This issue will see off the year 2017, the first year of EASTS's second decade and the first full year I have served as its editor in chief. I would like to thank all our associate editors, book review editors, and editorial and advisory board members for their generous help and support.
Special thanks go to Dr. Howard Chiang, guest editor of this issue, which we've called “From Postcolonial to Subimperial Formations of Medicine: Taiwan and Korea.” With five articles that nicely address the social and scientific dynamics in the geopolitical contexts of Cold War East Asia, it provides our readers with a gateway to revisit one of EASTS's early issues, “Colonial Sciences in Former Japan's Imperial Universities” (vol. 1, no. 2, 2007)—in which guest editor Togo Tsukahara insisted that Japanese imperialism should be considered a topic for the history of science and STS. By refashioning this notion, the present issue not only redirects readers' attention to Taiwan and Korea, the recipients of Japanese colonialism and outposts for the United States' strategic plan in Asia, but also introduces subimperialism, a theoretical framing that may be less familiar to EASTS readers but is useful in interpreting the postwar dynamics of these two former Japanese colonies. It does not mean that with this issue we are ready to put the notion of postcoloniality to rest. On the contrary, revisiting and refashioning the ways in which science and technology are cast with society are what EASTS sought to achieve in its first decade and will continue to do for the decade to come.
That second issue also includes commentaries to Daiwie Fu's position paper in the first issue, “How Far Can East Asian STS Go?,” in vol. 1, no. 1, now a classic in the field. Responding to Fu's declaration of making East Asia both a topic and an intellectual resource for STS, the four commentaries by former associate editors Sungook Hong and Warwick Anderson and advisory editors Hideto Nakajima and Fa-ti Fan envisioned how EASTS might achieve this. Ten years have passed; a reappraisal of these visions is helpful. Hong urged a more engaged scholarship on the national policy of science and technology in terms of R&D, and our special issue on Asian Biopoleis (vol. 7, no. 1, 2013; guest edited by Connor Graham and Gregory Clancey, a former EASTS associate editor) exemplifies such STS efforts. Anderson noticed the expanding networks of STS beyond Western Europe and North America, reminding EASTS readers to avoid “homogenization of the phenomena and monadization of mentalities.” With this motto in mind, the articles published in EASTS intend not to be “area studies” of STS. They instead raise situations that, as Anderson would expect, challenge the meaning of East Asia and reframe STS's distinctiveness. Concerning the multiple origins of STS as seen in East Asia, it is a valid piece of advice from Nakajima to absorb not only mainstream narratives in the Anglo-American context but also the European STS thinking that nourished the Japanese community. It is hard to assess the European influence on EASTS in addition to science democracy. Even so, EASTS accomplished several issues on traditional medicines (notably vol. 2, no. 4, 2008; vol. 7, no. 3, 2013; and vol. 8, no. 1, 2014) that are at once distinctively East Asian and European.
Although EASTS has tackled STS methods, such as in our issue “What Is Distinctive East Asian STS: Method, Assemblages, or Theories?” (vol. 6, no. 4, 2012), it requires analysis to better understand whether EASTS has grown into a “hedgehog” to mainstream STS, as Fa-ti Fan speculated in his response to the critical standpoint in Fu's position paper. In terms of crafting “tools of our own,” EASTS is a “fox” (to use Fan's term for describing East Asia's flexible position on STS) that travels through disciplinary, geographical, and intellectual territories. All of these were to be witnessed at the 2017 4S annual meeting in Boston, where EASTS celebrated its second decade with sessions that featured cases and issues regarding the strategies, trajectories, and visions that are bringing East Asia and the world together (for details, see the “News and Events” section in this issue).
EASTS is in transition, just like 4S. When the late 4S president Susan Leigh Star mentioned EASTS, in 2007, it was as one of those initiatives not based in the traditional STS regions of America and Europe. With 4S inviting more non-Western involvement, and with EASTS advisory editors Kim Fortun and Ulrike Felt elected presidents of 4S and of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST), respectively, it seems to be the right time to renew EASTS's road map. On the one hand, as an ongoing project, EASTS needs to refashion itself by looking back at the multiple histories of STS in East Asia (one example would be Professor Sang-yong Song's intellectual biography in this issue). On the other hand, it must reenvision itself by introducing research agendas that push EASTS beyond such existing framings as “center-periphery” or “theory-subject.”
We cannot be certain exactly what EASTS will have become by the time our second decade ends, but one thing is certain: it will commit to reflecting an increasingly changing technoscientific world in which it is practices and tasks—rather than discourses with the tags of “East Asian” or “STS”—that matter.