Education About Asia

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

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Helping Students Overcome Fear of “Foreignness” in Teaching Asian Religions

The study of Asian religions in high school and college survey courses offers both confusion and the possibility of better international understanding. The purpose of this teaching resources essay is to identify potential pit falls to avoid. Although the focus here is on Chinese religions, the likely problem areas and possible instructional solutions are applicable to other belief systems. A first common problem for students is their concern about the complexity and foreignness of vocabulary....

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Understanding Contemporary Asia through Food

While once-exotic Asian foods have become a familiar part of American life, the study of Asian food continues to be a sharp lens, giving focus to the broad sweep of history and the complex patterns of contemporary Asian societies. The eating habits and culinary practices (foodways) of Asian societies are both local and global, revealing the historical impact of past events and the everyday tensions of contemporary Asian societies. Humans often use food to distinguish their own group from others....

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Poha—Krishna’s Favorite

The Memory Some of my childhood memories consist of an unforgettable aroma emanating from the kitchen in the morning: the aroma of milk boiling away on the gas stove, coffee dripping in the stainless steel percolator, and peanuts, onions, potatoes, curry leaves, green chilies, and spices frying away in the thick aluminum kadhai (wok)—with the intermittent clunking of the huge stainless steel ladle against the kadhai, announcing that breakfast was on its way—not just any breakfast, but one o...

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Using Food to Teach about Chinese Culture

In my undergraduate teaching of Chinese and East Asian history to business majors, I find that food is a very useful idiom for learning about traditional and modern Chinese culture. Since everyone eats, it makes a foreign culture more approachable. Attitudes toward food help students understand change and continuity in China’s long history and provide insights into social and political values in various historical periods. In this article, I share some of my experiences, approaches, and materi...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

China’s Rise in Historical Perspective

EDITED BY BRANTLEY WOMACK LANHAM: ROWMAN AND LITTLEFIELD, 2010 286 PAGES, 978-0-7425-6722-1, PAPERBACK Although China’s Rise in Historical Perspective, edited by Brantley Womack, may be too advanced for secondary schools or lower-level undergraduate classes, it is an important book meriting serious attention from teachers at all levels for deepening their understanding of how China has come to challenge the economic primacy of the United States in such a short time. Discussion of China’...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

Teaching the Daode Jing

GARY D. DEANGELIS AND WARREN G. FRISINA, EDITORS OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, NEW YORK, 2008 206 PAGES, 978-0-19-533270-4, PAPERBACK Why the Daode Jing is a special text comes out clearly in Teaching the Daode Jing. In general, this volume will be more useful to college/university nonspecialists than high school teachers. Some essays, however, will be more helpful than others for teachers such as those by Judith Berling, Geoffrey Foy, and John Thompson, which offer more “nuts and bolts” class...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics

ALISA GAUNDER, EDITOR LONDON AND NEW YORK: ROUTLEDGE, 2011 464 PAGES ISBN: 978-0415551373, HARDBACK Japan’s political economy has changed markedly in the past fifteen years. Long-term dominance by the Liberal Democratic Party in alliance with an elite bureaucracy crumbled in the 1990s in the face of unstable party politics and new societal pressures. These changes have been documented and analyzed by scholars, but a comprehensive overview of changes and continuities in Japan’s politics ...

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Music as a Gateway to Learning about East Asia

Introduction: Music and Cultures Music can be an enticing gateway to other cultures, and because music is more than just sound, it can lead to learning about the people who produce the music. Music—the sound—is a scientific phenomenon that can be measured, documented, and replicated. Music—the phenomenon—has meaning it acquires through the culture that produces it, and to understand music—from our own or from a foreign culture—it is vital to learn about music the phenomenon. When w...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement

Neo-Confucian Self-Cultivation

  BY BARRY C. KEENAN HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI'I PRESS, 2011 132 PAGES, ISBN:978-0824835484, PAPERBACK It is not a question of whether Professor Keenan’s new book is accessible for high school juniors and seniors—it is— in general. It is also not a question about whether the book is a good backgrounder for high school teachers who are interested in integrating Neo-Confucian related content into history and/or literature classes— again, it is. The real question is whether stu...

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Educating Students about Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

Exposing students to APEC offers them opportunities to learn about a significant and innovative cooperative association of twenty-one member economies that collectively account for 45 percent of global population, land mass, economic product, and external trade. Its administrative structure is so innovative that it permits the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong (as a Special Administrative Region of the PRC), and Taiwan (as Chinese Taipei) to cooperate as APEC member economies. The followin...

