Editors’ Introduction

We are pleased to start 2018 with a new issue of JBACS. From now on we will be publishing twice per year, making this the first issue of the eighth volume, and marking a slight shift in the way we number the journal to reflect its now regular, biannual character.

JBACS aims to publish the best research in Chinese Studies—a term that may not necessarily reflect the institutional or disciplinary affiliations of our authors. Research in Chinese Studies can address a wide variety of topics and timeframes; it can also employ a wealth of different methodologies. What qualifies something as Chinese Studies research is the centrality of Chinese-language sources, be they written documents, interviews, or images. The new issue presents excellent examples of the diversity of Chinese Studies in the UK.

The issue opens with an article by Kailing Xie, the winner of the 2017 BACS Early Career Researcher Prize. Her article on premarital abortion among China’s “privileged daughters” is based on in-depth interviews and explores attitudes towards premarital sex and abortion in the context of an increasingly sexualized popular culture. Like Pamela Hunt’s winning paper the previous year, her article earned the rare accolade of being “publishable as is”, requiring only the minutest of corrections. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement. William Matthews’s article was the runner-up in the 2017 ECR competition, and constitutes a hugely impressive piece of sinological research on the Yijing. Focusing on hexagram images as two distinct, but interrelated, forms of analogy, and by adopting perspectives from cognitive linguistics and anthropology, Matthews’s article constitutes a significant contribution to the debate about the “correlative cosmology” of the Yijing. It is extremely pleasing to work with such talented early career researchers, and to support them in bringing their publications out so quickly in this way.

These articles are joined by two more pieces that focus on the world of international relations, and China’s place in it. Daniel Hammond’s piece focuses on how China and Southeast Asia are represented in Singapore’s media, focusing on Lianhe zaobao. His research shows that while the Singaporean media reports on China in a positive light regarding bilateral relations, there is a clear willingness to raise awareness of the broader regional challenges of China’s rise. Scott Brown’s article puts the spotlight on the direction of the UK’s China policy since 2010, asking how apt the UK’s previous label of “ideological free trader” remains under the Conservative government.

We also want to alert our readers that the 2018 BACS Early Career Researcher Prize is now open. The prize invites early career researchers to submit an original research paper for consideration. This may be on any arts, humanities or social science topic to do with traditional or modern China, broadly conceived. All submissions must involve original research on China or Chinese-language sources, and engage with relevant academic literature in Chinese Studies. The winner will receive: publication of the winning paper in Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies (JBACS), subject to satisfactory revision according to judging panel recommendations; a cash prize of £250; reimbursement of travel costs to the 2018 annual BACS conference to be held at Kings College London (12-14 September 2018); as well as mention on the BACS website and in the BACS Bulletin. Detailed information has already been circulated via the BACS mailing list and BACS social media accounts; it can also be found here: a http://bacsuk.org.uk/ecr-prize.

JBACS is a double-blind peer-reviewed, fully open access journal, which relies entirely on voluntary work by the editors and peer reviewers. Following the formalisation by the BACS Council of the terms and conditions for JBACS editorship, one editor position is coming up for replacement at the end of this academic year. We will soon send out invitations for an expression of interest to take up the (unpaid) position of editor of JBACS and work alongside the existing editorial team. We are looking for an established academic with substantive experience in reviewing research for journals, academic presses and research funders, and a proven ability to engage with Chinese-language-based research that may come from a wide range of disciplines. Ideally, this person should be based at a UK institution in order to be able to attend editorial meetings, most of which coincide with BACS Council meetings. If you would like to know more before committing a formal expression of interest, you are welcome to contact either of the editors directly.

In order to alleviate the load of the editors, the BACS Council has generously agreed to fund an editorial assistant to support the editors one day a month (eight hours). We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student or post-doc with excellent command of English, who would like to learn about editorial processes by aiding the editors in their correspondence with peer reviewers and authors. Please look out for an advertisement, which will land in your inbox shortly!

And, finally, we welcome your feedback on the journal. If you do have any comments or suggestions for future special issues, please do get in touch.

Gerda Wielander and Sarah Dauncey