Education About Asia

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Book Review, Resources

Korean Spirituality

BY DON BAKER UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I PRESS, 2008 151 PAGES ISBN: 978-0-8248-3257-5, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Mary E. Connor Korean Spirituality by Don Baker, a professor at the University of British Columbia, is an accessible and engaging guidebook to the distinctive religious and philosophical belief systems on the Korean peninsula. Its value is manifold. Because Korea has one of the most vibrant and diverse religious cultures of any nation in the world, lucid exposure to its beliefs and practi...

Book Review

Dharma

BY ALF HILTEBEITEL HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI’I PRESS, 2010 208 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0824834869, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Catherine Benton Part of the University of Hawai`i series “Dimensions of Asian Spirituality,” Alf Hiltebeitel’s Dharma presents an enlightening discussion of dharma, a fundamental component of Hindu and Buddhist thinking. One of the goals of the “Dimensions of Asian Spirituality” series is to make available “short but comprehensive works [by distinguished schol...

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...

EAA Interview

American and European Missionaries in East Asia: An Interview with Professor Donald Clark

Donald Clark is the Murchison Professor of History and Co-Director of East Asian Studies at Trinity University. He also serves as Director of Trinity’s International Studies Program. He teaches courses on China, Japan, Korea, and the history of American foreign relations with a research focus on Korea, where he spent much of his life as the son of missionaries. In addition to writing books and journal articles on a variety of East Asian topics, Professor Clark has also published two works that...

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, Online Supplement, Resources

Teaching the Daode Jing

GARY D. DEANGELIS AND WARREN G. FRISINA, EDITORS OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, NEW YORK, 2008 206 PAGES, 978-0-19-533270-4, PAPERBACK Why the Daode Jing is a special text comes out clearly in Teaching the Daode Jing. In general, this volume will be more useful to college/university nonspecialists than high school teachers. Some essays, however, will be more helpful than others for teachers such as those by Judith Berling, Geoffrey Foy, and John Thompson, which offer more “nuts and bolts” class...

Feature Article

Which Buddha is This Anyway? Notes on Identifying the Enlightened Ones

For most American educators, the imagery of Christian, Jewish, and, to a lesser extent, Muslim religious art is relatively familiar. Not only are angels and devils instantly recognized, even when they appear in the context of Saturday Night Live, but many of us heard Bible stories growing up, and some could recite a whole litany of saints and other holy beings. However, in our globalizing times, images from other religions also appear more frequently than ever—particularly in museums and galle...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Western Civilization with Chinese Comparisons, 3rd edition

JOHN G. BLAIR AND JERUSHA HULL MCCORMACK SHANGHAI: FUDAN UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 635 PAGES WITH CD-ROM Since ancient times, the peoples of what are now known as China and the West have gazed at one another across vast distances of cultureand geography with intense interest, occasional enmity, and no small amount of exoticism. Han dynasty scholars wrote with wonder of the land of Daqin (Roman Syria), where seemingly every Chinese custom was turned upside down. The rulers of Daqin minted silver ...

Book Review Essay, Online Supplement

Neo-Confucian Self-Cultivation

  BY BARRY C. KEENAN HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI'I PRESS, 2011 132 PAGES, ISBN:978-0824835484, PAPERBACK It is not a question of whether Professor Keenan’s new book is accessible for high school juniors and seniors—it is— in general. It is also not a question about whether the book is a good backgrounder for high school teachers who are interested in integrating Neo-Confucian related content into history and/or literature classes— again, it is. The real question is whether stu...

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...

Book Review, Resources

This Is Islam: From Muhammad and the Community of Believers to Islam in the Global Community

BY JAMAL ELIAS GREAT BARRINGTON, MA: BERKSHIRE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2011 152 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1933782812, PAPERBACK In one 111 pages, this slim volume takes the reader through the core elements of Islamic teachings and the main moments of Islamic history. It provides an accessible and succinct summary of the larger volumes that are conventionally used in semester-long survey courses on Islam. Although using this long-tested approach, Elias does not shy away from the complex issues within Isla...

