The honor is the highest annual award Western Michigan University bestows on faculty members. It pays tribute to individuals whose work constitutes a significant body of achievement that is widely recognized with in the national and international academic communities.
Xiong, professor of history, has done more than perhaps any other scholar to elevate the status of medieval Chinese history in the international community. He has written seven books in English and another five in Chinese, edited 10 journal volumes, contributed 26 articles and chapters, and reviewed 60 books. He launched the highly regarded journal "Early Medieval China" and he was chosen to review the Metropolitan Museum's block buster exhibition, "China: Dawn of a Golden Age." His "Historical Dictionary of Medieval China, "reissued in a paperback edition under the title,"A to Z of Medieval China," is a remarkable encyclopedia for scholars and students. Surprisingly, his new work includes a historical novel, "Heavenly Khan"(2014), which earned 4.5 stars on Amazon and Good Reads.
Fellow scholars admire his work, including one nominator who sees him as master of structural and narrative history, weighing contradictory evidence, extracting the relevant information from sprawling and often obscure texts, and classifying information succinctly and helpfully. His languages include English,Chinese and Japanese; and he is "a wizard in new-media based pedagogy. "Another scholar quips: "How many of us can single-handedly write an encyclopedia of medieval China? Or encyclopedia of anything?" He admires Xiong's scholarly range: "Xiong takes up the entirety of middle-period history, ranging from city planning, institutions, intellectual, social, economic, and cultural histories. Reading Xiong is always a humbling experience."
Congratulations to Dr. Xiong on this prestigious award.