Current Awards Announcements

The Arthur L. Basham Medals, 2017

The award ceremony took place in Kiel, Germany, on 11 August 2017. It was awarded to Dr. Shizu SAKAI (Emeritus Professor of Medical History at Juntendo University) and Dr. Judith Farquhar (Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology Emerita and of Social Sciences in the College, Faculty Director of the University of Chicago Center in Beijing).

Charles Leslie Junior Scholar Essay Award, 2016

Di Lu, PhD Candidate, China Center for Health and Humanity, UCL (Advisor Professor Vivienne Lo): “Transnational Circulation of the Knowledge of the Caterpillar Fungus to the Early 20th Century”

This is a fine study of the transnational networks that collaborated in creating knowledge of the caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps sinensis). It relies on extensive primary sources in Chinese, Tibetan, and several European languages as well as a strong conceptual framing using Harold Cook’s arguments about how intertwined global trade was with developments in natural knowledge and science in the early modern period.

Honorable Mention: Mathias Vigouroux, Lecturer, Zhejiang University, School of International Studies: “Shaping New Identities: the Development of Early Modern Japanese Medicine as a Profession”

The first discussion of the topic in a western language, this essay uses extensive primary sources on how Japanese elite physicians in the Edo period (1603-1868) legitimized themselves vis-a-vis their competitors and relates this to broader arguments concerning the medical profession and professionalization in the early modern period.

Description of Awards

Arthur L. Basham Medal

The Arthur L. Basham Medal was instituted by Prof. Paul U. Unschuld during his period as President of IASTAM. The award is intended to preserve the memory of Professor Arthur Llewellyn Basham (1914-1986), co-founder of IASTAM with Prof. Charles Leslie, and to honour his contribution to the field of Asian medicine. It is awarded in recognition of special contributions by IASTAM members to promoting the Association’s goals, such as outstanding studies in the social and cultural history of traditional Asian medicine.

IASTAM’s Constitution specifies that the award is to be made, when so merited, on the occasion of the ICTAM meetings. The medal has so far been awarded to the following outstanding scholars in the field of Asian Medicine:

  • ICTAM IX (2017): Shizu SAKAI & Judith Farquhar
  • ICTAM VIII (2013): Vivienne Lo
  • ICTAM VII (2009): Vincanne Adams
  • ICTAM VI (2006): Narendra Bhatt & Zheng Jinsheng
  • ICTAM V (2002): Dominik Wujastyk
  • ICTAM IV (1994): Patricia and Roger Jeffery & Shigehisa Kuriyama
  • ICTAM III (1990): Jan Meulenbeld & Yamada Keiji

The recipient is presented with a specially-designed medal, and it has also become customary for the recipient, whose name is publically announced at ICTAM, to present a Basham Award Lecture at the ICTAM meeting. The medal normally alternates between Asian and Western scholars.

Charles Leslie Prize

The Charles Leslie prize seeks to honour the work of Charles Leslie and his dedication to IASTAM, and aims to encourage young scholars in the field that he helped to establish. Sadly, Professor Leslie died in 2009. It is hoped that these awards act in some way as a fitting tribute to the man himself, a much-liked and respected colleague, as well as for his outstanding contributions to the field of Asian Medicine. This prize is awarded to the best original, unpublished scholarly essay on Asian medicine submitted to the competition and judged by the IASTAM Council.

The nominee for the award must be a member in good standing of IASTAM, and must fall into any of the following categories:

  • a practitioner of an Asian medical tradition (with fewer than three publications), or
  • a graduate student, or
  • a recent PhD who received his/her doctoral degree fewer than five years prior to the deadline for nomination, or
  • a scholar who is in a contingent faculty position without tenure or long-term contract (e.g., adjunct, one-year visiting scholar, etc.)

There are no age restrictions on entering for this prize. The paper should apply methods from anthropology, history, or any other academic discipline to the critical study of Asian medical systems in context, and from any period up to the present. Manuscripts must be in English. The winning essay will be announced in IASTAM publications and the society website and will be given preferential consideration for publication in the orgnanisation’s journal, Asian Medicine (subject to editorial decision). Please follow the journal style guidelines for the submission. Entries must be received by the president of IASTAM no later than 15 January each year, the winner being announced by 15 May of the same year.

Previous recipients:

  • 2016 Di Lu
  • 2013 Karen McNamara
  • 2009 Soyoung Suh