Following on from Chia-Ling Wu's remark in EASTS (10, no. 3) that the journal resembles a kitchen, I can say the “independent kitchen” run by the EASTS book review editors has been a stimulating and provocative laboratory. I began my first three-year term as the convener of the book review board in November 2012. Learning the craft from the former convener Akihisa Setoguchi sensei, and drawing from traditions set up by former book review editors including Wen-Hua Kuo and Shang-jen Li, I've worked with outstanding colleagues to continue commissioning reviews of books written in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. I've also been especially grateful for this opportunity to facilitate the bridging of the EASTS community and the global STS community through the wide-ranging reviews of English-language books on East Asian science, technology, and medicine.
From the end of 2012 to the end of 2015, eight book review editors from a number of countries and disciplines worked with me on the book review board. Hung Bin Hsu (許宏彬), Haidan Chen (陈海丹), Chihyung Jeon, and Florence Bretelle-Establet were especially supportive and commissioned several elegantly written and topically significant reviews. Koichi Mikami (見上公一), Arisa Ema (江間有沙), Lu Gao (高璐), and Yeonbo Jeong were eager to bring in more provocative reviews and kindly agreed to serve another term as editors with me. Among the eight editors, some were my graduate school comrades and some were new colleagues I met in 2012. The EASTS kitchen generously offered me the space to interact more with them. These years of cooking in the kitchen for me were a “hundred-foot journey” (as in the 2014 film about a budding Indian chef in Europe) that led me, and hopefully the team, to navigate with our brilliant reviewers and assist in constructing the cartography of STS in East Asia.
Besides the book review board, many scholars enabled the book review section to flourish. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our book review authors for bringing their ideas and observations on the field to EASTS. Their accomplishments in introducing and evaluating new books for readers deserve applause, especially since the evaluation of book reviews varies so widely in the contemporary professorship promotion and tenure systems of universities across the world. Furthermore, Chia-Ling, Wen-Hua, Shang-jen, and Sean Hsiang-lin Lei have been unwaveringly supportive in offering recommendations about books and reviewers as well as suggestions about book review policies and decisions. I also frequently received e-mails with advice and encouragement from members of editorial and advisory boards. I especially enjoyed my conversations with these members during the two editorial meetings that took place in Singapore in 2013 and 2016. The journal has relied on the existing network of East Asia–friendly scholars and hopefully has further created a valuable “cloud” (or H. G. Wells's “World Brain”), which consists of stimulating scholarly work ready for retrieval from this community. I am sure that during the next term the new book review board will continue to work on realizing these ideas.
In 2016 five new editors joined us and formed a ten-member board: Jia-shin Chen (陳嘉新), Yu-Ling Huang (黃于玲), Hyomin Kim, Eva Sternfeld, and Jianfeng Zhu (朱剑峰). I have enjoyed working with them and have learned a lot about new books and reviewers from them during the first half of 2016. Following the previous members of the book review board, the 2016–18 editors will continue offering perspectives from diverse East Asian countries and drawing from disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, and history. The new staff of this independent kitchen will be producing more and more novel book reviews.
Forerunners, especially those East Asian STS network founding members and the early EASTS editorial, advisory, and book review boards, have for more than a decade made relentless efforts to promote an open-minded and glamorously imagined East Asian STS community. They have enabled this loosely defined community to grow, to communicate more, and to develop more productive and constructive conversations than could have been possible if matters were to have been discussed solely within the context of advancing nationalist agendas among East Asian countries. Charting the cartography of East Asian STS by scholars and reviewers is sometimes challenging but always rewarding. EASTS has allowed members of the community to converse with each other beyond national and parochial boundaries.
I witnessed such a trend in the editorial conferences in Taipei in 2007, 2009, and 2012; in the admirable 4S receptions in Montreal, Washington, DC, Tokyo, and Cleveland; as well as gatherings at the 2016 Society for the History of Technology meeting in Singapore. I saw at these events the energy and synergy created by these borderless East Asian STSers, as well as by open-minded scholars from across the world. I benefited intellectually and identified more strongly with this inclusive community by participating in these meetings and gatherings. As the convener of the 2016–18 book review board, I hope to contribute to a vibrant and liberal community by working with our nine brilliant book review editors on providing a treasure trove of fantastic book reviews as this community moves forward with new works and ideas.