Education About Asia

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

NOTE: Archive articles may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or classroom use only.

EAA Interview, Feature Article

EAA Interview with the Authors of “Fragments of the Afghan Frontier,” Benjamin D. Hopkins and Magnus Marsden

Benjamin D. Hopkins and Magnus Marsden are, respectively, a historian and an anthropologist. In 2011, they coauthored Fragments of the Afghan Frontier. The book is intended for both the public and scholars. In his review of Fragments, Mark Beautement, former UK Ministry of Defence district political officer in Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan during 2009–10, who worked with British Commandos and US Marines, commented, “Fragments of the Afghan Frontier combines painstaking recent anthrop...

Feature Article

What History Can Teach Us About Contemporary Afghanistan

Afghanistan has a deep history that shapes the perceptions of the people who live there. Just how deep that memory goes, even among people who are illiterate and informed only by oral tradition, is striking. In the mid-1970s, the nomads I was living with in northern Afghanistan roundly condemned the Mongol invasion of the country—in 1220—and the long-lasting destruction it caused. It was a shame, they complained, that I had not been able to visit their region before that time when its econom...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Pearl Harbor: A New Japanese Perspective

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the seminal events of American history. It forced America’s entry into World War II and marked this country’s emergence as a world power and dominant actor on the world scene. Until that time, the US had been an economic powerhouse, but a military midget with little interest in pursuing global conquest. Unfortunately, few Americans today have any true understanding of why Japan, a comparatively small nation already engaged in a full scale war in ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

China and the World Economy

The Great Rebalancing Trade, Conflict, and the Perilous Road Ahead for the World Economy By MICHAEL PETTIS Princeton University Press, 2013 The Globalization Paradox Democracy and the Future of the World Economy By DANI RODRIK  W. W. Norton & Company, 2012 The Leaderless Economy Why the World Economy System Fell Apart and How to Fix It By PETER TEMIN AND DAVID VINES Princeton University Press, 2013   The global impact of China’s rise, as presented by these in...

Feature Article

“Give Me Blood, and I Will Give You Freedom”: Bhagat Singh, Subhas Chandra Bose, and the Uses of Violence in India’s Independence Movement

Last April, two Indian students visited my high school for a few weeks and joined my world history class. One day, during a discussion of the Indian independence movement, I asked all of my students in the class to hold up their hand if they had ever heard of Bhagat Singh or Subhas Chandra Bose. Only two hands went up, those belonging to our visitors from India. Our Indian guests expressed shock and dismay that their American peers had never heard these two names that are so familiar to Indians....

Feature Article

When the World Came to Southeast Asia: Malacca and the Global Economy

Situated in the west coast of the Malay Peninsula on the strait that bears its name, the port of Malacca is adjacent to one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Today’s Malacca (Melaka in Malay) is a small port city with few obvious signs of its former glory. Despite a growing tourist trade, most visitors are ignorant of the city’s spectacular maritime past as one of the most important trade centers in the early modern global economy, a past that put Malacca in the same league with Venic...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World

One of the great questions preoccupying Asia watchers today is whether continental powers such as China, India, or Iran can go to sea by amassing enough overseas commerce, merchant and naval fleets, and forward outposts to support voyages spanning the seven seas. And if they can, how will they do business in great waters, and how should established maritime powers interact with the newcomers to safeguard longstanding interests? Commerce, bases, and ships: these are the lineaments of sea power...

Curriculum Review

The Choices Program: “Indian Independence and the Question of Partition”

I was first introduced to The Choices Program in 2006 during a weeklong intensive seminar on controversial issues in the social studies classroom, led by Diane Hess from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since then, for the past eight years, I have enjoyed introducing my students to the same compelling content and the same interactive process: first in my AP World History courses in New York City and then in my IB History courses—and more broadly in the social sciences—with my students in...

Columns, EAA Interview

Interview with 2014 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize Winners for “Indian Independence and the Question of Partition”

This is our eighteenth consecutive interview with the recipients of the AAS Franklin Buchanan Prize. This year’s winners are Leah Elliott (writer), Maya Lindberg (writer), and Tanya Waldburger (videographer), who developed the curriculum unit Indian Independence and the Question of Partition, published by The Choices Program, a national education initiative at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. Choices Program curriculum developers also won the Buchanan Prize in 2...

