Education About Asia

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

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Feature Article

Dean Worcester’s Photographs and American Perceptions of the Philippines

When the US acquired its overseas colonies in the aftermath of the Spanish American War, photography quickly established itself as part of the colonial project. Photographs in magazines and newspapers brought the war home to American readers. Postcards and stereographs were popular consumer objects. Illustrated travel books, detailing the landscapes and peoples of the new colonies, were bestsellers. Photographs could provide visual evidence of the supposedly backward state of the colonies, whic...

Feature Article

America and the Philippines: Modern Civilization and City Planning

The Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines on May 1, 1898, fundamentally changed the course of American history and America’s relationship with Southeast Asia. In the ensuing months, Spanish colonialism in the Philippines collapsed and was replaced by American sovereignty. As an upshot of this transition, the United States changed from being a republic based on the consent of the governed to, for the first time, being a ruler of a distant territory. Notably, too, its self-perception altered. ...

Online Supplement

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...

Feature Article, Taiwan The People's Republic of China and the US: A Symposium

Calm or Dangerous? The Taiwan Strait

Relations between Taiwan (Republic of China-ROC) and China (People’s Republic of China-PRC) are dynamic, and Taiwan-US relations in the Asia Pacific are of vital interest for the US. When two tigers are fighting in a valley, it is good to watch them from the top of a hill. This Chinese saying reflects at this moment the situation with Taiwan (ROC) and the People’sRepublic of China (PRC), as the PRC and Japan continue a tough diplomatic struggle about the uninhabited Diaoyu Islands (Japan...

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...

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...

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 ...

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 ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Southeast Asia: Past & Present (Seventh Edition)

The seventh edition of D.R. SarDesai’s Southeast Asia: Past and Present is an ambitious and updated study that gives the reader a sweeping and informative view of the history of the region. In about 370 pages, SarDesai seeks to introduce readers to the major themes and problems in Southeast Asian history from the prehistoric period to the present. For students of Southeast Asian history, this text offers a solid introduction to the region while providing an ample base from which to leap into m...

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

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...

Web Gleanings

Website Resources: Asia: Biographies and Personal Stories, Part 1

JAPAN Emperor Hirohito Biography (video) URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LDU33-SzQQ Produced by the BBC, the almost-50-minute video focuses on the lifeof Hirohito during the years of World War II. The cinematic footage is interspersed with comments by scholars and others, including Professor Carol Gluck and the granddaughter of Tōjō. Andō Hiroshige Biography URL: http://www.hiroshige.org.uk/hiroshige/main/biography.htm In this brief biography of Hiroshige, the essential fact...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Visualizing Southeast Asian Cities: Multimodal Writing Pedagogies in a Global Asian University

The Visualizing Southeast Asian Cities class starts with a map of the region, whose parts not every student is able to identify. We look at other maps, of transit systems and tourist trails, through which the infrastructure of knowledge that determines the movements and practices of individuals is revealed. First taught in early 2014, Visualizing Southeast Asian Cities is the second tier of a two-module writing program called Ideas and Exposition, which forms part of the core curriculum for s...

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

USG Asia Council: Teaching Southeast Asia Workshop

On April 11th and 12th, 2014, the Asia Council of the USG hosted a workshop titled “Teaching Southeast Asia” for university and college faculty. In total, six sessions of one hour and fifteen minutes each were conducted by five presenters and covered a wide range of topics: basic history, religion, cartography, global trade networks, economics, religion, literature, and indigenous cultures. This workshop was the third in a series sponsored by the Asia Council that began in response to sta...

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

The Philippines: An Overview of the Colonial Era

In the Beginning Although the details vary in the retelling, one Philippine creation myth focuses on this core element: a piece of bamboo, emerging from the primordial earth, split apart by the beak of a powerful bird. From the bamboo a woman and man come forth, the progenitors of the Filipino people. The genesis of the Philippine nation, however, is a more complicated historical narrative. During their sixteenth-century expansion into the East, Ferdinand Magellan and other explorers bearing th...