Lewis Bremner joins the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies as 2021-22 Research and Teaching Associate in History. He was previously Visiting Lecturer in History at the University of California, Berkeley and, prior to that, Postdoctoral Fellow in History at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. He completed a DPhil in history at the University of Oxford in 2019, following degrees at the University of Edinburgh and SOAS, University of London.
He specialises in the history of Japan and the history of science and technology, with particular focus on the value of the transnational perspective in improving our understanding of the social and intellectual history of tools, machines, technical systems, and associated ideas and practices. At present, he is writing his first book manuscript on the history of the magic lantern in Japan, which constitutes the first major study on this topic in English. The book follows this technology from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century, during which time it developed from a rare and imported projection device into one of the biggest cultural phenomena in Japan, and then found continued use for decades after the introduction of motion-picture film.
This scholarship reflects broader research and teaching interests in intellectual and technological innovations that take place in unexpected or marginalised places, and in the interconnectivities that are formed by the movement of technologies, people, knowledge, ideas, and practices around localities, regions, and the world.