Education About Asia

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

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Book Review

A History of Thailand, 2nd Edition

BY CHRIS BAKER AND PASUK PHONGPAICHIT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2009 315 PAGES, ISBN 978-0-521-75915-1, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Timothy Hoare “History was invented for the nation-state. It has the tendency to imagine the false unity of a self-same national subject evolving through time.” In this opening sentence of A History of Thailand (Cambridge, 2009), authors Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit identify what is often amiss in our overall assumptions about political entities, i.e.,...

Feature Article

Spheres of Transaction in Thai Buddhism

If the diversity of religious experience and expression share anything, it is that they are both transactional: one offers something in order to receive something. Actions of sacrifice, prayer, devotional study, and even service are ultimately seeking a balance of some kind between self and other. But, while transaction in itself is universal, the manner in which transactions are carried out is particular, in that it is necessarily determined by a cultural context. Each one shapes the other: whe...

Feature Article

The Politics of the Thai Table: Food, Manners, Values

Many readers have probably wandered into a Thai restaurant somewhere in North America or Western Europe, ordered a plate of pad thai, and scooped it up with a fork held in the right hand. (note 1) They have probably viewed the offerings on the menu somewhat nervously and then perhaps tried a few other dishes—as long as they were not too spicy. Mouths on fire, they have ended the meal with a comforting Thai dessert, often mango and sticky rice or a sweet pudding, and washed the whole thing down...

Essay, Resources

Introduction to Contemporary Korean Ceramic Artists

Mei-ling Hom is an artist and independent scholar. In 2007, she was awarded a Fulbright research grant to study and document contemporary Korean ceramics. She traveled for ten months with a fellow artist, David McClelland, throughout South Korea, seeking Korean ceramic artists to interview and document. From their research, they produced a CD called “Contemporary Korean Ceramic Artists.” Besides art installations, sculpture, and ceramics, Hom’s artwork includes public art commissions at th...

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...

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

China and the World Economy

The Great Rebalancing Trade, Conflict, and the Perilous Road Ahead for the World Economy By MICHAEL PETTIS Princeton University Press, 2013 The Globalization Paradox Democracy and the Future of the World Economy By DANI RODRIK  W. W. Norton & Company, 2012 The Leaderless Economy Why the World Economy System Fell Apart and How to Fix It By PETER TEMIN AND DAVID VINES Princeton University Press, 2013   The global impact of China’s rise, as presented by these in...

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

Islam Encountered: Confronting Stereotypes and Fostering Knowledge

In this article, I discuss how field trips offer unique opportunities to craft a more nuanced and grounded understanding of religion in Southeast Asia, particularly Islam. I argue that rather than exert a lot of energy on “mythbusting” religious stereotypes through direct counterfactuals, encouraging students to channel these stereotypes towards a reflexive introspection has proven to be pedagogically beneficial. I then discuss field trips as a potentially fruitful opportunity to embody reli...

Feature Article

International Engagement Through Experiential Learning: Southeast Asian Case Studies

Our world today is defined by rapid and pervasive connections, whether in our globally interlinked economic systems and financial networks, the movement of goods and services, or the interactions of people and communities. Technological advances are further facilitating and expanding these connections, providing multiple platforms for sharing information, ideas, and innovations while collapsing boundaries and distances. Technology is also changing the ways we think about friendship, culture, com...

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, 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

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...

Columns, Web Gleanings

Asia: Biographies and Personal Stories, Part II

JAPAN Portal Japan/Selected Biographies URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Japan/Selected_biography This page presents fourteen biographies of a variety of people associated with Japan, including some Japanese citizens. Many of them are from the arts and most of them were born in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Each short biography is linked to a longer and more detailed one in the Wikipedia archives on the site. Japan: Peeps at History URL: http://tinyurl.com/ngrnmuk This...

Feature Article

Democracy in Asia

In June 2015, Utah State University hosted a graduate-level workshop for teachers on “Democracy in Asia: A Universal or American System?”1 Eight Asia specialists from three universities convened to share their expertise with local educators. Recognizing that a brief article cannot do justice to a weeklong workshop, we are still committed to extending the fruits of that local outreach to a broader community. What follows are a few highlights from each workshop session, including suggested sou...