Education About Asia

(culture, history, art, marriage, etc...)

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Book Review, Resources

Developing the Mekong Subregion

Edited by Bob Stensholt CLAYTON, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA: MONASH ASIA INSTITUTE, 1997 XVI + 287 PAGES Nearly three decades after the Khmer Rouge retreated from Phnom Penh and the U.S. military withdrew from Laos and Vietnam, the six countries of the greater Mekong subregion (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma or Myanmar, and China’s southern Yunnan Province) now collectively represent one of the world’s fastest growing regional economies. While the current global economic crisis has seve...

Resources, Web Gleanings, Website Resources

Website Resources: History of Japan

Title: Ancient Japan URL: http://www.wsu.edu:8080/-dee/ANCJAPAN/CONTENTS.HTM A view of the major events and cultural "concepts" of ancient Japan. The chronology ends with the Heian period, and the cultural topics include the music, writing, and arts of Japan;  there are sections on Buddhism as well. The audience for this page would be students who haven't studied Japan previously. Title: Asuka Historical Museum URL: http://www.cgc.eo.jp/asukahome/indexse.html The highlight of this site i...

Essay, Resources

A Review of StarFestival: Exploring Cultural Heritage

Prior to joining Stanford University in 1988, I was an elementary school teacher. My last teaching assignment was in the first grade, which I taught for six years. When I heard that Boston Public Schools (BPS) had recently adopted StarFestival for all of its 210 first grade classrooms in order to encourage cross-cultural learning programs about Japan, I was impressed and moved for a number of reasons....

Essay, Resources

Global Overextension or “Hegemonic Imperialism”? Differing Perspectives on US Political and Military Involvement in Contemporary East Asia

A Book Essay on Chalmers Johnson's Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000. North American students of geopolitics and global conflict generally have a much firmer grasp of trouble spots in Europe and the Middle East than of bones of contention in East Asia. Due to both traditional historical ties across the Atlantic Ocean and sheer inertia, protracted conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Balkans,  and the Middle East have garnered much more ...

Essay, Resources

What the Situation Demands: Teaching Buddhism Through Life Stories

An earlier version of this manuscript was presented as part of a symposium entitled "Teaching Asian Thought" held at the Association for Asian Studies 2000 annual meeting in San Diego. We would like to thank Professor Kevin Schilbrack of Wesleyan College who chaired the symposium and provided us with the original papers. Students at my college come from isolated rural areas, from small towns with an average population of 200. They are often the first of their families to attend college, and the...

EAA Interview, Essay, Resources

An Interview with Buchanan Prize Winner Roberta Martin

This is our forth consecutive interview with the winner of the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. The Association for Asian Studies awards the prize annually for the development of outstanding curriculum materials on Asia. The 2000 winner was Roberta "Robin" Martin, Director of the East Asian Curriculum Project and Project on Asia in the Core Curriculum at Columbia University's East Asian Institute. She won the award for her Web-based version of Contemporary Japan: A Teaching Workbook. Lucien: Congrat...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Buddhism: Footprint of the Buddha

This third episode of the widely-acclaimed BBC Long Search series, if used with some caution, can serve as a good introduction to Theravada Buddhism that is suitable for both high school and introductory college courses. Filmed entirely on location in Sri Lanka, Footprint of the Buddha conveys some of the essentials of Buddhism through the interpretive eyes of a university professor or anthropology and distinguished monk; three refuges, the four noble truths, the notable eightfold path, the two ...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Hinduism: 330 Million Gods

BY PETER MONTAGNON FROM THE BBC THE LONG SEARCH SERIES, 1977 52 MINUTES AMROSE VIDEO PUBLISHING, INC. 28 WEST 44TH STREET, SUITE 2100 NEW YORK, NY 10036 PHONE: 800-526-4663 OR 212-768-7373 FAX: 212-768-9282 E-MAIL: SALES@AMBROSEVIDEO.COM This second episode of the widely acclaimed BBC Long Search series serves as an excellent introduction to the basics of Hindu life dial is suitable for both high school and introductory college courses. Beautifully filmed in Benares and in a small vi...

Film Review Essay

A Narmada Diary

BY ANAND PATWARDHAN AND SIMANTINI DHURU DISTRIBUTED BY FIRST RUN/ICARUS FILMS 32 COURT STREET, FLOOR 21 BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 1121 COLOR, 1995, 60 MINUTES/COLOR A Narmada Diary tell the story of Indian villager resistance to the enormous Sardar Sarovar dam project. The film comes largely from documentary videos shot between 1990 and 1993 by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (the Save Narmada Movement) The Narmada Bachao Andolan represents the indigenous Adavashi people of the Narmada valley, who are ...

Feature Article

Breaking Company: Meiji Japan and East Asia

In a famous 1885 editorial, Fukuzawa Yukichi urged his nation to"escape from Asia." Japan could not afford to wait patiently for China and Korea to develop on their own, argued the Meiji era's most influential scholar. To Japan's strategic disadvantage. "civilized Western peoples" considered the Japanese to be akin to their backward neighbors. "If we keep bad company," Fukuzawa wrote. "we cannot avoid a bad name. In my heart I favor breaking off with the bad company of East Asia." (note 1)...

