Professor Kang is a historian of early modern Korea, with research and teaching interests in the history of science, the history of technology, and global material culture.
Kang’s current book project examines the rise of “vernacular engineering” in early modern Korea, emphasizing how artisans and practitioners developed a multimedia system of material design and production. Portions of this work have received the Turriano ICOHTEC Prize from the International Committee for the History of Technology, the Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize from the Society for the History of Technology, and the ICAS Book Prize (English—Best Dissertation in the Humanities) from the International Convention of Asia Scholars. The project has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew F. Mellon Foundation, Korea Foundation, and the American Historical Association. His work has appeared in Isis, History & Technology, Journal of World History, The Military Revolution and Revolutions in Military Affairs, and the Journal of Cultural Analytics.
Kang's digital humanities projects include a network analysis of international criminals in seventeenth-century Nagasaki and 3D modeling and fabrication of historical Korean artifacts ranging from land mines to steam engines. With Michelle Suh, he also co-designed the search engine and research platform Silloker, which provides exploratory data analysis on five centuries of historical data from Chosŏn Korean (1392-1910).
Prior to joining the WashU faculty in 2021, he was a D. Kim Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of the History of Science and Technology, Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University.