The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
Eiko Honda specialises in intellectual history of modern Japan. She is particularly interested in the ways in which the Humanities impacted the articulation of modern scientific ‘truths’ within the wider context of global political thoughts and the ‘environmental’ crisis. Through her research on scientist-polymaths who embraced humanistic knowledge, she illuminates the underlining logic behind interdisciplinary knowledge formation of which existing historiography could not make sense. The fellowship will enable her to turn her DPhil thesis into a monograph manuscript tentatively entitled The Emergence of Queer Nature: Minakata Kumagusu (1867-1941) and the Making of Microbial Paradigm, 1887-1900.
In parallel to her research in intellectual history, she investigates the implications of such histories to forms of knowledge-making required to face the climate crisis today. Her work received the Grand Prize at the Toshiba International Foundation's 30th Anniversary Essay Contest on the research agenda for Japanese Studies (2019). Prior to embarking on her DPhil in History at the University of Oxford, she worked as a curator and writer of contemporary art and ideas in London as a curatorial fellow for Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs (2013-2016). As a curator she specialised in transdisciplinary projects of art, sciences, and technologies in the context of Anglo-Asian historical relations, delivering various exhibitions and education programmes on the topic.