When we were brainstorming a title during this journal's launch period in 2006, I proposed Chopsticks and Rice Cookers. I thought these shared artifacts, with nuanced differences in different regions, could symbolize the features of science and technology in East Asia. My STS colleagues, however, were worried that our journal would be shelved under “food and drink,” so they promptly vetoed my suggestions and asked me to be more serious. (I was being serious!) Nevertheless, as over the past three years I've had the honor to serve as editor in chief, I did indeed experience editing work as a kind of collective cooking. I was in a privileged position to see how tremendous efforts have been put into the EASTS kitchens. STSers around the world have offered rich and diverse ingredients, with different cooking skills and magic seasonings, making possible every serving of EASTS. Kitchen work is often unseen. For their generous devotion and respectful expertise, I would like to express my gratitude here.
First of all, I would like to thank all the editors during the 2013–15 term. The former editor in chief, Daiwei Fu, set up the infrastructure so well that we just started cooking seamlessly. The five associate editors, Gregory Clancey, Michael M. Fisher, Sungook Hong, Shang-Jen Li, and Togo Tsukahara—along with the Taiwanese editorial board members, Dung-Sheng Chen, Ruey-Lin Chen, Daiwei Fu, Wen-Hua Kuo, Sean Hsiang-Lin Lei, Wen-Yuan Lin, and Yi-Ping Lin—together made up our central editorial decision “task tank.” We bombarded them with numerous e-mails, and I thank them for their quick responses and wise suggestions. Most of the editors and advisers have received various assignments and have offered their expertise to make sure that the cooking has been organic and tasty. I appreciate each and every input they've given to the central kitchen.
Working through the Internet makes this global teamwork possible, but it's the face-to-face meetings around the kitchen table that often shape the dishes. My Taiwanese colleagues met every two months, and there was more work to do after each meeting. The international editorial board meeting has been held once or twice during meetings of 4S, APSTSN, and SHOT, and members quite like the reward of an actual in-person meeting after yearlong online dating. I am grateful for all the insights and hugs that my colleagues have offered. I would like to thank Adele Clarke particularly. Ever since we met in 2007 she has served not only as an EASTS editor but also as my mentor. Occasionally, when facing some tough cases, I felt like I was inside a pressure cooker. Yet I could reveal my vulnerability and confusion to Adele so freely, and I always got the wisest advice and comfort. I'm also thankful for all the emotion work that so many editors have done for me.
Special issue editors work most intensively with us. After their proposal is accepted, they submit articles, recommend reviewers, evaluate comments, communicate with authors, suggest possible cover images, and so forth. They are not all EASTS editors, but they are definitely the greatest visiting chefs in this kitchen. I thank Volker Scheid and Sean Hsiang-Lin Lei (issue 8:1, “Beyond Tradition: Asian Medicines and STS”), Hee-Je Bak (8:2, “Politics of Technoscience in Korea”), Judith Farquhar and Kaushik Sunder Rajan (8:4, “Knowledge/Value: Information, Archives, Databases”), Wen-yuan Lin and John Law (9:2 and 9:4, “We Have Never Been Latecomers!? Making Knowledge Spaces for East Asian Technosocial Practices”), Eunjeong Ma (10:1, “Body and Enhancement Technology”), Wen-Ji Wang and Harry Yi-Jui Wu (10:2, “Transnational Psy Sciences in East and Southeast Asia”), Aya Homei and Yu-Ling Huang (forthcoming, “Population Control in Cold War Asia”), and Sulfikar Amir (forthcoming, “The Archipelago Observed: Knowledge and Transformation in Indonesia”). I will miss those times when together we have cheered (when a paper gets two positive reviews) and struggled (when an author does not meet the deadline after three increasingly panicky warnings).
Though we might already have thanked both authors and anonymous reviewers during the editing process, it is worth repeating our appreciation. Sometimes I've so admired the perspectives of an article or the viewpoints in comments that I've only wished I could press a Facebook “Like” button or “heart” emoji right then and there. Instead, what I usually do is ask our assistant Yen Ke, “Who is this amazing person?” and share my admiration. Our authors and reviewers create the mouthwatering texture of our journal—here are my one thousand “Likes” for every one of you!
The book reviews have been one of the most popular sections in EASTS. Book review editors have to deal with challenges and negotiation in a multilingual way. Think of all those books on North Korean scientists, Chinese medicine and healing, Japanese maps, the Indonesian antinuclear movement, childbirth in Asia—all of them written in various languages and reviewed here in English. Our book review section has become a window on the intellectual dynamics of East Asian STS. Most notably, we are the only scholarly journal that regularly provides reviews in English of STS books written in East Asian languages. We are so fortunate to have Honghong Tinn to serve as our book review convener. Together with her team members, she is almost running another kitchen, independently, and with tremendous effort and care. I thank all our book review editors and contributors. Please do visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/eastsjournal/) right now to taste our delicious reviews!
The cover image is probably the most fun part of editing a journal. How lucky I've been to have Sean Hsiang-Lin Lei as design facilitator during my term. Sean has to search for the right image and negotiates with Awai, a Taiwanese visual designer, for each issue. Artists, photographers, manga illustrators, and poster makers all have their own media to portray the intersection of science, technology, and society, and we seek to incorporate their different visual insights into our text-heavy journal. My Taiwanese colleagues have created a patchwork of twelve cover images as my “retirement” gift. I must confess that I might forget some EASTS articles, but I will never forget the stories behind each cover image.
It is a great pleasure to work with our publisher, Duke University Press (DUP). Rob Dilworth, director of journals publishing and partnerships, Jocelyn Dawson, journals marketing manager, and DUP staff members have all been so supportive of EASTS. They manage production so professionally, promote EASTS so enthusiastically, come up with detailed marketing reports, and accept our crazy ideas (almost!) every time. I would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan for supporting EASTS. Their principle of offering financial support only, leaving the editing office to work autonomously, makes a truly professional journal possible. I would like to express my appreciation to the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University as the host institution for offering us a spacious office and helping us handle logistics.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Yen Ke, our superb assistant editor. At EASTS we're not only editing a journal, we're building community. So in addition to going through all the tedious editing and production details, Yen also took charge of conferences, international editorial board meetings, our Facebook page, and the EASTS lecture series. She has done all of this so well. When I handed over the EASTS kitchen to the new editor in chief, Wen-Hua Kuo, I told him that Yen is the head chef behind everything. She mixes all the ingredients so well and guarantees they were cooked in the right way. I will miss that moment every three months when we celebrated a freshly published journal.
If we are what we eat, I hope EASTS has nourished us and even transformed how we understand East Asia, as well as science and technology. The journal title can equally well be read as “EASTs”—there is after all more than one “East”—and over the past few years we have explored ideas of what we mean by “East Asia” and have debated how we should position ourselves. The answer so far has been to brave intellectual adventures freely. Thus we will soon be publishing the first Indonesian STS special issue, and might have a mining story from Latin America with Asia as its method. Former associate editor Shang-Jen Li once posted a spoof news article on his Facebook page—“US Census Bureau to Reclassify Filipinos from ‘Asian’ to ‘Pacific Islander’” —the most important reason for the new classification being that Filipinos don't use chopsticks. That joke reminded me of my idea for a title more than ten years ago. Fortunately, we have moved on to a different world where we don't need to be defined or bounded by chopsticks. Instead, we are whatever we cook and whatever we eat. Dear friends, thank you all so much for your efforts in nurturing EASTS; please keep bringing your great diversity of ingredients and flavors to Wen-Hua Kuo's new kitchen. I will certainly be joining you for the banquets.