Education About Asia

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

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Feature Article

Asia’s Environment, 1900-2000

By Conrad Totman What does the above title mean? Anything? Despite its admirable conciseness, it is in fact laced with semantic problems. Perhaps if we rephrase it, "On Thinking About Asia's Environment, 1900- 2000," we'd give ourselves occasion to explore those problems briefly. And if we do so, we may find a silk purse lurking in this sow's ear of a title....

Feature Article

Asia in the Twentieth Century

By William H. McNeill Recent events offer an apt metaphor for Asia's twentieth century. Between 1900 and 2000, a North Atlantic human tsunami crested and then withdrew, leaving behind radically changed social landscapes after ten decades of widespread disruption. Asia was not alone. The whole world went through the same experience- not least Europe and America, located at the epicenter of the entire upheaval. After-effects still persist, and intensified communication means that rapid readjust...

Book Review, Resources

Chinese Aesthetics and Literature: A Reader

EDITED BY CORINNE H. DALE ALBANY: SUNY PRESS, 2004 HARDCOVER: XXii, 247 PAGES, ISBN: 0-791-46022-3 The past few decades have seen a growing demand among teachers and scholars of Western literature for clear analyses of Chinese aesthetics. While there are many fine introductory materials, there remains a need for what might be called "intermediate" materials that prepare the serious reader for specialized works. Chinese Aesthetics and Literature: A Reader admirably fills part of that gap...

Book Review, Resources

Broadening the Horizons of Chinese History: Discourses, Syntheses, and Comparisons

By Ray Huang NEW YORK: M. E. SHARPE, 1999 PAPERBACK: 274 PAGES. ISBN: 0-7656-03-lS-9 In Broadening the Horizons of Chinese History, Ray Huang investigates events in China from a long-term perspective. The work is actually a compilation of several previously-presented essays. In many ways, the text reads more like an intimate lecture than a jargon-filled monograph. Inserting several interesting details about his own life, Huang writes as if he is seeking to persuade and enlighten a younger g...

Essay, Resources

Asian Fiction of the Twentieth Century: A Novel Approach to History

By Andrea Caron Kempf History viewed through the lens or fiction can enhance a standard textbook, making the subject more immediate and compelling to students. Anecdotal evidence suggests that students who read a novel in conjunction with a history class become more engaged with the subject. Both the grand themes of a work of fiction and its quotidian details inform and educate, remai1ning with a reader long after the novel or the course in which it was assigned is completed. The cataclysmic ...

Online Supplement

The Harper’s Magazine article from 1947, “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb” by Henry Stimson, to accompany Peter Frost’s article, “Teaching Mr. Stimson.”

Harper’s Magazine THE DECISION TO USE THE ATOMIC BOMB HENRY L. STIMSON Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War 1911–13, Secretary of State 1929–33, Secretary of War 1940–45, was the man who had to make the recommendation to the President.   In recent months there has been much comment about the decision to use atomic bombs in attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This decision was one of the gravest made by our government in recent years, and it is entirely pro...

Essay, Resources

Nagasaki Survivors: Stories of Endurance and Courage

Between 1966 and 1995, as I interviewed atomic survivors, I frequently traveled from Hiroshima to Nagasaki by train. As I took the train south to Nagasaki, I had to change from the fast express train to the slower, regional train in northern Kyushu. The train wound slowly past small fishing villages, sometimes right next to the beaches. Fishing nets were piled on the sea walls. Narrow streams coming out of the mountains emptied into the ocean. Blue and brown fishing boats on mud flats leaned to ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Approaching Hiroshima: Three Ways to Engage with History

How can educators today teach about Hiroshima in a manner that is historically accurate and consistent with recent scholarly findings? In this article I suggest three such approaches: examining the historiography of the US decision to use the bomb, evaluating the interaction of popular perceptions and scholarship in museum exhibits in United States and Japan, and exploring what happened “under the mushroom cloud” through a number of perspectives. These are not mutually exclusive alternatives...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Feilong (Flying Dragon): The China Game

The board game Feilong: The China Game, a unique tool for learning and/or reinforcing learning about China, requires only a beginning knowledge of Chinese history and culture, but extends to challenge even the well informed. Players roll dice, answer questions from game cards, and move along the game board competing to be the first to land on a predetermined set of spaces. Eight playing pieces are included, but more players could easily play at the same time, or work in teams. There are 600 t...

Feature Article

The Day Man Lost: Hiroshima: A Matter of Perspectives

August 6, 1945, has been called “the day man lost,” for regardless of race, nationality, beliefs, economic and or military strengths and weaknesses, and political ideologies, we all lost. Considering the character and consequences of that day in which man’s history was completely changed, it is imperative that the issues that led to August 6 be known as broadly as possible, and that Hiroshima and Nagasaki be studied from different but interconnected points of view. In this article I discus...

