Education About Asia

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

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Feature Article

What History Can Teach Us About Contemporary Afghanistan

Almost every American today knows Afghanistan is located in the heart of Asia. We were not always that informed. When my wife and I learned in the summer of 1964 that we would be going as Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) to Afghanistan, our family members and friends thought we were off to Africa. But after the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the ensuing military and civil presence of the US in that country, Americans are familiar with even more than the location ...

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...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

The United States in Afghanistan

THE CHOICES PROGRAM, 2011 WATSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES PROVIDENCE, RI: BROWN UNIVERSITY It is essential for today’s youth to acquire a broad set of skills to be active participants in the democratic process, yet teachers are often challenged to find quality teaching materials to facilitate classroom dialogue focused around current global issues. So how can educators teach their students to engage in civic learning activities to develop effective skills for participation in t...

Book Review, Resources

A Far Away Home

BY HOWARD FABER OMAHA: WRITELIFE PUBLISHERS, 2012 168 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1608080519, PAPERBACK A Far Away Home is a candid portrayal of life in Afghanistan over the past fifty plus years. In some countries such a story might be mundane or trivial. However, the life of protagonist Ali takes us through successive oppressors—the Soviets and the Taliban—and the entrance of the US military into Afghanistan in 2001. This is a novel that alternates between anguish and despair to hope and triump...

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...

Afghanistan Perspectives, EAA Interview, Resources

Interview with Master Sergeant Michael W. Howland: The War in Afghanistan

Master Sergeant Michael W. Howland (MSG) is currently Senior Military Instructor for the award-winning University of Mississippi ROTC program. MSG Howland entered active duty in the United States Army in 1988 when he enlisted as an Infantryman and graduated from Basic/AIT and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 2000, he was assigned to US Army Special Operations Command, where he served until being assigned to the Rebel Battalion at the University of Mississippi in June 2010. MSG Howlan...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Pearl Harbor: A New Japanese Perspective

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the seminal events of American history. It forced America’s entry into World War II and marked this country’s emergence as a world power and dominant actor on the world scene. Until that time, the US had been an economic powerhouse, but a military midget with little interest in pursuing global conquest. Unfortunately, few Americans today have any true understanding of why Japan, a comparatively small nation already engaged in a full scale war in ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Pacific Heart of Darkness: Remembering World War II Combat Experiences

Author’s Note: All the teaching materials recommended in this essay are available in English at reasonable prices. The Japanese books are translated into English, and the Japanese films come with English subtitles. While the complete series of The War (PBS) and The Pacific (HBO) are released in DVD box sets, this article concerns only selected episodes, which are reasonably priced and can be purchased from Amazon Instant Video. The focus is also primarily on the scenes available in YouTube vid...

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

China, Don’t be Stupid

An anonymous diplomat from Taiwan said: Personally, I think we Taiwanese should not depend on this kind of wishful thinking that America will help us. We should get prepared and more globalized, so that it is such an important link in the world that China will think twice before taking any stupid actions. (May 2012) This anonymous diplomat was referring to the possibility that China will attack his country when I asked him whether, in his opinion, the US would react militarily. Currently, an...

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...

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

A Unique Trilateral Relationship: The US, the PRC, and Taiwan since 1949

The US was an ally of China—the Republic of China (ROC)—during World War II. After WWII, the Kuomintang (KMT) that ruled the ROC and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) engaged in a bloody civil war. With the Communist victory imminent, the KMT government retreated to Taiwan. In October 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established on the mainland. During and after WWII, the US became disenchanted with the corrupt and inefficient KMT. As the Communist forces swept across the ...

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

Why Are We Still Talking About Taiwan?

Editor’s introduction: Taiwan-PRC relations and their ramifications for the US, as well as Asia’s stability, are critical regional and world topics. In what follows, academics and journalists, all of whom share substantial knowledge regarding the Taiwan issue, provide different perspectives on various aspects regarding this critical issue. With twenty-three million people and 14,000 square miles of territory, Taiwan ranks between Madagascar and Mozambique in population and Belgium and Bhu...

Online Supplement

Japanese Exclusion and the American Labor Movement: 1900 to 1924

While Chinese exclusion remained an important political issue in the late nineteenth century, efforts to exclude Japanese immigrants gained momentum in the early twentieth century and culminated in the Japanese Exclusion provision of the 1924 Immigration Act. Anti-Japanese agitation, sometimes rising to the level of hysteria, occurred despite the fact that there was no great influx of immigrants from Japan. According to the annual report of the commissioner general of immigration, the continenta...

Film Review Essay, Resources

ANPO: The Art X War: The Art of Resistance

DIRECTED BY LINDA HOAGLUND, PRODUCED BY NEW DAY FILMS, 2010 JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES, 89 MINUTES ANPO is an intriguing mix of anti-war paintings, documentary, feature film, anime (animation) clips, interviews with the artists in Japanese with English subtitles, and brief English language comments by author and CIA critic Tim Weiner. Although there are references to such things as Japanese atrocities in World War II and the terror felt by victims of American firebombing, most of the emph...

Film Review Essay, Resources

The Revolutionary

PRODUCED BY IRV DRASNIN, STOURWATER PICTURES BY IRV DRASNIN, LUCY OSTRANDER, AND DON SELLERS 92 MINUTES, COLOR, 201 In 1945, Sidney Rittenberg arrived in China as a US Army language specialist. Soon thereafter, he trekked across the country to Mao Zedong’s capital in Yan’an and asked to join the Chinese Communist Party. For the next three decades, Rittenberg remained in China, serving as a vocal and powerful defender of Mao’s revolution. The Revolutionary combines powerful visual imag...

Feature Article

The Nixon-Mao Summit: A Week that Changed the World?

In an age of unprecedented Sino-American contact, cooperation, and competition, it is hard to believe that a scant four decades ago, our two peoples barely knew one another. In February 1972, President Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao Zedong held a summit that laid the foundation for the Sino-American relationship as we know it. Perhaps you have seen the images before: the president and First Lady Pat Nixon fronting a large entourage on the Great Wall; a frail, though still sharp, Mao wearing an i...

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...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

Serving in the Occupation: An Interview with Wilton Dillon

Born in Yale, Oklahoma, in 1923, anthropologist Wilton S. Dillon is now Senior Scholar Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution, where he has spent more than forty years. He came there in 1969 from the National Academy of Sciences as Director of Smithsonian International Symposia and later Founding Director of Interdisciplinary Studies. Dillon earned a 1951 BA at the University of California, Berkeley, in Communications and Public Policy. His 1961 Columbia Anthropology PhD dissertation was publis...

Feature Article

Pearl Harbor and Pan-Asianism: Teaching Ideology as History

“So, Why Did the Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor?” This question, however fraught with oversimplification we may find it, is still a great one for inspiring students to study history. It tantalizes novices with the possibility of a singular answer. Defying an easy solution, it teaches stern lessons to advanced students about the necessity of deploying multiple and overlapping layers when building historical explanations. It is also a question that continues to fire popular imagination. First, ...