International Science, Imperial Transitions, and Transpacific Networks of Knowledge at the Early Cold War

Ran Zwigenberg's picture
June 18, 2022
Pennsylvania, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Japanese History / Studies, Korean History / Studies

The year 1945 heralded a shift in the way science was practiced at the Asia-Pacific rim. With the rise of American hegemony, Asian scientists shifted from previous German and Japanese spheres of knowledge to an American one, as knowledge networks re-aligned around new centers of learning in the U.S.A. American centers of research in Asia, as well as the new global institutions such as the WHO and UNESCO, were further nodes in the new emerging system. Nuclear science, which was first employed in Japan, was perhaps the most prominent mode of such exchanges, but it was evident across the sciences. As Audra Wolfe demonstrated, this shift was both the result of an American strategy to promote science in the service of diplomacy, and of Asian scientists' need to stay relevant in a world where funds, ideas, and opportunities were increasingly found within the American imperium. American dominated global institutions and the impact of American occupations in Japan and Korea also played an important role. Older networks and influences, however, continued to play an important role in Cold War Asian Science. The “ghost” of the recently deceased Japanese empire hovered around East Asian science. What kind of “American” science was practiced was also not clear, as many European émigrés operated in American universities, and Asian Americans and others also played a salient role in this transformation. Our panel explore these different connections, continuities, and cross-influences by looking in the way the myriad experience of scientists impacted postwar Science across the pacific.

1- Ran Zwigenberg (Pennsylvania State University)
“The Curse of Objectivity: Scott Y. Matsumoto, the ABCC, and the Problem of Trauma in Hiroshima”

2- Kaori Iida (Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI)
“Atoms for Peace in Hiroshima: Kawaishi Kunio, the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, and the Development of Nuclear Medicine in the Bombed City in the 1950s”

3- Jane S. Kim (Korean Research Institute of Science, Technology & Civilization/Jeonbuk National University)

“Securitizing Health:  Korean War and the Formation of Global Biosecurity”

4- Yuka Tsuchiya-Moriguchi (Kyoto University)
“International Students in Nuclear Energy: The Argonne International School of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 1955-1960”

Virtual Commentators:

Audra J. Wolfe (Writer and Editor)

Susan Lindee (UPenn) 


Contact Info: 

Yuriko Tanaka (Kobe University)