Education About Asia

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

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

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...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Korean Culture and History through Korean Literature

“What am I looking for? Soul, my blind soul, endlessly darting like children at play by the river, answer me: where am I going?” (note 1) Written in response to Japan’s occupation of Korea (1910–1945), these lines from nationalist writer Yi Sanghwa’s poem convey a deep sense of desperation and uncertainty. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and set up a colonial government that would remain in power for thirty-five years. Yi’s poem expresses the alienation Koreans endured bec...

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  ...

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...

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

Introducing Afghanistan’s Culture in Your Classroom

I am a middle school teacher who has also spent extensive time in Afghanistan, and I am the author of A Far Away Home, a work of juvenile fiction set in the country. The following essay is a pedagogical mosaic that introduces a variety of resources that have worked for me, which can potentially assist middle, high school, and university teachers and students to understand Afghanistan culture. Sport, Art, and Architecture Picture yourself sitting about halfway up the stands on the fifty-yard ...

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

The Spirit of Afghanistan: Tradition and Renewal Through the Arts

Today’s war-torn Afghanistan has complex origins, with many tribal cultures contributing to its identity. An important crossroad of Central Asia for many centuries, the region now known as Afghanistan has followed various religions and witnessed interacting artistic traditions. Trade routes, blurred borders, and the nomadic life have helped bring about rich cultural exchanges, while tribal affiliations have maintained specific customs and identities within groups. Afghanistan is again a co...

Feature Article

Music in Afghanistan

Editor’s Note: An article about music would be incomplete without enabling the reader to listen to the music the author considers. Web links to examples of the music discussed here are located at the end of this article. The same links are on our website for easy access.   The Meaning of “Music” in Afghanistan The meaning of music in the West is broadly defined as humanly organized sound and includes both religious and secular music, both vocal and instrumental music, and music pe...

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...

Feature Article

Geographical Facts about Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a landlocked country slightly smaller than Texas, situated in southwestern Asia on the Iranian Plateau. The Hindu Kush mountain range runs northeast to southwest and divides the northern provinces from the rest of the country. On the north, Afghanistan borders Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan; in the east, China; in the west, Iran; and in the south, Pakistan. Borders and Topography  The total length of the Afghanistan border is 3,436 miles, and 44 percent of that bord...

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, Resources

India: Brief History of a Civilization

BY THOMAS R. TRAUTMANN OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011 248 PAGES, ISBN:978-0199736324, PAPERBACK Finding the perfect textbook for a survey course can be daunting. Writing such a book is surely exponentially daunting. Thomas Trautmann, Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, understands the first point all too well, and he picks up the challenge of the second point with his unassuming yet impressive new book, India: Brief History of a Civilization, a book that mig...