Education About Asia

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

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Feature Article

Teaching Mr. Stimson

For some time now, I have taught a mixed lecture and discussion class on the atom bomb, primarily by using Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s February 1947 Harper’s Magazine article “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” (note 1) As many EAA readers no doubt know, Secretary Stimson wrote this article in response to a request by Harvard University President James Conant, a distinguished scientist who had himself worked on the bomb and hence was worried about a number of Americans who critic...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

EAA Interview with John Dower

Most EAA readers are familiar with MIT Professor John Dower, who works in modern Japanese history and US-Japan relations. He is the author of numerous publications including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (1999). Dower is both an internationally-prominent scholar and a master teacher. One of his most recent pedagogical projects, with colleague Shigeru Miyagawa, is Visualizing Cultures (VC) a Webbased, multimedia, interactive, curricula project on...

Online Supplement

NCTA Lesson Plan Handouts: “The ‘Opening’ of the East: Differing Perspectives”

For each of the following document passages, provide a brief summary and identify the nationality of the speaker. Include a rationale as to why you chose that particular country....

Feature Article

Asia in the ReMaking of the Modern World

How did our world—the modern world—get to be the way it is? By that I mean a world structured by an increasingly globalized industrial capitalism coupled with the nation state, and consequences arising from those two driving forces (e.g. rising living standards for some, but also international war, global poverty, and environmental degradation), and by 1900, military and economic domination of the world by Europe. Until recently, the answers to those questions have revolved around what happe...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Using the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index to Teach Social Science: A Plan for a Facilitated Discussion

The Lowy Institute, one of Australia’s most well-regarded think tanks, released its second annual Asia Power Index in May 2019 (available at https://power.lowyinstitute.org). High school and college educators can use this resource to get students doing hands-on explorations of Asian political, military, economic, and diplomatic power using data. Students can learn about Asia while enhancing their data literacy and critical-thinking skills. This essay provides a plan for an interactive discussi...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Dead Souls

Dead Souls Produced and Directed by Wang Bing Grasshopper Film and Icarus Films, 2018 DVD, 3 discs, 8 hours, 15 minutes, Color Mandarin / English subtitles Jiabiangou lies on the edge of the Gobi Desert near the city of Jiuquan, in the northwest pocket of China’s Gansu Province. Today, the region is home to China’s premier satellite launch center, but from 1957 to 1961, it was the nucleus of a labor camp complex in which more than 80 percent of the prisoners died, mostly of starvation. ...

Feature Article

The Russo-Japanese War and World History

By John W. Steinberg As with any war in history, the Russo-Japanese War enjoys its share of myths and legends that range from Admiral Alekseev’s barber being a Japanese spy, to the saga of the Baltic Fleet becoming the “fleet that had to die.” Perhaps because of such legends, or perhaps because World War I broke out less than a decade after the Russo-Japanese War formally ended with the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905, the centennial anniversary of Japan’s stunning victory witnessed a re...

Feature Article

Visualizing Cultures: Postcards From the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05)

Editor’s Note: New EAA subscribers might not be aware of Visualizing Cultures, founded in 2002 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professors Shigeru Miyagawa and John Dower. Visualizing Cultures, which uses technology to blend images, video, and text into superb interactive teaching units, is the source for all the graphics in this photo spread. Readers interested in the Russo-Japanese War are particularly encouraged to explore the units titled “Throwing off Asia,” “Asia Rising,”...

Book Review, Resources

Central Asia in World History

BY PETER B. GOLDEN NEW YORK: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011 192 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0195338195, PAPERBACK This volume, one of the geographically themed books in the New Oxford World History series, is a welcome addition to the quite limited number of works on Central Asian history written for high school students and college undergraduates. Peter Golden is an accomplished scholar of the region, and he offers a broad sweep of historical development, ranging from the earliest era of oasis civilizat...

