Lian Wang ’21 Spotlighted in Spring Issue of "The Concord Review"

Thursday, March 11, 2021
Lian Wang ’21

The spring issue of The Concord Review, a quarterly journal that publishes exemplary history research papers of high-school students, will include the work of Mercersburg senior Lian Wang ’21, of Hong Kong, China. Her paper, The Civil Service Examination System: A Vehicle for Social Mobility in Song China, examines the system that selected bureaucrats to China’s government for over a thousand years in Chinese history.

Founded in March 1987, The Concord Review was established to recognize and publish history essays by high-school students in the English-speaking world. Including the Spring issue, 1,405 research papers (which average 8,500 words, with endnotes and bibliography) have been published from authors in 46 U.S. states and 43 countries. TCR remains the only quarterly journal in the world to publish the academic history papers of secondary students.

“Entering the bureaucracy was unequivocally the highest honor in imperial Chinese society, so the merit-based examination process, open to people of any social status (theoretically), became an opportunity for upwards mobility, especially in the Song Dynasty,” Wang said. “While my paper focuses on how the Song system facilitated economic mobility, the examination system was central in shaping Chinese politics, culture, and thought. It prompted the establishment of a robust system of public schools and reinforced the value placed on education, above all else, still true in China today. While it was an innovation unparalleled elsewhere at its time, the system’s resistance to change eventually contributed to imperial China’s backwardness in later centuries.”

Wang began the research project in the summer after her ninth-grade year, but wrote the bulk of it in her 11th-grade year during winter break. “It was my first big research project, so it’s definitely been a really rewarding process of learning how to do serious research,” Wang said.

The final paper is around 7,000 words, with 63 endnotes. 

“TCR believes that the pursuit of academic excellence in history in secondary schools should be given the same attention as the pursuit of excellence in STEM and other extracurricular activities,” Robert Nasson of The Concord Review. “By recognizing 11 students from around the world in every issue, we believe we are doing that.”