Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies

The deadline for this program has passed. The description below is for information purposes only. Awardees in the 2020-21 competition will be announced in the spring.      

The Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies, in its ninth year seeks to maintain the vitality of China Studies in North America through fellowships for scholars early in their careers. Studies on and in China have developed over the last 30 years in the United States and Canada into a robust field, but current conditions pose daunting problems, especially for scholars just after the dissertation.

Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowships promote inclusion, equity, and diversity as integral components of merit that enhance the scholarly enterprise. It is a priority that every cohort of Fellows and grantees is broadly inclusive of different backgrounds, cultures, and any aspects that make one unique. In China studies we seek balance in regard to national origin, educational background, and current university affiliation, as well as in disciplinary approaches, topics and historical periods studied.

Early Career Fellowships (formerly “postdoctoral fellowships”), support pre-tenure scholars in the humanities and the humanities-related social sciences who are preparing their PhD dissertations for publication, or who are embarking on new research projects

Fellowships are financially supported by the Henry Luce Foundation with additional funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Early Career fellowships support research and writing with a priority given to proposals based on the applicant's research in China. Research in Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan is eligible. Research may also be conducted on Chinese culture and society outside these areas, as required by the research plan. However, diaspora studies are not eligible (e.g., the history of Chinese in America is not eligible).

Proposals must reflect an understanding of the contemporary Chinese academic and research environment.

Funds are provided for a maxiumum of two consecutive semesters released from teaching (a minimum of one semester), during which the Fellow must devote full time to the project. The stipend will be prorated if the fellowship is undertaken for less than nine months. The fellowship period must begin between June 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022.

  • Amount: up to $50,000
  • Tenure: two consecutive semesters released from teaching; fellowship to begin between June 2021 and September 2022. (Stipends for shorter periods—minimum one semester—will be pro-rated.)
  • Eligibility
    1. An applicant must hold a PhD from an institution in the United States or Canada, OR be a US or Canadian citizen/permanent resident with a PhD from any institution. The PhD degree must be completed by November 2, 2020 (including defense and revisions) and conferred by May 31, 2021. (If the date of conferral is after the application deadline, the application must include an institutional statement attesting that all requirements for the PhD have been fulfilled. Successful applicants will be asked to submit proof of conferral.)
    2. An applicant who is not a US or Canadian citizen/permanent resident must have an affiliation, or a long-term regular research or teaching appointment, with a university or college in the United States or Canada.
    3. An applicant must hold a PhD degree conferred no earlier than January 1, 2012.
    4. Applicants who have obtained tenure, or whose tenure review will be complete before May 31, 2021, are not eligible.
  • Early Career fellowships support research and writing toward a scholarly product in English. 
  • Priority will be given to proposals based on the applicant's research in China. Research in Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan is eligible. In addition, proposals based on research outside these areas will also be considered.
  • A working knowledge of Chinese is required.
  • Stipends may be used for travel, living expenses, and research costs. Other support may be accepted (sabbatical leave or other grants) but the total received cannot exceed the 125% of the fellow's academic annual salary. There is no financial support for dependents. 
  • Final report required on completion of the fellowship period.
  • Deadline: Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system no later than 9 pm Eastern Standard Time, November 2, 2020.
  • Notifications will be sent by May 2021.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of

  • The research design and intellectual organization of the project
  • The importance of proposed research in the context of existing literature, which must be identified
  • The ability of the applicant to accomplish the proposed research, based on academic training and success of previous research projects
  • The feasibility of the plan of work.

Please email chinastudies@acls.org with questions. Before submitting an inquiry, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).