Dao has established “The Annual Best Essay Award” since 2007. The editorial board has just finished its deliberation on the best essay published in 2021, and the award is given to:
Benoit Vermander, “Edit by Number: Looking at the Composition of the Huainanzi, and Beyond.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 20 (2021): 459-498
Via a hermeneutics focused on numerology and concentric arrangements, the essay, which demonstrates familiarity with the germane historiography, literature, and theoretical apparatuses, offers an original construal of a textual universe in early China writings. Instead of taking for granted the organization and configuration, or the absence thereof, of these texts, it argues that there is a structural rhetoric. With particular reference to the Huainanzi, it lays bare the discernible and distinguishable patterns of textual composition while relating them to corresponding patterns of thinking. In so doing, it suggests the possibility and importance of looking beyond the writings’ intertextuality and toward their inter-structure.
The two runners-up are:
Yutang Jin, “Classic Confucian Thought and Political Meritocracy: A Text-based Critique.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 20 (2021): 433-458, and
Ian Sullivan, “The Need for More than Role Relations: Queer Lives, Social Group Identities, and Confucian Self-cultivation.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 20 (2021): 269-287
Springer has set the above three essays for free access.
In addition to a certificate of achievement, the award comes along with a prize of US$1,000. The award winners will be noted in the website of the journal as well as the website of Springer, the publisher of the journal. The award ceremony is held each year at the American Philosophical Association Annual Meeting (Eastern Division) in early January, where a special panel on the theme of the award-winning essay is held. The critical comments and the author’s responses to them presented at the panel, after review and revision, will be published in the last issue of Dao each year.
The selection process consists of two stages. First, a nominating committee of at three editorial members, who have not published in Dao in the given year, is established. This committee is charged with the task of nominating three best essays from all those published in the previous year. These three essays are then sent to the whole editorial board for deliberation. The final winner is decided by a vote by all editorial board members who are not authors of the nominated essays.