Education About Asia

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

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Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching the Geography of India through Virtual Itineraries

By Thomas Frederick Howard Like other teachers, I have grown disillusioned with the drawbacks of the undergraduate research paper. The rising tide of plagiarism and the easy availability of papers for sale on the Internet have made vigilance necessary, wearying, and demoralizing. In my Geography and History of South Asia course, I now ask students to create an itinerary for a three-week trip in India instead of a traditional paper. This highly individualized project may engage students more t...

Book Review, Resources

India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict or Cooperation?

BY STANLEY WOLPERT BERKELEY: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS, 2010 144 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0520266773, HARDBACK Reviewed by Thomas Lamont Stanley Wolpert, one of America’s senior and foremost pundits on South Asia and India in particular, has given us a smart, concise, and accessible overview of Indian-Pakistani relations. This short book is primarily an intelligent explanation of the ongoing rivalry between India and Pakistan. Yet it is also an impassioned and eloquent call for better relatio...

Book Review

Dharma

BY ALF HILTEBEITEL HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI’I PRESS, 2010 208 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0824834869, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Catherine Benton Part of the University of Hawai`i series “Dimensions of Asian Spirituality,” Alf Hiltebeitel’s Dharma presents an enlightening discussion of dharma, a fundamental component of Hindu and Buddhist thinking. One of the goals of the “Dimensions of Asian Spirituality” series is to make available “short but comprehensive works [by distinguished schol...

Book Review, Supplemental Online Article

Understanding Contemporary India, 2nd Edition

NEIL DEVOTTA, EDITOR LYNNE RIENNER PUBLISHERS, 2010 341 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1588267153, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Christopher Shaw Professors in the evolving field of global and area studies continuously confront the challenge of “coverage.” What might a course on the Indian subcontinent, for example, responsibly omit? If the focus is on political and economic challenges, to what extent does the teacher examine modern versus ancient history? Refer to trade patterns versus regional diplomacy...

Web Gleanings

US, Asia, and the World: 1620–1914

Americans in Eastern Asia URL: http://tinyurl.com/3mqdsly The focus of this book, published in 1922, is on the relations between the United States and Korea, China, and Japan in the nineteenth century. The author relies greatly on Consular correspondence, but also refers to books and articles written in the last half of the nineteenth century. Trading Places URL: http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/trading/tradingplaces.html This is part of the British Library’s Learning Series. It ex...

Online Supplement

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....

Online Supplement

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...

Feature Article

Exploring Indian Culture through Food

Food and Identity Food (Sanskrit— bhojana,“that which is to be enjoyed,” Hindi— khana, Tamil— shapad) presents a way to understand everyday Indian culture as well as the complexities of identity and interaction with other parts of the world that are both veiled and visible. In India today,with a growing economy due to liberalization and more consumption than ever in middle class life, food as something to be enjoyed and as part of Indian culture is a popular topic. From a 1960s food e...

Feature Article

Globalizing Asian Cuisines: From Eating for Strength to Culinary Cosmopolitanism —A Long History of Culinary Globalization

Visit a restaurant or home kitchen in America or Europe today, and you inevitably find a salt and pepper shaker on the table or by the stove. While salt is a physiological necessity for human beings, pepper is a culinary necessity with negligible nutritional value. Its origins as a cultural necessity for Western peoples lie in very ancient patterns of culinary globalization. In 30 BCE Rome, under Octavian, conquered the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt. For the next five centuries, annual fleets of ov...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Website Resources: Asian Visual and Performing Arts–Part I

VISUAL ARTS Asia, General The Art of Asia URL: http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/introduction/ The collections of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese works of art have been added to this site, produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. From this introductory page, one can access the collections by culture,  period, or themes. There are thousands of objects, including 368 ukiyo-eand an extensive guide to Chinese ceramics. South and Southeast Asian Art URL: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hi...

Feature Article

Understanding Cultural Perspectives through Greek and Hindu Theater

As educators, we are constantly being asked to diversify our teaching to broaden students’ knowledge about the world in which they live. But for many, teaching about other cultures can pose significant problems. Providing materials that students find accessible yet engaging— that helps them develop creative and critical thinking—is a challenge teachers must confront. One way to begin to overcome these struggles is to look to the primary sources available to us, connect them directly to the...

