Dr Kikuchi is currently working on the manuscript of Anglo-American Connections in Japanese Chemistry: The Lab as Contact Zone (under contract with Palgrave Macmillan USA) based on his PhD (The Open University, United Kingdom) and postdoctoral studies at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (Philadelphia), MIT and Harvard University. Weaving together history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, architecture and education, this explores how ideas on the teaching of exemplary techno-scientific knowledge, i.e. chemistry, “travelled” across national boundaries between Japan, Britain and the United States between the 1860s and 1890s. These four decades are the formative, critical period in the history of higher education in science and technology in all three countries. Focusing on human interactions between teachers and students from different countries, this study reveals not only their culturally shaped different assumptions about “science,” “technology” and “education” but also how they, despite such differences, connected to each other in various “contact zones” such as laboratories, classrooms and other socializing space. Such connections led to the co-production of science education with technical edge and responsive to local conditions and indigenous knowledge systems. This analysis thus spotlights the spatiality of science education which plays the powerful role of connecting, and dividing, people, disciplines, and cultures.
While completing his book manuscript, Dr Kikuchi is also conducting new research on the nationalism and internationalism of Japanese scientists in the early twentieth century. There has been recent interest in scientific nationalism worldwide and particularly in twentieth-century East Asia. This project takes novel approaches to this topic. First, by focusing on the emergence of international region-based research organizations such as the Pacific Science Association (established as a permanent body in 1926 in Tokyo), I aim to elucidate how science served nation/empire building through entanglement with international regional politics, not least with Japanese colonialism. Second, I shall look at the mushrooming of national scientific bibliographies and abstracts in interwar Japan as a subtle way of creating a collective identity for scientists there and increasing the participation of scientists in nation/empire building.
Select journal publications
Kikuchi, Y. 2012. “Cross-national Odyssey of a Chemist: Edward Divers at London, Galway and Tokyo.” Special Issue “Cross-national education and the making of science, technology and medicine” (guest editor: Josep Simon). History of Science 50 (3): 289-314.
Kikuchi, Y. 2011. “World War I, International Participation and Reorganisation of the Japanese Chemical Community.” Special Issue “Chemistry in the aftermath of world wars” (guest editor: Jeffrey Allan Johnson). Ambix 58 (2): 136–149.
Kikuchi, Y. 2009. “Samurai Chemists, Charles Graham and Alexander William Williamson at University College London, 1863-1872.” Ambix 56 (2): 115-137.