Federico Marcon studies early modern Japan and is interested in the interaction of social, economic, and intellectual dynamics in the creation of scientific knowledge in the early modern world. Professor Marcon was born and raised in Italy, where he began his studies in Japanese culture and Philosophy at “Ca’ Foscari” University of Venice. In 2008 he joined the History faculty of the University of Virginia, after receiving a PhD in History—East Asia from Columbia University and serving as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies of Harvard University. In 2011 he joined Princeton University as Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and History.
Professor Marcon is currently completing a book manuscript, tentatively entitled The Knowledge of Nature and the Nature of Knowledge in Early Modern Japan, which reconstructs the development of new ways of conceptualizing, manipulating, representing, and relating to nature in Tokugawa Japan.
While Japan is Marcon’s main area of expertise and the field of his empirical research, he is also interested in various issues related to the comparative history of science and the history of philosophy. He is currently writing an article about the irreducibility of the Western notion of “nature” to the constellation of concepts used in Tokugawa Japan to express various aspects of the natural environment. His next research project focuses on the financial and accounting mathematical techniques that merchants and samurai elites developed to calculate profits and organize and control the economy in early modern Japan.