Afghanistan Perspectives, Resources

The Taliban, Women, and Human Rights

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s government in 1996 and ruled until it was driven from power during the 2001 US-led invasion. The Taliban provided safe haven to al-Qaeda, an Islamic extremist organization that publicly executed criminals and outlawed education for women and girls. (note 1) Today, although progress has been made, and education is more accessible than under the Taliban, more than half of all Afghan girls still do not attend school. Underneath the surface of reported ...

Afghanistan Perspectives, Resources

The Afghanistan War: Diverse Voices and Viewpoints

Bing West’s Home Page http://www.bingwest.com/ Bing West served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in the Reagan administration. Bing was a combat Marine in Việt Nam, authored the counterinsurgency classic, The Village, and has been on hundreds of patrols in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Việt Nam. He has published widely on the war in numerous periodicals and journals, including Foreign Affairs and The Wall Street Journal. West is a leading critique of the ...

Afghanistan Perspectives, Resources

The Taliban: Important Points for Teachers and Students

1. The term “Taliban” means “students” in Pashto; the organization originated in Qandahar in the early 1990s; most members were Pashtu; they ruled over the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1995–2001). 2. The Taliban emerged victorious in the civil war conflict with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan between 1992 and 1995, with military support of Pakistan and funding from Saudi Arabia. 3. The Taliban won control of Kabul and southern Afghanistan, and their numbers increased bec...

Afghanistan Perspectives, Resources

The Buddhas of Bamiyan

The Buddhas of Bamiyan looked over the Bamiyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan for fifteen centuries. The two statues were carved into the side of a sandstone cliff at the foot of the Hindu Kush Mountains of central Afghanistan in 507 and 554 CE in the valley 140 miles northwest of Kabul. The Taliban destroyed them in March 2001— six months before the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City—in an attempt to cleanse the country of idolatry. (note 1) Af...

Book Review, Resources

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia

BY THOMAS DAVID DUBOIS CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYPRESS, 2011 272 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1107008090, HARDBACK Undoubtedly, the vast majority of surviving art produced in both the Western world and Asia in the past millennia has been religious in subject. From an art historical perspective, the significant role religions play in shaping the creative visual expression of cultures is obvious. Historians more often tend to view history from political, economic, military, and, in recent years, social perspec...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Wheelwright and the Butcher: Master Zhuang’s Recipe for Mindful Living

Some years ago, I was taking a stroll through a museum in the town of Tainan, the old capital of the island of Taiwan. In one room, I came across a large cart wheel carved out of solid wood (see photo). It was about five feet in diameter and consisted of three separate pieces joined together. Most people probably would not have been overly excited to see such a mundane artifact, but I was immediately struck by this wheel because it answered a question that had long rattled at the back of my mind...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

“Confucius in East Asia”: An Interview with “Key Issues” author, Jeffrey L. Richey

Confucius in East Asia introduces fundamental patterns of East Asian history, spirituality, society, and politics through the lens of Confucianism’s development and impact in the region. For millennia, no East Asian regime has governed independently of Confucian influence; and even when Confucius and his tradition have been criticized or condemned, as has often been the case during the past century or so, they have been conspicuously present in East Asian affairs. It is impossible to understan...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

What Is Teachable about Japanese Tea Practice?

The Japanese art known as the “way of tea” (chadō or chanoyu—often translated into English as the slightly misleading “tea ceremony”) is the highly stylized and artistically nuanced preparation of matcha (powdered green tea), often in a tearoom or freestanding structure specifically designed for that purpose. (note 1) While the consumption of tea in Japan began as a largely aristocratic activity during the twelfth century, by the sixteenth century, tea drinking had matured into a high...

Online Supplement

Audio and Performance Samples to accompany the feature article “A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia: Classical and Devotional Music”

Listed below are the audio and performance examples of the music discussed in “A Tour of Music Cultures in South Asia” from the Spring 2013 (vol. 18, no. 1) issue of Education About Asia....