Education About Asia

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

NOTE: Archive articles may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or classroom use only.

Book Review, Resources

India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict or Cooperation?

BY STANLEY WOLPERT BERKELEY: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS, 2010 144 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0520266773, HARDBACK Reviewed by Thomas Lamont Stanley Wolpert, one of America’s senior and foremost pundits on South Asia and India in particular, has given us a smart, concise, and accessible overview of Indian-Pakistani relations. This short book is primarily an intelligent explanation of the ongoing rivalry between India and Pakistan. Yet it is also an impassioned and eloquent call for better relatio...

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

Back in Time: Pictures Worth More than 1,000 Words

These photographs of Northeast Asia from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries give people today a window on the economic, environmental, and geopolitical context of the time. This essay introduces some of the early photographs from Japan, Korea, and adjacent lands—scenes that families in the US viewed with the aid of the right-eye, left-eye lenses of the viewstand, or stereograph, so they could enjoy a vivid 3-D experience—to learn about lands that were then unknown to them. ...

Book Review, Resources

China in World History

BY PAUL S. ROPP OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2009 208 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0195381955, PAPERBACK Writing a short history of Chinese civilization is fraught with challenges. How does one decide which events and trends from millennia of written history to include or exclude? What individual persons and ideas best represent the cultural and intellectual prolificacy of a country with the geographic dimensions and human diversity of a country like China? Given the complexity of answering these questions, ...

Book Review, Resources

The Silk Road in World History

BY XINRU LIU NEW YORK: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 168 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0195338102, PAPERBACK Professor Liu has written a comprehensive and engaging survey of Eurasian trade through the era of Mongol conquest in the thirteenth century. Her study is truly global; the book covers both East Asian and Mediterranean termini along the extensive commercial network now known as the Silk Road. The reader learns of the vast differences between the sedentary and nomadic communities of Inner Asia, as w...

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...

Book Review, Resources

Bamboo People

BY MITALI PERKINS WATERTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS:  CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING, 2010 272 PAGES, ISBN-10: 1580893287, HARDBACK Bamboo People is a coming-of-age story about two teenage boys caught up in the Burmese government’s brutal regime and its systematic repression of ethnic minority groups. The story touches upon each boy’s struggle to maintain a sense of morality, identity, and compassion in a world filled with cruelty and injustice. It is a tale that addresses current conditions of human r...

EAA Interview, Resources

An EAA Interview with 2011 Franklin R. Buchanan Co-Prize Winner Peter Perdue

This is our fifteenth consecutive interview with recipients of the Franklin Buchanan Prize. This year’s cowinners are Yale University historian Peter C. Perdue and Lynn Parisi, Director of the Program for Teaching East Asia at the University of Colorado. China and the World: The Rise and Fall of the Canton Trading System is now a component of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Visualizing Cultures digital teaching project at http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/rise_fall_canton_01...

Online Supplement

Helping Students Overcome Fear of “Foreignness” in Teaching Asian Religions

The study of Asian religions in high school and college survey courses offers both confusion and the possibility of better international understanding. The purpose of this teaching resources essay is to identify potential pit falls to avoid. Although the focus here is on Chinese religions, the likely problem areas and possible instructional solutions are applicable to other belief systems. A first common problem for students is their concern about the complexity and foreignness of vocabulary....

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

Globalizing Asian Cuisines: From Eating for Strength to Culinary Cosmopolitanism —A Long History of Culinary Globalization

Visit a restaurant or home kitchen in America or Europe today, and you inevitably find a salt and pepper shaker on the table or by the stove. While salt is a physiological necessity for human beings, pepper is a culinary necessity with negligible nutritional value. Its origins as a cultural necessity for Western peoples lie in very ancient patterns of culinary globalization. In 30 BCE Rome, under Octavian, conquered the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt. For the next five centuries, annual fleets of ov...

Resources, Review Essay

China in the World: The Rise and Fall of the Canton System

BY PETER PERDUE AND LYNN PARISI MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY VISUALIZING CULTURES As China’s relevance continues to grow, new resources are allowing teachers to offer increasingly nuanced instruction to their students. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Visualizing Cultures project has been at the forefront in this effort, giving teachers access to high-resolution historical images along with authoritative essays and readymade lessons that ask students to read photographs, ...

Book Review, Resources

To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred-Year Journey through China and Korea

BY TESSA MORRIS-SUZUKI NEW YORK: ROWMAN& LITTLEFIELD, 2010 216 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1442205031, HARDBACK Retracing the steps of historical travelers has become a popular scaffolding for travel, adventure, and historical narratives. This device allows the writer to present a region through the double vision of her own perceptions and those of the historical figure. The reader benefits from two sets of insights, each filtered through a different personality, each reacting to the same region a...

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...

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...

Book Review, Resources

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

BY BLAINE HARDEN NEW YORK: VIKING, 2012 224 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0670023325, HARDBACK This is a book that should be read by anyone interested in North Korea and in human rights issues. It joins Kang Chol-Hwan and Pierre Rigoulot’s The Aquariums of Pyongyang and Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy as among the most engaging and insightful accounts of life in that secretive country. Escape From Camp 14 is the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only known inmate in North Korea’s “total control” p...