Feature Article

Which Buddha is This Anyway? Notes on Identifying the Enlightened Ones

For most American educators, the imagery of Christian, Jewish, and, to a lesser extent, Muslim religious art is relatively familiar. Not only are angels and devils instantly recognized, even when they appear in the context of Saturday Night Live, but many of us heard Bible stories growing up, and some could recite a whole litany of saints and other holy beings. However, in our globalizing times, images from other religions also appear more frequently than ever—particularly in museums and galle...

Feature Article

Asia, Shakespeare, and the World: Digital Resources for Teaching about Globalization

In the marooned rehearsal of a school play in an urban comedy, a stuttering student asks their drama coach if he could play Romeo. A young lady rolls her eyes and challenges her classmate: “What makes you think that you can play Romeo? You don’t have the looks, and you can’t even speak properly.” She is quick to point out that the other student, originally cast for the male lead, is eminently more qualified even if he cannot remember his lines: “Nick, on the other hand, looks like Leon...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power

Having taken a graduate-level political geography course in which the professor assigned a Robert Kaplan book as a text (The Ends of the Earth), assigned another to a class I was teaching (Warrior Politics, for undergraduate international affairs), and read still another as a primer on a region I was about to visit for the first time (Balkan Ghosts, for a US State Department-sponsored excursion to Southeast Europe), I can personally confirm the value of his work for students, educators, and prac...

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...

Essay, Resources

How to Teach and Learn about Afghanistan: A Digital Humanities Approach: Why Study Afghanistan?

We all know about Afghanistan, but how well do we understand it? Afghanistan is America’s longest war, and millions of children from military families are affected by it, but only 12 percent of students can find Afghanistan on a map. The US hopes to transition from military to soft power as a way to stabilize the region and end the war, but, with so little knowledge and thinking about the region, there is little hope of finding peace unless education in and about the region becomes a higher pr...

Book Review, Resources

India: Brief History of a Civilization

BY THOMAS R. TRAUTMANN OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011 248 PAGES, ISBN:978-0199736324, PAPERBACK Finding the perfect textbook for a survey course can be daunting. Writing such a book is surely exponentially daunting. Thomas Trautmann, Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, understands the first point all too well, and he picks up the challenge of the second point with his unassuming yet impressive new book, India: Brief History of a Civilization, a book that mig...

Book Review, Resources

Ideas and Art in Asian Civilizations: India, China, and Japan

BY KENNETH R. STUNKEL ARMONK, NEW YORK AND LONDON ENGLAND: M.E. SHARPE, 2012 305 PAGES, ISBN 978-0765625410, PAPERBACK Ideas and Art in Asian Civilizations: India, China, and Japan is set apart from other surveys of Asia by a succinct examination of the cosmology and traditions of thought underlying seminal art and literary works from these three cultures. Explanations such as “[the] Chinese way of thinking is profoundly relational rather than sequential” (98) and “[the] poignancy of ...

Afghanistan Perspectives, Resources

The Taliban: Important Points for Teachers and Students

1. The term “Taliban” means “students” in Pashto; the organization originated in Qandahar in the early 1990s; most members were Pashtu; they ruled over the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1995–2001). 2. The Taliban emerged victorious in the civil war conflict with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan between 1992 and 1995, with military support of Pakistan and funding from Saudi Arabia. 3. The Taliban won control of Kabul and southern Afghanistan, and their numbers increased bec...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Website Resources: U.S., Asia, and the World: 1914–2012

ASIA, GENERAL American Economic Relations with Asia URL: http://bit.ly/SAfZBP In this article written by Marcus Noland for the Asian Economic Review in 2009, the author discusses the necessity of shared prosperity for Asia and the US. He looks at the current global financial crisis and long-term challenges. The Globalist URL: http://bit.ly/PU9qql There are few discussions on the Internet about Asia and Latin America. “Changing Asian and Latin American Relations” focuses on re...