MGR Student Prize


The New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS) encourages the development of the skills of scholarly writing by awarding annual prizes for excellent student papers dealing with Asia. Two such prizes are awarded each year, one to an undergraduate student and one to a graduate student. Runners-up are named in each category.

The prizes honor the outstanding service of Dr. Marleigh Grayer Ryan, former Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Professor of Japanese Literature, and Coordinator of Asian Studies at SUNY New Paltz; and longtime Executive Secretary of NYCAS.

2020 Competition Information

Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students at a college or university in New York State.

Field: East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Asia in diaspora, and Asian American studies.

Awards: The First Prize winners in the Undergraduate and Graduate categories each will receive a $100 prize; up to $200 reimbursement for travel and expenses to attend the NYCAS 2020 Annual Meeting; and a waiver of the NYCAS 2020 registration fee, including conference meals at the NYCAS meeting.

The Graduate Paper Prize winner will receive a complimentary one-year membership to the Association for Asian Studies and will be eligible to participate on a panel sponsored by the AAS Council on Conferences at the AAS annual meeting.

The Runner-up/Honorable Mention winners each will receive a waiver of the NYCAS 2020 registration fee, including conference meals at the NYCAS meeting.

The winning papers will be published on the NYCAS website and considered for presentation in a panel at the NYCAS meeting.

Format of papers: Papers should include a cover page giving the title of the paper, the student’s name, category, institution, and contact information (including current email and permanent mailing address).

Submission of papers: A student may submit only one entry. Papers may be submitted by the student author or by a faculty member acting on behalf of a student. A faculty member may not provide any evaluative comments at the time of nomination.

Papers should be submitted by email attachment only. Include an abstract of up to 150 words. Undergraduate papers are limited to 40 pages. Graduate papers are limited to 60 pages.

A submitted paper should stand alone and not be a segment of a larger work, such as a Senior Thesis, Masters’ Thesis, or Doctoral Dissertation.

Please include a completed cover sheet with your application. Attach the pdf cover sheet along with your paper in your submission email.

Entry deadline: June 1, 2020

Notification of awards by July 15, 2020

Submit papers by email attachment to:

Professor Tiantian Zheng, Chair

NYCAS Marleigh Grayer Ryan Prize Committee


NYCAS Congratulates the Winners of the 2019 Writing Prize Competition!

Graduate Prize Winner

Adrienne Lee Atterberry

Syracuse University

“Schooling within a Transnational Context: Examining Indian American Return Migrants’ K-12 School-Choice Decisions”

Abstract. This article examines how high-skilled, return migrant parents navigate K-12 educational options in India by answering the following research question:  How does where they anticipate their children going for college affect where parents decide to educate their children for high school?  Through analyzing interviews with parents from 34 different families, I argue that return migrants make K-12 school-choice decisions that facilitate the transfer of migration-specific capital to their children by ensuring they have the skills necessary to flexibly navigate a competitive, globalized labor market.  However, due to nation-states’ regulations regarding who can be considered a full citizen, parents face challenges in accessing higher education, which hampers their ability to pass along migration-specific capital.  In response, this article argues that jus nexi citizenship may serve as a way to remedy this situation for transnational Indian American youth, their families, and other similarly-situated persons.

Keywords. School choice; Indian Americans; Return Migrants; Citizenship

Graduate Honorable Mention Winner

None awarded.

Undergraduate Prize Winner

Jordan Flanagan

St. Lawrence University

“Memories Clashing: Analyzing Historical Memories of Support and Conflict Between Vietnam and Cambodia Surrounding the 1979-1989 Vietnamese Occupation of Cambodia”

Abstract. Between 1979 and 1989, Vietnam occupied neighboring Cambodia after a successful invasion to overthrow the brutal Khmer Rouge regime ruling the country. The Khmer Rouge, the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, reigned from 1975-1979. Pol Pot led an oppressive government, isolating the country from the world, forcing people onto collectives and communes, abolishing currency, and murdering over one million people. Anyone thought to be an intellectual was killed, thus people who knew foreign languages or wore glasses became targets of the regime. When the regime took over in 1975, it was to be considered “Year Zero” in Cambodia’s new rural and classless society, and the country was renamed Democratic Kampuchea (DK). Almost one in five people living in Cambodia at the time is believed to have died as a result of Cambodian genocide (Taylor). Thus, the Vietnamese invasion rescued the Cambodian people from the cruelty and horror of the Khmer Rouge.

Yet, to say the people of these two countries have pleasant or mutually supportive relations would be far from accurate. In the years that followed Vietnamese occupation, there were waves of anti-Vietnamese sentiments in Cambodia that threatened the minority of ethnic Vietnamese living in the country. The persecution of ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia is conflictual with Vietnam’s aid to the nation. This paper explores whether Cambodians were too quick to forget all of the work that Vietnam did to save and rebuild the country, or whether the Vietnamese were too quick to forget its complex relationship with Cambodians that preceded the occupation. In either sense, it seems that memory is quite a powerful tool in international relations that is unwavering and motivating in its nature.

Undergraduate Honorable Mention Winner

None awarded.