Education About Asia

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

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

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...

Feature Article

Using India and China to Interest American Students in Economics

The rapid growth of the Indian and Chinese economies in the past thirty years is a boon for any teacher of the social sciences because they are a source of engaging stories that illustrate important economics concepts. The economic events in the two countries that have led millions of people to escape heart-wrenching poverty have a strong human interest element, and the stories surrounding the events have much appeal to today’s high school and college students who tend to have more global cons...

Feature Article

The U.S. as a Pacific Nation

America’s Pacific Presence On his inaugural visit to Asia as president in November 2009, Barack Obama declared himself “America’s first Pacific president” and the US a “Pacific nation.”(note 1) President Obama’s self-characterization, based no doubt on his unusual biography of having been born in Hawai`i and partly raised in Indonesia, is novel. Identifying the US as a Pacific nation, however, is a longstanding tradition, increasingly common today and one that resonates for many r...

Book Review, Resources

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

BY KATHERINE BOO NEW YORK: RANDOMHOUSE, 2012 288 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1400067558, HARDBACK At the 2012 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Asia Conference, keynote speaker Professor Yasmeen Mohiuddin concluded that India’s greatest challenge in the future is to spread its concentrated wealth among more of its citizens. Katherine Boo’s nonfiction book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, portrays that challenge in heart-wrenching detail. This is an excellent read for high school and college stud...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Website Resources: Asian Visual and Performing Arts, Part II

VISUAL ARTS ASIA, GENERAL Art of Asia Home Page URL: http://www.mfa.org/collections/asia The Museum of Fine Arts Boston has a noteworthy collection of Asian art. Their site has hundreds of images from the collection. The focus is Chinese and Japanese works of art, including paintings and prints. The images are easily accessible through the links at the bottom of the home page. Asia Contemporary Art Show URL: http://www.asiacontemporaryart.com/gallery/ Over fifty art galleries have...

Online Supplement

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....

Feature Article

A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia: Classical and Devotional Music

An audience of about 3,000 descends on the open-air Nazrul Manch Theater in South Kolkata (Calcutta) every winter at the Dover Lane Music Festival to hear the senior legends and the emerging stars of North Indian classical (or Hindustani) music. The crowd, made up of the urbane intellectuals of Kolkata and a good number of foreigners, is lively. Audience members move in and out of the hall for tea and snacks between performances, but every seat is filled for the senior artists who perform betwee...

Feature Article

How China’s Approved Destination Status Policy Spurs and Hinders Chinese Travel Abroad

Chinese tourists can be a real contributor to the global economy and world peace. China needs the world, and the world needs China. —Zhang Guangrui, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (note 1) By the end of this decade, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that the People’s Republic of China (hereafter referred to as China) will be sending 100 million tourists abroad each year. (note 2) By then, China is expected to be the world’s largest tourist-generating country. How ...

Feature Article

Bringing Students into the World: Asia in the World Literature Classroom

The term Weltliteratur (world literature) was first coined by German author Johann Wilhelm von Goethe in the late 1820s. Writing during a period of great political upheaval in Europe, he hopefully noted: There has been talk for some time of a general world literature, and indeed not without justice. For the nations, after they had been thrown into confusion by the most terrible wars [ie, the Napoleonic Wars], could not return to their independent life again without noticing that they had uncon...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Asia-Crossing Cultures Online in the K-12 Classroom

Through the Internet, students in the United States and other countries have unprecedented opportunities to learn about Asia. Various factors influence a teacher’s ability to provide connections and relevant activities to engage students in topics relating to Asia. The age of modern media provides an accessible vehicle for all students to travel to the opposite side of the globe. Classroom instruction is readily supplemented with web resources that address current topics and explore historical...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Asia Matters for America Initiative and US-Asia Relations

America’s relations with Asia have never been all or only about issues of war, peace, and treaties; and participants in these relations have never been based only in national capitals. Former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific James Kelly has remarked that the “general public has a growing sense that something big is going on in Asia.” (note 1) Public opinion polling bears this out. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs Survey for 2012 showed that, for the first ...

Online Supplement

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...

Feature Article

Cyberbullying in Asia

In Japan, a high school male attempted suicide twice and rarely left his room after receiving intimidating messages on his cellphone and having embarrassing photographs posted on the Internet. When a seventeen year-old female in India started to refuse to go to school, her mother discovered that material of a sexual nature was posted on her social networking site and that her peers were teasing her about it. A young male in India received death threats on his cellphone, warning him of dire conse...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Website Resources: Experiences in Asia –Travel Journals and Blogs

JAPAN A Life in Japan (Video) URL: http://www.alifeinjapan.com/ This documentary is almost one hour and twenty minutes long. It can be downloaded to one’s computer or watched on the Web page in a variety of formats, including English (with or without subtitles), Japanese, and Swedish. Several people from different countries respond on screen to questions – like “What is your purpose in coming to Japan?” posed by the filmmaker. It is interesting to hear the responses which, in so...

Feature Article

Sensory Experiences as Elements of Asian Studies Field Trips

Wingate University is a comprehensive university twenty-five miles east of Charlotte, North Carolina, with an undergraduate population of about 2,000. Almost 80 percent of our students are from North Carolina and many are from small towns. The student body is 60 percent female and 75 percent Caucasian. Although some of our students are well-traveled, a significant number have never been out of the country, and many have never been on an airplane. As part of Wingate’s emphasis on global edu...