Education About Asia

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

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

Online Supplement

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...

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

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...

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...

Feature Article

The Selden Map and the Archipelagos of East and Southeast Asia

The newly rediscovered Selden Map of China gives us profound insights about how Chinese merchants living along the coast of the Ming Empire and across East Asia understood the world at the dawn of modernity. Discovering a Map In early 2008, while researching in the archives of Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, I rediscovered the earliest surviving Chinese map made by maritime merchants. This is the now celebrated Selden Map, a beautifully painted, approximately three-by-five, early ...

Feature Article

Admiral Zheng He’s Voyages to the “West Oceans”

Eighty years before Vasco da Gama’s arrival in West India, a formidable Chinese navy ruled the China Sea and Indian Ocean, from Southeast Asia to the Persian Gulf and East Africa. Between the period from 1405 to 1433, China’s Ming dynasty launched seven voyages led by Admiral Zheng He to explore these vast regions, known then to the Chinese as the “West Oceans.” One such voyage typically featured over 300 vessels, including a number of “treasure ships” over 400 feet long, accompanied...

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...

Feature Article

Maritime Southeast Asia: Not Just a Crossroads

Crossroads and Inroads Southeast Asia’s reputation as a crossroads is anchored in histories of trade and empire, which, of course, also includes piracy. While these play important roles in the study of the region’s maritime history, advances in recent decades include other themes and approaches as well. Southeast Asian source material remains vital to countering scholars who neglect or underutilize such sources and portray the region as dominated by the actions of outsiders. In addition, t...

Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Robert D. Kaplan’s “Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific”

When Robert D. Kaplan talks, people listen. Kaplan has authored over a dozen books on subjects ranging from the conflicts of the Middle East to the wars of the Balkan Peninsula, and his uncanny ability to assess international trends has catapulted him onto Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In his latest book, Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, he demonstrates that the Southeast Asian littoral may very well be the locus of the mo...

Feature Article

The Story of Indian Business: The Great Transition into the New Millennium

Indian entrepreneurship, innovation, and business firms have gone through a plethora of changes, particularly in the last three decades. The most significant change is the result of national government policies that had the effect of moving away from postcolonial Nehruvian socialism and creating a climate for more economic freedom for entrepreneurs and private businesses. The 1990s was the watershed decade for these revolutionary changes. Indian business suddenly took off with a new outburst of ...

Columns, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Southeast Asia in the Humanities and Social Science Curricula

SOUTHEAST ASIA Map of Southeast Asia URL: http://tinyurl.com/moko9d6 This map gives the reader an idea of the complicated geography of Southeast Asian countries. Each country is shown with a different color, making it easy to identify them. Ancient Lights: The Geography and Cultures of Southeast Asia (video) Volume 1, URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_WkIb01bs8 Volume 2, URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJtGyOFKVa4 These videos, from Ancient Lights: The Geography and Cul...

Online Supplement

Online Resources for “USG Asia Council: Teaching Southeast Asia Workshop” and “Teaching Southeast Asia Interactively: The ASEAN ‘Plus Three’ Simulation”

“USG Asia Council Teaching Southeast Asia Workshop” From Paul Rodell’s Southeast Asian History Presentation “Southeast Asia in World History,” World History Bulletin, Spring 2009. Available at http://tinyurl.com/mmut7v9 PDF and PowerPoint Presentations “Southeast Asia History: Themes & Resources,” http://tinyurl.com/pawfzlt. “Early Southeast Asian States,” part I, http://tinyurl.com/qckqmcw; part III, http://tinyurl. com/ltn6whm. (part II is currently unavailable on...

Feature Article

Teaching Southeast Asia Interactively: The ASEAN “Plus Three” Simulation

Interactive simulations, games, and role-playing exercises have become popular methods to engage students in the classroom by assigning them specific roles within a political process and asking them to act like real political actors. These exercises offer numerous advantages, including improved information retention, development of critical thinking, speaking and presentation skills, and increased student interest in the subject.1 In the essay below, we present the advantages of selecting ASEAN ...

Feature Article, Special Segment: Teaching Southeast Asia

Focus Upon Three Southeast Asia Nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand

Indonesia Few nations claim the breadth and depth of ethnic groups, cultural practices, languages, and lifestyles as Indonesia. With over 250 million people scattered across over 7,000 islands, and 700 languages and dialects in use, Indonesia seems to defy the idea of nation or state. Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims of any nation in the world, but not all Indonesians are Muslim. Most people living on Bali practice a special form of Hinduism. In the eastern part of the archipelag...

Feature Article, Special Segment: Teaching Southeast Asia

Teaching and Learning About Southeast Asia

Editor’s Introduction: Given Southeast Asia’s relative neglect in schools and higher education, the authors of this segment provide both a convincing case for Southeast Asia in the classroom and comprehensive teacher/student resources. Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, East Timor, Việt Nam, and the Philippines— why is it important for middle, high school, and college students to learn about Southeast Asia? What might interest them about this area...

Feature Article

Integrating Viet Nam into World History Surveys

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Việt Nam War of the 1960–70s remains the major, and sometimes only, point of entry of Việt Nam into the American imagination. This is true for popular culture in general and the classroom in particular. Although the Việt Nam War ended almost forty years ago, American high school and college students continue to learn about Việt Nam mostly as a war and not as a country. Whatever coverage of Việt Nam found in history textbooks is primarily devo...

Feature Article

An EAA Interview with Satu Limaye: Why Southeast Asia Matters for America and the World

Satu Limaye was named Director of the East-West Center in Washington in February 2007. He is also a Senior Adviser at the CNA Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis organization located in Alexandria, Virginia. From October 2005 to February 2007, he was a Research Staff Member of the Strategy and Resources Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) and from July 1998 to October 2005 Director of Research and Publications at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), a...

Feature Article

From the Nisshin to the Musashi: The Military Career of Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) aircraft set out on one of the most famous operations in military history: a surprise air attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawai`i. The attack was devised and fashioned by Admiral Yamamoto, whose entire military career seems to have been leading to this very moment. Yamamoto was a naval officer who appreciated and understood the strategic and technological advantages of naval aviation. This essay will explore Yamamoto...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Multiple Asias: Confessions of a Europeanist Teaching World History

Editor’s Note: A syllabus for the course described in this article is available in the online supplements for this issue. History provides context. Today’s students are growing up in a world where political crises on other continents affect their lives. Tomorrow’s citizens will need an ever-broader array of background knowledge to understand the world around them. History teachers have an opportunity and obligation to provide their students with the context necessary to understand the ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

School Textbooks and East Asia’s “History Wars”: A Comparative Approach to Teaching About Perspective, Bias, and Historical Memory

As EAA readers are well-aware, the question of historical memory is considerably salient in the context of East Asia. History—especially twentieth-century history—remains a recurring source of debate and contention in the region. At times, such disagreements have escalated into rancorous national and international disputes, even sparking violence and disrupting normal international relations, economic activity, and individuals’ daily lives. Many of these disputes have typically focused ...