Feature Article

North Korea’s 1990s Famine in Historical Perspective

North Korea suffered from a horrific famine in the mid and late 1990s. The immediate cause of the North Korean famine was the widespread flooding in August 1995 that destroyed much of the nation’s rice crop. The summer monsoon rains that come each year were especially heavy. Starting on June 26, it rained for ten days, dumping as much as twenty-three inches on parts of the country. Satellite photos suggest that a quarter of the nation’s rice paddies were under water. (note 1) The dimensions ...

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...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Western Civilization with Chinese Comparisons, 3rd edition

JOHN G. BLAIR AND JERUSHA HULL MCCORMACK SHANGHAI: FUDAN UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 635 PAGES WITH CD-ROM Since ancient times, the peoples of what are now known as China and the West have gazed at one another across vast distances of cultureand geography with intense interest, occasional enmity, and no small amount of exoticism. Han dynasty scholars wrote with wonder of the land of Daqin (Roman Syria), where seemingly every Chinese custom was turned upside down. The rulers of Daqin minted silver ...

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

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...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

BY EZRA VOGEL CAMBRIDGE, BELKNAP PRESS, 2011 849 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0674055445, HARDCOVER This most important political biography of Deng Xiaoping argues that only Deng’s unique leadership strengths made China’s extraordinary economic rise possible. Senior scholar Ezra Vogel focuses on the period from 1969 to 1992. During Mao’s vigilante violence against and purges of people perceived as disloyal to Mao and his dogmas, a period known as the Cultural Revolution, Deng was sent to a rural fa...

Feature Article

The Korean War 101: Causes, Course, and Conclusion of the Conflict

North Korea attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950, igniting the Korean War. Cold War assumptions governed the immediate reaction of US leaders, who instantly concluded that Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had ordered the invasion as the first step in his plan for world conquest. “Communism,” President Harry S. Truman argued later in his memoirs, “was acting in Korea just as [Adolf] Hitler, [Benito] Mussolini, and the Japanese had acted ten, fifteen, and twenty years earlier.” If North Korea...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

“The Story of Viet Nam: From Prehistory to the Present”: An Interview with “Key Issues” Author, Shelton Woods

The Story of Việt Nam is an overview of Việt Nam’s history from the first days of village life along the Red River in the north to the rise of the modern mega metropolis of the south’s Hồ Chí Minh City. As the title suggests, the book is a tale—a narrative that is built around four themes: land and freedom, persistence of cultural values, shifting tides of global interests in Việt Nam, and the vital role Việt Nam will play in shaping the twenty-first century....

Feature Article

The Mongolian World Empire: Does It Matter?

I teach a variety of Asian civilization courses, and when we come to the Mongol world empire, students invariably question my credibility. “Pax Mongolica?” they say. “Mongolian Peace? Are you nuts?” “Well, yes,” I am forced to admit, “but not right now and not about this.” When I poll the students about their knowledge of Chinggis Khan (a.k.a Genghis Khan), without exception they report that he was the most irredeemably destructive conqueror of all time. “That’s because all t...

Online Supplement

Terrorism in Central Asia: Dynamics, Dimensions, and Sources

Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Central Asia has experienced a deluge of religious activity. All of the Central Asian republics—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan —have seen the rapid construction of new mosques; the opening of madrassas; and a noticeable upswing in Muslim consciousness, evidenced in a marked increase in the practitioners of Islam. Along with moderate and traditional forms of Islam, radical and militant Islamic trends have al...

Feature Article

The New Mongolia: From Gold Rush to Climate Change

For decades, it was common for courses on East Asia to focus almost exclusively on China and Japan, with only an occasional nod to the existence of either Korea or Mongolia. And if Korea was little spoken of, Mongolia hardly seemed to exist at all. Today, of course, coverage of Korea has expanded somewhat, but Mongolia still remains the largely forgotten orphan of Asian Studies, something I hope to change through this essay. In fact, today’s Mongolia has emerged as a nation particularly linked...
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