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Rethinking Industrial Traditions and Innovation in Japan

15 jul 2021 18:00 - 18:45

Fourth session of the IAS's Carte Blanche series, with the participation of Victoria Lee, Ohio University and 2020-2021 Paris IAS Fellow.

Starting in the spring of 2021, the Cartes Blanches series allows, once a month, one of the IAS research fellows to talk on a topic of his or her choice related to contemporary societal issues and extra-academic environments.


In this Carte Blanche, Victoria Lee invites Aleksandra Kobiljski for a discussion on the question of innovation and tradition in the context of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Japan.

How can we think about the diversity of approaches to the relationship between innovation and tradition in industrial contexts in Japan? What historical insights can be gained from looking both backward and forward from the period of Japanese industrialization at the end of the nineteenth century? What inspiration can we draw from the Japanese experience to think about the post-Covid world?

Victoria Lee is assistant professor of the history of science and technology at Ohio University. She is a 2020–2021 Fellow at the Paris IAS. Her book, The Arts of the Microbial World: Fermentation Science in Twentieth-Century Japan, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in fall 2021.

Aleksandra Kobiljski is a Senior Research Fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the director of the Japan Research Center at the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS). She is the principal investigator of J-InnovaTech, an ERC project that aims to develop a new approach to understanding Japan's early industry. She is the guest editor of the Technology & Culture special issue on technology and industry in modern Japan forthcoming in April 2022.

Practical Information

Carte Blanche in English.
No registration needed. Join this Carte Blanche on July 15th at 6pm (Paris time) on the IAS YouTube channel.

Microbe Smiths: Engineering Microbial Control in Twentieth-Century Japan
01 September 2020 - 30 June 2021
15 Jul 2021 18:45
Victoria Lee
Talks and lectures