Education About Asia

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

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

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

China’s Rise in Historical Perspective

EDITED BY BRANTLEY WOMACK LANHAM: ROWMAN AND LITTLEFIELD, 2010 286 PAGES, 978-0-7425-6722-1, PAPERBACK Although China’s Rise in Historical Perspective, edited by Brantley Womack, may be too advanced for secondary schools or lower-level undergraduate classes, it is an important book meriting serious attention from teachers at all levels for deepening their understanding of how China has come to challenge the economic primacy of the United States in such a short time. Discussion of China’...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics

ALISA GAUNDER, EDITOR LONDON AND NEW YORK: ROUTLEDGE, 2011 464 PAGES ISBN: 978-0415551373, HARDBACK Japan’s political economy has changed markedly in the past fifteen years. Long-term dominance by the Liberal Democratic Party in alliance with an elite bureaucracy crumbled in the 1990s in the face of unstable party politics and new societal pressures. These changes have been documented and analyzed by scholars, but a comprehensive overview of changes and continuities in Japan’s politics ...

Film Review Essay, Resources

The Nine Lives of Norodom Sihanouk

Throughout Cambodia’s modern history, marked as it has been by drama and tragedy in almost equal measure, there has been one constant: the presence of Norodom Sihanouk in his multiple roles. He has been king twice; chief of state; prime minister several times; and most controversially, an associate of the Khmer Rouge, who took power under Pol Pot in 1975. Still alive today at the age of eighty-nine and enjoying the title of King Father, Sihanouk is one of international politics’ great surviv...

Feature Article

Prodigy of Taiwan, Diva of Asia: Teresa Teng

Teresa Teng (1953–1995) is the best-known and most beloved singer in the history of modern East Asia. Born on the island of Taiwan soon after it became the seat of the anti-Communist Republic of China (ROC), Teresa quickly emerged as a Mandarin pop sensation among overseas Chinese. In her early twenties, she proceeded to take Japan by storm as a surpassing singer of pensive Japanese ballads. By the end of the 1970s, in turn, her fame had spread far into the People’s Republic of China (PRC), ...

Essay, Resources

East Asian International Relations: Peaceful and Stable for Centuries

How did international relations function in East Asia from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries—that is, before the arrival of the Western colonial powers? We typically use European history and European ideas as the basis for thinking about world history and international relations. Ideas that emanated from the 1688 Peace of Westphalia include the independent sovereignty of each nation-state, the inherent equality of those nation-states, and “balance of power.” But, it may be that th...

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...

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...

EAA Interview, Resources

An EAA Interview with 2012 Franklin R. Buchanan Co-Prize Winners for The United States in Afghanistan,The Choices Program: Andy Blackadar, Sarah Massey, and Tanya Waldburger

This is our sixteenth consecutive interview with recipients of the AAS Franklin Buchanan Prize. Normally, we publish the interview and accompanying curriculum materials review in the winter issue, but because of our special section, we moved this segment to the fall issue. The 2012 Buchanan Prize winners were Andy Blackadar, Sarah Massey, and Tanya Waldburger, who, along with colleagues at the “The Choices for the 21st Century Education Program,” a national education initiative developed at ...

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

Languages as a Key to Understanding Afghanistan’s Cultures

The 2004 constitution of Afghanistan stipulates that two Indo-Iranian languages—Pashto and Dari (the official Afghan term for the language known elsewhere as Farsi, Persian, and Tajiki)—shall be recognized as the “two official languages of the state,” while in those “areas where the majority of the people speak in any one of Uzbeki, Turkmani, Pachaie, Nuristani, Baluchi, or Pamiri languages,” these languages “shall be the third official languages.” This secondary official status ...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

EAA Interview with the Authors of “Fragments of the Afghan Frontier,” Benjamin D. Hopkins and Magnus Marsden

Benjamin D. Hopkins and Magnus Marsden are, respectively, a historian and an anthropologist. In 2011, they coauthored Fragments of the Afghan Frontier. The book is intended for both the public and scholars. In his review of Fragments, Mark Beautement, former UK Ministry of Defence district political officer in Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan during 2009–10, who worked with British Commandos and US Marines, commented, “Fragments of the Afghan Frontier combines painstaking recent anthrop...

Feature Article

Aid Agencies and Afghanistan: The End of an Affair?

On a world map, Afghanistan—a country evoking images of conflict, violence, poverty, mass migration, and religious extremism to a Western audience—would appear as a somehow marginal place if it were not a focus of the global war on terror. However, it is also the destination of thousands of experts who conceive their endeavor as a struggle between the values of modernity (democracy, human rights, women’s empowerment, secular education, and accountability) and those of archaic traditions an...

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...