How Far Can East Asian STS Go?: A position paper
- East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal
- Duke University Press
- Volume 1, Number 1, December 2007
- pp. 1-14
- Additional Information
How Far Can East Asian STS Go? A position paper Daiwie Fu Received: 12 September 2007 /Accepted: 17 September 2007 / Published online: 30 November 2007 # National Science Council, Taiwan 2007 Keywords EASTS . East Asian . STS . Position paper. Postcolonial . Appropriate technology. Taiwan Introduction Science, Technology and Society Studies (ST&S) emerged in North America and Western Europe in the late 1960s and has witnessed an astonishing growth of scholarship since then. ST&S theories, and later a more focused Science and Technology Studies (S&TS),1 not only offer new perspectives to understanding scientific and technological changes, but also raise new issues to the mainstream humanities and social sciences. Institutionally, university-based STS programs have been formed at many leading universities, and international scholarly associations, such as the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST), have been established. Several STS journals have been set up as well. In addition to academic concerns, STS scholars have engaged public policies and emphasized the importance of politics as one of the top priorities on the STS agenda. STS keeps growing. The recent rapid growth of STS in East Asian communities shows that its expansion is not limited to core geographical areas. The East Asian STS Network, formed in 2000, enables STS scholars to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The East Asian STS conferences are regularly held in Japan, South Korea, China, East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal (2007) 1:1–14 DOI 10.1007/s12280-007-9000-y 1 In this positional paper, I use “STS” to cover both senses of ST&S and S&TS. This is also the position of our EASTS journal; please see our Journal’s Information for Contributors: http://sts.nthu.edu.tw/easts/ forcontributors.htm. D. Fu (*) Institute of History, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org D. Fu Institute of STS, Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan and Taiwan; in 2006, the Sixth East Asian STS conference was held in Japan. Some exciting research collaborations, such as those on Japanese colonial science and imperial universities,2 have been formed. Each society in East Asia has been developing its respective STS activities. Japanese STS scholars have formed national STS societies and research groups, published Japanese STS journals, and held international STS conferences. The announcement that the 4S annual meeting will be held in Japan in 2010–for the first time in Asia–indicates international recognition of Japanese STS. In South Korea, STS flourishes with the growth of research and teaching programs at prestigious universities, as well as the establishment of a national STS society. Korean STS scholars’ important contributions to policymaking have been highly recognized by both government and activists. For example, STS scholars play a dominating role on the Korean ELSI programs on Human Genomics and also work closely with NGOs to offer critical perspectives on bioethics. In Taiwan as well, the STS community has expanded quickly, partly as a result of institutional support from the Ministry of Education, the National Science Council, and the National Industry and Technology Museum. Various colloquium programs in universities, conferences, and workshops; an STS website, an email network, and the Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology, and Medicine, have all contributed to the rapid development of STS in Taiwan, including preparations for the first STS Institute at Yang-Ming University and Taiwan’s STS Society. Meanwhile, Western researchers are becoming increasingly interested in the study of technoscience in East Asia, possibly because of important issues related to the globalization of science and technology, as well as the increasing attention given to the perspective of colonial and postcolonial technoscience. Having briefly introduced our current East Asian STS communities, let me begin this position paper with some observations and questions before stating our problematics. Is focusing our scope of STS inquiry on East Asia–a specific geographical and historical area–a reasonable and potentially fruitful strategy for doing research in East Asian communities? In terms of functional and academic market considerations, of course by doing so we have the advantage of focusing the subject matter on a more homogeneous set of cultural and colonial backgrounds, at least for indigenous East Asian STS...