Feature Article

Teaching Mr. Stimson

For some time now, I have taught a mixed lecture and discussion class on the atom bomb, primarily by using Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s February 1947 Harper’s Magazine article “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” (note 1) As many EAA readers no doubt know, Secretary Stimson wrote this article in response to a request by Harvard University President James Conant, a distinguished scientist who had himself worked on the bomb and hence was worried about a number of Americans who critic...

Feature Article

Learning from Truman’s Decision: The Atomic Bomb and Japan’s Surrender

August 6 through 9 of 2005 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombings stand as a watershed event in modern history because they brought to a decisive conclusion the greatest and most devastating conflict in human history, and because they ushered in a new age, the era of nuclear weapons and the policies of “massive retaliation” and “mutual assured destruction”—which at the height of the cold war brought with them the very real poten...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

EAA Interview with John Dower

Most EAA readers are familiar with MIT Professor John Dower, who works in modern Japanese history and US-Japan relations. He is the author of numerous publications including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (1999). Dower is both an internationally-prominent scholar and a master teacher. One of his most recent pedagogical projects, with colleague Shigeru Miyagawa, is Visualizing Cultures (VC) a Webbased, multimedia, interactive, curricula project on...

Feature Article

A Tribute to John Hersey’s Hiroshima

This will be the sixtieth-year anniversary of one of the most remarkable books of American history, John Hersey’s Hiroshima, first published on August 31, 1946, in The New Yorker. In March 1946, William Shawn, managing editor of The New Yorker, called for an article focused on the immediate devastation in Hiroshima rather than on statistics or politics. John Hersey interviewed survivors for three weeks in May and decided to focus on suffering human beings rather than on destroyed buildings. He...

Feature Article

Using “Monkey” to Teach Religions of China

By Ryan Bradeen and Jean Johnson Like most classics of literature, Journey to the West (also known as Monkey, after its main character, the wondrous Monkey King) can be read on many levels. Besides being a tale of epic adventure on the scale of Star Wars or the Lord of the Rings, Monkey has been read as political and religious satire, as allegory, and as fantastical historical fiction. In this essay we will undertake a journey to discover wl1at Monkey can reveal about Chinese religion. First,...

Feature Article

Twentieth-Century India: An Overview

By Fritz Blackwell Twentieth-century India is chronologically almost symmetrical, with 1947-the year of independence as the dividing line. With independence came partition, as British India was divided into India and Pakistan, the farmer becoming constitutionally secular and the latter an Islamic state. In 1971 the east wing of Pakistan, with somewhat delayed military intervention from India, became the independent nation of Bangladesh. It might also be noted that while India has remained a d...

Feature Article

Culture and Text in Teaching Chinese Literature

By Yanfang Tang Gaining knowledge about Chinese culture has long been considered an important goal of teaching Chinese literature in the West.1  However, are we teaching Chinese literature effectively to achieve such a goal? What is “culture”? What is “literature”? Is, particularly, our attention to text sufficient in helping our students understand the important cultural issues that underlie it? I raise this last question because it seems that, regardless of the objectives we set fo...

Essay, Resources

Sinbad the Sailor and the Eastward Journey of Islam

By Joan Brodsky Schur The rapid rise of Islam is typically depicted in textbooks as the consequence of conquests made by the Umayyad and Abbasid empires and the diffusion of Islam into Central Asia along the Silk Roads. Rarely is the spread of Islam attributed to the importance of seafaring Muslim traders. Yet Muslim mariners, plying the waters of the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and South China Sea, played a key role in transporting their religion throughout Southeast Asia. At the Village Comm...

EAA Interview

An Interview with Morris Rossabi

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are grateful to Marleen Kassel and Zainab Mahmood of the Asia Society, as well as to our distinguished subject, for the following interview. City University of New York Professor Morris Rossabi is an internationally known expert on Central and Inner Asia, areas where Islam is a dominant religion. Please note that our interviewer, Zainab Mahmood, also provides a very useful introductory level annotated list of recommended sources for educators interested in learning about Isla...

Feature Article

Thank God for the Atom Bomb?

I once received a call from the concerned editor of an education journal: “Could you find a source other than Thank God for the Atom Bomb? We feel it inappropriate for teachers to see it in a journal dedicated to international understanding.” Since the essay on travel versus tourism that I wanted to cite appeared only in this provocatively titled collection of Paul Fussell essays, they finally did allow it to appear in a footnote. The phrase—without the question mark I add above to my own ...
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