Education About Asia

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

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

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching the Geography of India through Virtual Itineraries

By Thomas Frederick Howard Like other teachers, I have grown disillusioned with the drawbacks of the undergraduate research paper. The rising tide of plagiarism and the easy availability of papers for sale on the Internet have made vigilance necessary, wearying, and demoralizing. In my Geography and History of South Asia course, I now ask students to create an itinerary for a three-week trip in India instead of a traditional paper. This highly individualized project may engage students more t...

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

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...

Book Review, Supplemental Online Article

Understanding Contemporary India, 2nd Edition

NEIL DEVOTTA, EDITOR LYNNE RIENNER PUBLISHERS, 2010 341 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1588267153, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Christopher Shaw Professors in the evolving field of global and area studies continuously confront the challenge of “coverage.” What might a course on the Indian subcontinent, for example, responsibly omit? If the focus is on political and economic challenges, to what extent does the teacher examine modern versus ancient history? Refer to trade patterns versus regional diplomacy...

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...

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

Poha—Krishna’s Favorite

The Memory Some of my childhood memories consist of an unforgettable aroma emanating from the kitchen in the morning: the aroma of milk boiling away on the gas stove, coffee dripping in the stainless steel percolator, and peanuts, onions, potatoes, curry leaves, green chilies, and spices frying away in the thick aluminum kadhai (wok)—with the intermittent clunking of the huge stainless steel ladle against the kadhai, announcing that breakfast was on its way—not just any breakfast, but one o...

Feature Article

Exploring Indian Culture through Food

Food and Identity Food (Sanskrit— bhojana,“that which is to be enjoyed,” Hindi— khana, Tamil— shapad) presents a way to understand everyday Indian culture as well as the complexities of identity and interaction with other parts of the world that are both veiled and visible. In India today,with a growing economy due to liberalization and more consumption than ever in middle class life, food as something to be enjoyed and as part of Indian culture is a popular topic. From a 1960s food e...

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, Web Gleanings

Website Resources: Asian Visual and Performing Arts–Part I

VISUAL ARTS Asia, General The Art of Asia URL: http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/introduction/ 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: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hi...

Feature Article

Understanding Cultural Perspectives through Greek and Hindu Theater

As educators, we are constantly being asked to diversify our teaching to broaden students’ knowledge about the world in which they live. But for many, teaching about other cultures can pose significant problems. Providing materials that students find accessible yet engaging— that helps them develop creative and critical thinking—is a challenge teachers must confront. One way to begin to overcome these struggles is to look to the primary sources available to us, connect them directly to the...

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...

Feature Article

Asia, Shakespeare, and the World: Digital Resources for Teaching about Globalization

In the marooned rehearsal of a school play in an urban comedy, a stuttering student asks their drama coach if he could play Romeo. A young lady rolls her eyes and challenges her classmate: “What makes you think that you can play Romeo? You don’t have the looks, and you can’t even speak properly.” She is quick to point out that the other student, originally cast for the male lead, is eminently more qualified even if he cannot remember his lines: “Nick, on the other hand, looks like Leon...

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...

Website Resources: Afghanistan

Afghanistan Afghanistan Online URL: http://www.afghan-web.com/ This site is updated each day, yielding a great deal of information about present-day Afghanistan. On the left side of the home page are numerous links to topics ranging from cooking to geography to languages. The section on the environment is quite extensive, as are the links to biographies and photos. Afghanland URL: http://www.afghanland.com/home/home.html There are many links on this site, some more useful than others...

Links to Afghan Music to Accompany the Feature Article “Music in Afghanistan”

Please download the pdf for the full list of links. Here are selected videos from the list: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k01rtmsLro&feature=related https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPeeWFvgf74&feature=related https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymDSq7ChEXU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7p9JJTsP0I&feature=related https://vimeo.com/25853257  ...

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...