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A 2015-2016 William Prize for best essay in East Asian Studies was awarded to Frances Chan (Timothy Dwight College '16) for her essay submitted to the Department of History, “How Liberal Korean and Taiwanese Textbooks Portray their Countries’ “Economic Miracles”.” (Peter C. Perdue, Professor of History, advisor.)

Frances Chan’s essay “How Liberal Korean and Taiwanese Textbooks Portray their Countries’ “Economic Miracles,” is a fascinating exploration of the creation of historical memory as seen in textbooks on the history of postwar economic development in Korea and Taiwan. Drawing on her remarkable linguistic skills in both Korean and Chinese, she compares how high-school textbooks from the two countries portray the similar processes of high speed economic growth. Each country emphasized different aspects of its development, with the Taiwan historians stressing the importance of small businesses and foreign aid, while the Korean historians focused more on the unequal effects of state policies and the strengthening of Korean national identity. She makes creative use of graphs, photographs, maps, and cartoon to develop her arguments, making this an engaging multimedia essay as well as an incisive historiographical analysis.