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

Sun Yatsen: Seeking a Newer China

BY DAVID B. GORDON NEW YORK: PRENTICE HALL, 2010 192 PAGES ISBN: 978-0321333063, PAPERBACK Reviewed by David Kenley This eminently readable biography of Sun Yatsen offers high school and undergraduate students a window into the life of the “father of modern China.” Though Sun is frequently overshadowed by his more politically savvy successors, Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, he is an excellent choice for the Library of World Biography series. More so than either Chiang or Mao, Sun epito...

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, Resources

China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know

BY JEFFREY N. WASSERSTROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 155 PAGES ISBN: 978-0-19-539412-2, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Mary Cingcade Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s book China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know tempts the reader with its intriguing title. Written in question and- answer format, the volume features 108 questions culled from questions posed over two decades by lecture audiences. Wasserstrom writes, The goal of this book is to help normalize discussions of China . . . My aim ...


American Influences on Sun Yatsen

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the United States provided immigrants from troubled nations around the world with safe havens for revolutionary movements aimed at their homelands. Clan Na Gael, an organization seeking Irish independence from Great Britain, began in Philadelphia in 1870 and retained its base in the US. The Cuban Revolutionary Party, aiming at the island’s independence from Spain, was founded in 1892 among Cuban expatriates living in Florida. A bit later, in 1913, the...

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

Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language

BY DEBORAH FALLOWS NEW YORK: WALKER AND COMPANY, 2010 208 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0802779137, HARDBACK Breaking the Code: Language Is Key At once charming, eye opening, and educational, Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language is a literary journey using the Mandarin language as a tour guide. Deborah Fallows intends to unlock Chinese culture for her readers through an exploration of the language and of the nuances of Chinese communication. She uses her own experience of liv...

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...

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

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....

Online Supplement

Understanding Contemporary Asia through Food

While once-exotic Asian foods have become a familiar part of American life, the study of Asian food continues to be a sharp lens, giving focus to the broad sweep of history and the complex patterns of contemporary Asian societies. The eating habits and culinary practices (foodways) of Asian societies are both local and global, revealing the historical impact of past events and the everyday tensions of contemporary Asian societies. Humans often use food to distinguish their own group from others....

Online Supplement

Using Food to Teach about Chinese Culture

In my undergraduate teaching of Chinese and East Asian history to business majors, I find that food is a very useful idiom for learning about traditional and modern Chinese culture. Since everyone eats, it makes a foreign culture more approachable. Attitudes toward food help students understand change and continuity in China’s long history and provide insights into social and political values in various historical periods. In this article, I share some of my experiences, approaches, and materi...

Essay, Key Issues in Asian Studies, Resources

Three New Volumes: Key Issues in Asian Studies

Editor’s note: Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) is a series of booklets engaging major cultural and historical themes in the Asian experience. KIAS booklets serve as vital educational materials that are both accessible and affordable for classroom use. This series is particularly intended for teachers and undergraduates at two- and four-year colleges as well as high school students and secondary school teachers engaged in teaching Asian studies in a comparative framework. What follows are br...

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...

Feature Article

Culinary Controversies: Shark Fin Soup and Sea Creatures in the Asian Studies Curriculum

In 2010, scuba diver Phil Tobin came across a shark carcass lying on the Ambon Harbor (Indonesia) ocean floor. The captured shark’s highly valued fins, the key ingredient in shark fin soup, had been sliced off by its captors; the less valuable and more cumbersome body had been thrown back into the ocean. Without fins the shark, unable to swim, had sunk and starved to death. This shark was one of millions de-finned each year in order to satisfy the appetites of predominately Chinese consumers. ...

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 ...

Feature Article

Who’s Afraid of Chop Suey?

The career of chop suey turns out to be a Cinderella story in reverse: chop suey is the ugly sister whose foot will not fit into the glass slipper. Chop suey rose from obscurity in the late nineteenth century to become one of America’s national dishes and one of the main ingredients in the spread of Chinese restaurants in North America during the years when Chinese families and entrepreneurs spread Chinese cookery outside China by adapting to new conditions and inventing new forms. By the end ...

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, ...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Website Resources: Asian Visual and Performing Arts–Part I

VISUAL ARTS Asia, General The Art of Asia URL: The collections of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese works of art have been added to this site, produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. From this introductory page, one can access the collections by culture,  period, or themes. There are thousands of objects, including 368 ukiyo-eand an extensive guide to Chinese ceramics. South and Southeast Asian Art URL: