This past July, at Taipei's National Yang-Ming University, EASTS held its fourth International Journal Conference on East Asian STS. Under the initiative of Prof. Wu Chia-Ling of National Taiwan University's Department of Sociology, we had a special panel discussion titled “How Far Has EASTS Gone?,” which was undertaken partly as a long-term response to my position paper “How Far Can EASTS Go?” published in the first issue of EASTS in 2007. Since issue 1, we of the EASTS editorial board have worked with many authors and reviewers to publish another twenty-one issues over the last five years. And now I'm writing this editor's note for issue 6:4, the issue before the final one (7:1) I edit in my editorial term. Our next editor in chief, Professor Wu, will take over the responsibility of leading EASTS beginning with issue 7:2. She will work with the active and talented Professor Li Shang-jen of Academia Sinica as Taiwan's next associate editor. Chia-Ling has worked with me as associate editor of EASTS since its early conception and preparation in 2006 until the double issue 3:2–3 (2009), before Professor Chu Pingyi succeeded her as associate editor. Thus she has ample experience and enthusiasm for this journal, in addition to her admirable talent and scholarship. I have no doubt that she is the one to lead EASTS as we look to the future.
In my presentation for the panel “How Far Has EASTS Gone?,” I briefly reflected on what we have been doing for the last six volumes. I recapitulate some of my points there to share with you. First, we have published a total of sixteen special/subject issues in the journal's twenty-two (to date) issues. Some of them originated from specifically East Asian concerns, while others address issues that did not originate in East Asia, with authors mostly from Europe, North America, and Australia/New Zealand. By my count, six subject issues are of the first kind, another six are of the second, and the remaining four are in-between. This is good food for thought, I think. Second, concerning STS “theories” used or adopted in EASTS, as Chen Ruey-Lin explains in this issue, most articles assemble or combine various STS theories in explaining East Asian STS phenomena. There is no article that directly applies a single STS theory in an East Asian context. On the other hand, in EASTS there is no distinctive East Asian STS theory yet, only sophisticated assemblies of (Western) STS theories. Chen's counting may be arguable, but his result is something worth reflecting upon.
Third, in my presentation I posed three more personal questions. (1) How much public encouragement has EASTS received in the past? If we compare the public encouragement from within East Asia with that from without, actually we have gotten more from outside East Asia (OEA). And EASTS really appreciates the generous encouragement and help from OEA STS scholars. Meanwhile, we need more mutual support and communication within East Asian STS in the next stage of the field's development.
(2) What social activities in various East Asian professional societies were clearly shaped by EASTS? In Taiwan, not many, admittedly, except some graduate student workshops, the East Asian STS and Area Studies workshop held in 2008, and the recent “Kuhn's Structure 50: From HPS to STS” workshop held with the Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine in August 2012. As I worried from the beginning might happen, EASTS was in danger of becoming too international in its scope and thus only loosely connected to Taiwan's local social worlds.1 Are such connections too much to ask of an international quarterly journal, always busy in catching up on the next deadline? I do not know, and only time can tell. I do believe that there is still much to be done here, with EASTS having a leading role in generating and coordinating local social activities. To be sure, EASTS has throughout its history been a stimulating point of reference to Taiwan's own STS developments.
(3) How has EASTS done in terms of fostering cross-societal discussions of East Asian STS issues? This is a natural role for EASTS as an international journal. I believe the journal has indeed played an important role in stimulating serious discussions among scholars of East Asian STS. Moreover, the fact that EASTS is a quarterly enables us to respond to developing East Asian STS issues in real time. We have held four international conferences, in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2012.2 In addition, we have published seven panel discussions, featuring panelists from East Asia and elsewhere: in 1:2, a group of commentaries from the panel “How Different Can STS Be in East Asian Societies” on my position paper from the inaugural issue; in issue 2:3, “How Technology Traveled from Old Oriental to New East Asia: East Asian STS and Area Studies”; in issues 3:4 and 4:1, a two-part discussion on STS in Japan; in issue 5:1, an “Author Meets Critics” panel devoted to commentaries on Warwick Anderson's The Collectors of Lost Souls (2008); in issue 5:3, a discussion of Japan's 3/11 and Fukushima crises; in 6:2, “Engaging Asia: A Forum on the History of Science and Technology”; and in the current issue, a discussion of the semicentennial of the publication of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and its relationship with East Asian STS. In these discussions, most of the issues are specific to East Asian STS, and most of the panelists are East Asians. For all the contributions these discussions made to a cross-societal understanding of East Asian technoscience, I should say that I am proud to have been the first editor-in-chief of the journal that published them.
Finally, I must, as a humble but privileged servant of EASTS, say that I do not know how to express my deepest gratitude to all of you: readers, graduate students, authors, reviewers, members of our editorial, advisory, and book review boards, and my dear associate editors Togo, Sungook, Chia-Ling, Warwick, Pingyi, Gregory, and Mike. My thanks also go out to the supporting staff in Taiwan's National Science Council, especially Hung Mei-Hui, and to the editorial staff of Springer Publishing and that of our current publisher, Duke University Press. Last, but not least, thank you to my hard-working assistant editors: Chiu E-Ling, Wu Hsiao-Chun, Chen Shiau-Yun, and currently Ge Yan. It is you, working on EASTS at least five days a week, sometimes including weekends and late nights, who have made this journal possible.
Daiwie Fu 傅大為
Due to the semicentennial of the publication of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, perhaps a fine bridge between East Asian STS and Taiwan's local STS/HPS interests has been built this year. In Taiwan, we have cooperated with the Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine in holding the workshop “Kuhn's Structure 50: From HPS to STS,” but at the same time, EASTS has also been coordinating internationally on a panel discussion titled “Structure's 50 and East Asian STS,” as I note in the next paragraph.
“Science Controversy and Democracy” (National Taiwan University, August 2006), “Technology, Family, and Biomedicalization in East Asia” (National Taiwan University, August 2007), “Traditions, Knowledges, and Technologies” (National Yang-Ming University, June 2009), and “Engaging with East Asian Science, Technology, and Society” (National Yang-Ming University, July 2012).