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Remembrance: Dissident Vietnamese Poet Nguyen Chi Thien

We would like to thank Dan Duffy, editor and publisher of the Việt Nam Literature Project, for providing this tribute to Nguyen Chi Thien, an outstanding twentieth-century Vietnamese poet who recently died. What follows is a short essay about Thien accompanied by examples of his poetry. My Mother My mother on anniversaries or festival days is wont to put her hands together and pray for a long time Her old saffron dress has somewhat faded But I would see her take it out for the occas...

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Viewing China: Observations of China’s Cultural Landscapes

Twenty-nine photos accompany this article Most Americans lack accurate mental images of what China looks like. For example, geography textbooks often present students with a limited range of Chinese images such as terraced rice fields, a modern city skyline, or historical landscapes such as the Forbidden City or the Great Wall. As a result, Americans have an extremely limited, often inaccurate, perception of the structures in China’s everyday built environment. Many Westerners have difficulty...

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Japanese Exclusion and the American Labor Movement: 1900 to 1924

While Chinese exclusion remained an important political issue in the late nineteenth century, efforts to exclude Japanese immigrants gained momentum in the early twentieth century and culminated in the Japanese Exclusion provision of the 1924 Immigration Act. Anti-Japanese agitation, sometimes rising to the level of hysteria, occurred despite the fact that there was no great influx of immigrants from Japan. According to the annual report of the commissioner general of immigration, the continenta...

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Teaching Resources to Accompany the Feature Article “China’s Great Leap Forward”

These teaching resources accompany Clayton Brown’s article “China’s Great Leap Forward” in Education About Asia 17, no. 3 (2012): 29–34. To Live MGM World Films, 2003,video and dvd release, 2007 English subtitles, black and white and color Many insightful narratives of the Great Leap Forward exist that work well in the classroom. Although its scope is broader than the Great Leap Forward, the film To Live depicts both the enthusiasm and tragic consequences of the campaign. Directed b...

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Audio and Performance Samples to accompany the feature article “A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia: Classical and Devotional Music”

Listed below are the audio and performance examples of the music discussed in “A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia” from the Spring 2013 (vol. 18, no. 1) issue of Education About Asia....

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Links to Internet Materials to accompany the feature article “The Qin: China’s Most Revered Musical Instrument”

INTRODUCTION TO THE QIN UNESCO‘s intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity site includes a short description of the Qin, photographs, and a brief video (just over four minutes) narrated in English. the music includes singing with the qin, and some strains of yang Guan san Die are heard in the background. Playing techniques and some of the symbolism involved in the Qin’s construction are also discussed. url: http://tiny.cc/p7cksw CONTEXT, HISTORY, AND SYMBOLISM OF THE QIN Wang Fei and her ...

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Emily of Emerald Hill: A Reaffirmation of Peranakan Culture

Stella Kon’s Emily of Emerald Hill is one of Singapore’s most enduring plays. Written in English and interspersed with Singlish (colloquially spoken English) expressions, this one-woman play recounts Emily’s life in the 1950s. Through her memories, the audience learns about the life, culture, and traditions of the Peranakans, a group of overseas Chinese long-resident in Penang and Malacca, who adopted Malay language and culture. Known variously as Babas, Straits Chinese, Melaka Men, and Pe...

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Internet Links to accompany the Teaching Resources Essay “Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative: An Introduction”

Editor’s Note: See the print article in EAA vol. 18: 2 for more information about the archive and the links below. 1. “Alpamysh: Central Asian Identity under Russian Rule” http://tiny.cc/q7pc1w In this extensive work written in 1989, HB Paksoy writes about Alpamysh, an ornate Turkish oral history (or dastan) set mostly in verse. Paksoy describes the importance of Alpamysh as a repository of Turkish history and culture and the struggle of Central Asians to preserve it in the wake o...

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The Indian Ocean Tsunami: The Global Response to a Natural Disaster

The Indian Ocean Tsunami The Global Response to a Natural Disaster By PRADYUMNA KURAN AND SHANMUGAM SUBBIAH Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2011.    Just as the twentieth century is mainly remembered as an age of “total war” and conflicts of truly global proportions, so the twenty-first seems set to become the century of mega-catastrophes: the million-death earthquake, the $500 billion hurricane, the transcontinental pandemic. So far, none of these scenarios have co...