica Kim, The Interrogation Rooms of the Korea War: The Untold History

2022 Heonik KwonAfter the Korean War: An Intimate History