Feature Article

Using the Concept “Feudalism” to Compare Japan with Europe: Words of Caution

WITH THE GROWTH OF THE WORLD HISTORY MOVEMENT, MANY ASIAN SPECIALISTS ARE CLEARLY FOCUSED ON THE INTEGRATION OF ASIAN MATERIAL INTO A WORLD HISTORY FRAMEWORK. THREE YEARS AGO A COLLEAGUE AND I DEVELOPED A UNIT USING JAPANESE "FEUDALISM" AS ITS CORE. OUR GOALS INCLUDED A FOCUS ON LITERATURE AS A TOOL FOR TEACHING ABOUT JAPAN'S HISTORY AS WEIL AS A CLEARLY DEFINED CONNECTION WITH THE WORLD HISTORY STANDARDS. THE COMPLETE PROJECT, INCLUDING A CHART COMPARING EUROPEAN AND JAPANESE "FEUDAUSM;' CAN BE...

Feature Article

Voices of the Occupation: Teaching with Haiku

In teaching the literature component of Midwood High School's ninth-grade interdisciplinary course in the humanities, l devote approximately six weeks to the literature of Japan. I try to synchronize my material with that of the corresponding social studies teacher, so that the two of us teach the same time period of the same country at about the same time. Up until this past year, however, the period of the occupation of Japan saw a huge gap in the literature section of the course. I just trust...

Feature Article

Teaching with Embracing Defeat: Notes from a Humanities Teacher

I was a bit apprehensive on the first day of spring term, 2000. Eight seniors had signed up for a new humanities elective I was offering on postwar Japan. I knew what most of these students were thinking: spring term, senior year, already have college plans decided, new course . ... how much work am I going to have to do? I knew what was worrying me: their reaction when I gave them the reading list on the first day of class. What would happen when I held up my 600-page, hardcover edition of John...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

John Dower on Teaching from Embracing Defeat: An EAA Interview

John W. Dower is the Elting E. Morison Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent work, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (W. W. Norton and The New Press, 1999), has received international critical acclaim from the academic community, the media, and the general public. A long list of awards for Embracing Defeat includes the American Historical Association's 1999 John K. Fairbank Prize, the 2000 Bancroft Prize awarded by Columbia Universit...

Feature Article

One Country or Many? Prospects for the Future of Indonesia

Like so many other multiethnic, multinational countries in the world, Indonesia struggles to maintain its national cohesion. Indeed, 95 percent of countries in the world have more than one ethnic group within their boundaries. and many are buffeted by some of the same stresses affecting Indonesia. Some have already crumbled-the USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Ethiopia. Will Indonesia be next? Indonesia has long been conscious of its need for greater national integration and has made substa...

Feature Article

Qianlong Meets Macartney: Collision of Two World Views

The Macartney mission of 1792-4 is a defining episode in the modern encounter between China and the West. It is the first major event in which British diplomats well read in the ideas of the European Enlightenment came face to face with the leadership of the world's greatest and most populous land power. Before that time, educated Europeans had learned about China mainly through the writings of French Catholic missionaries. Eighteenth-century European philosophers, with the notable exception of ...

Book Review, Resources

Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Caroons of Theodor Seuss Geisel

This collection of over two hundred wartime editorial cartoons of Dr. Seuss may surprise readers more familiar with his postwar children's books. Appearing in the New Deal-tinged New York newspaper PM in 1941 and 1942. The drawing style and fantasy in the cartoons are clearly Seussian. However, instead of the pure whimsy of cultural icons such as The Cat in the Hat, Horton, or The Grinch That Stole Christmas, the wartime cartoon are blatantly didactic, if not propagandistic. Many cartoons ridicu...

Book Review, Resources

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

BY: JOHN DOWER NEW YORK, W.W. NORTON, 1999 HARDCOVER, 1ST EDITION, 676 PAGES For those who teach about Japan, or any country other than their own, the issue of how to reach students is a constant challenge. Teachers are always striving to go beyond the textbook and construct activities which actively engage students in their own learning. Do you use a "hook" to "lure the students in" and then get around to the required material, or cover the required material hoping that, through the interest...

Book Review, Resources

The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947

By Tsering Shakya NEW YORK: COLUMBIA UNJVERSTY PRESS, 1999 XXIX. 448 PAGES, 12 PHOTOS, 7 MAPS. ANNOTATED, APPENDICES, BIBLIOGRAPHY, INDEX Tsering Shakya's book is a breath of fresh air. which deliberately avoids the polemics that so frequently pervade scholarship on Sino-Tibetan relations. In fact, he states that his goal is to offer some correction to both Chinese and Tibetan historical renditions that have contributed to a "denial of history,"' a process which necessarily entails a negation...

Book Review, Resources

Grace in China: An American Woman Beyond the Great Wall, 1934-1974

Individuals who place themselves in uncommon circumstances provide the stuff from which compelling stories are created. These stories can provide a window through which to view monumental events in World history and international relations. Just such a story, filled with humor, heartbreak, and drama, Grace in China: An American Woman Beyond the Great Wall, 1934-1974, offers a look into the history of twentieth-century Chinese history and U.S.-China relations. The authors provide an engrossing ac...
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