Feature Article

Vivekananda and Okakura On What East Offers West

When will the West understand, or try to understand, the East?1 —Okakura Tenshin, The Book of Tea As the turn of the twentieth century approached, Western nations had come to control much of the globe. These powerful nations regarded themselves as comprehensively superior to the non-Western peoples over whom they ruled. Such a dual reality—Western control plus the swaggering confidence that accompanied it—created an excruciating challenge for those on the receiving end: should they e...

Feature Article

Asia, Power, and Robes of Honor

  More than three decades ago, my wife and I ventured overland from Istanbul to Delhi. At Herat, on the western border of Afghanistan, my wife met a group of women—a matriarch, her daughters, and daughters-in-law. Although they shared no common language, my wife accompanied them over several days while they bought and sold in the markets. The matriarch liked my wife and on the day we left insisted that she accept her old, black, beautiful, fully embroidered cloak. The women showed her ...

Feature Article

Inspiration in India for a New Generation of Entrepreneurs

Business schools everywhere are looking to inspire budding new entrepreneurs. Always in question: Can entrepreneurship be taught, or must it spring from practical experience? Alan Rosling is convinced that practical experience of successful entrepreneurs can inform the education of others through his book, Boom Country? The New Wave of Indian Enterprise. Rosling’s book is also potentially useful for instructors and students who are interested in understanding important factors influencing entr...

Feature Article

Boom Country? An Interview with Alan Rosling

Alan Rosling is an entrepreneur and strategic adviser who has had a deep engagement with India over the past thirty-five years. He is co-founder of ECube, an investment manager dedicated to raising standards of environmental social and governance compliance. He cofounded Kiran Energy after leaving the Tata Group, where he was the first non-Indian Executive Director of Tata Sons (the holding company of the Tata Group), charged with internationalization of the company. His earlier career included ...

Online Supplement

Digital Archives: Teaching Indian Colonial History Through Photographs

Visual Culture Analysis Handout and Syllabus, On the Edges of Empire: India and Mexico/American Southwest Editor’s Note: The visual culture handout and syllabus that follow complement “Digital Archives: Teaching Indian Colonial History Through Photographs” by Rachel M. Ball-Phillips from the EAA winter 2015 issue (vol. 20, no. 3). KNW is the acronym for Ways of Knowing courses offered through SMU. Ways of Knowing courses cut across disciplines, exploring how natural scientists, social sc...

Feature Article

Indonesia, Asia, and the World: An Interview with Leonard C. Sebastian

Leonard C. Sebastian is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Indonesia Program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). He received his PhD from the Australian National University in 1997. Dr. Sebastian is author of Realpolitik Ideology: Indonesia’s Use of Military Force (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2006) and has been published in a number of journals, including The Journal of Strategic Studies, Indonesia, Defense & Security Analysis, the Cambridge Revie...

Feature Article

The Hooghly River: A Sacred and Secular Waterway

The Hooghly weaves through the Indian state of West Bengal from the Ganges, its parent river, to the sea. At just 460 kilometers (approximately 286 miles), its length is modest in comparison with great Asian rivers like the Yangtze in China or the Ganges itself. Nevertheless, through history, the Hooghly has been a waterway of tremendous sacred and secular significance. Until the seventeenth century, when the main course of the Ganges shifted decisively eastward, the Hooghly was the major cha...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The East India Company 1600–1858: A Short History with Documents

Ian Barrow’s slim volume uses the East India Company (or, as he refers to it throughout the book, simply the “Company”) as a case study through which to examine Britain’s colonial journey. From the Company’s inception in 1600 to its formal dissolution in 1874, its trajectory reflects England’s expanding global trade to obtaining a foothold in foreign lands to its problematic role as a colonizing country, through the growing challenges to and eventual collapse of that colonial authori...

Feature Article

Singapore Immigration and Changing Public Policies

The demographic composition of the contemporary population of Singapore reflects a complex and vibrant history of a melting pot nation that has grown out of successive waves of immigration stretching back nearly 200 years. As an immigrant society, Singapore is a product of the forces of globalization that have been a constitutive feature of the historical development of many nations. When Britain’s Sir Stamford Raffles signed a treaty in 1819 with local rulers, a swampy little island was trans...