Education About Asia

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Feature Article

Entry into China and Market Intelligence: Machine Tool Exporters as a Case Study in Human Geography

By Dawn M. Drake and Ronald Kalafsky This article presents the case study method as a pedagogical tool to study the geography and economics of Asia in middle school and high school classrooms, as well as in undergraduate courses, using the case of United States machine tool manufacturers in China. The case study method is generally associated with undergraduate and graduate business courses, although it is utilized in many disciplines and increasingly at various education levels. Case studies...

Book Review, Supplemental Online Article

Understanding Contemporary India, 2nd Edition

NEIL DEVOTTA, EDITOR LYNNE RIENNER PUBLISHERS, 2010 341 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1588267153, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Christopher Shaw Professors in the evolving field of global and area studies continuously confront the challenge of “coverage.” What might a course on the Indian subcontinent, for example, responsibly omit? If the focus is on political and economic challenges, to what extent does the teacher examine modern versus ancient history? Refer to trade patterns versus regional diplomacy...

Essay, Resources

Advice to Students Choosing a Foreign Language: Go Asian

Having been a college professor for more than three decades, I have come to expect that one or two students will ask—almost weekly— what language he or she should study in college and why. First, I tell my students that studying a foreign language requires a considerable commitment of time and energy, and it should be viewed as a lifetime endeavor; thus, the choice deserves careful consideration. Then I tell them that to answer the question, one must ask: What languages are going to be the ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute

BY DAVID C. KANG NEW YORK: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 240 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0231153188, HARDBACK David C. Kang examines East Asia during a time when relations between centers of power were well established but before the Westphalian concepts of “states” and “countries” were established. Kang presents a detailed study of the politics and history of the region that challenges the Eurocentric assumptions so often accepted by teachers and students in the West; how power was exerted an...

Feature Article, Focus on Japanese Democracy: Part 2

Will Japan Change?

Is Japan once again changing? Unlike 1868, when the newly empowered Meiji emperor moved to Tokyo to preside over a series of dramatic changes that became more generally known as the Meiji Restoration, or 1945, when the Allied Occupation allied with relatively progressive Japanese to create a new constitution and institute a set of major reforms, Japan has yet to see a truly dramatic leader or many public protests. Yet a less dramatic series of political, economic, and social developments, combin...

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 ...

Essay, Resources

Chinese Foreign Direct Investment: Looking Abroad from an Emerging Economy

Foreign direct investment (FDI) can occur when a firm either establishes operations or purchases a controlling interest in the business operations of a company in another country. Companies often engage in FDI for three straightforward reasons: to grow their sales, to expand their geographical market range, or to take advantage of the firm’s own assets (e.g., brand name, technologies). If a firm is to increase its revenue, domestic sales are often not enough, and the company is required to exp...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power

Having taken a graduate-level political geography course in which the professor assigned a Robert Kaplan book as a text (The Ends of the Earth), assigned another to a class I was teaching (Warrior Politics, for undergraduate international affairs), and read still another as a primer on a region I was about to visit for the first time (Balkan Ghosts, for a US State Department-sponsored excursion to Southeast Europe), I can personally confirm the value of his work for students, educators, and prac...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse

BY SHELLEY RIGGER NEW YORK: ROWMAN LITTLEFIELD, 2011 232 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1442204799, HARDCOVER Upon receiving the review copy of Dr. Shelley Rigger’s Why Taiwan Matters, I must admit to my assumption that I would be reviewing a high-caliber, insightful, detailed, and well-documented book. Although this is in fact the case, what was surprising is that for a scholarly work, this book is a real page-turner. Rigger spins a rich tapestry of Taiwan’s development in an extraordinary interdisc...

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...

Film Review Essay

Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness

TOM VENDETTI AND JOHN WEHRHEIM VENDETTI PRODUCTIONS, LLC DVD, 57 MINUTES, 2007 From the opening photos of an idyllic remote setting to friendly young monks to prayer flags whipping in the morning breeze carrying peace prayers, you know where to find Shangri La. That is the strength and weakness of this beautifully filmed video portrayal of Bhutan. The Exotic Other is colorfully on display, providing a feast for the eye and ear that is fine as far as it goes but is thinner on real world perspe...

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

Teaching Resources to Accompany the Feature Article “China’s Great Leap Forward”

These teaching resources accompany Clayton Brown’s article “China’s Great Leap Forward” in Education About Asia 17, no. 3 (2012): 29–34. To Live MGM World Films, 2003,video and dvd release, 2007 English subtitles, black and white and color Many insightful narratives of the Great Leap Forward exist that work well in the classroom. Although its scope is broader than the Great Leap Forward, the film To Live depicts both the enthusiasm and tragic consequences of the campaign. Directed b...

Feature Article

Using India and China to Interest American Students in Economics

The rapid growth of the Indian and Chinese economies in the past thirty years is a boon for any teacher of the social sciences because they are a source of engaging stories that illustrate important economics concepts. The economic events in the two countries that have led millions of people to escape heart-wrenching poverty have a strong human interest element, and the stories surrounding the events have much appeal to today’s high school and college students who tend to have more global cons...

Feature Article

China’s Great Leap Forward

From 1960–1962, an estimated thirty million people died of starvation in China, more than any other single famine in recorded human history. Most tragically, this disaster was largely preventable. The ironically titled Great Leap Forward was supposed to be the spectacular culmination of Mao Zedong’s program for transforming China into a Communist paradise. In 1958, Chairman Mao launched a radical campaign to outproduce Great Britain, mother of the Industrial Revolution, while simultaneously ...

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 ...