Education About Asia

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

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Curriculum Review

The Choices Program: “Indian Independence and the Question of Partition”

I was first introduced to The Choices Program in 2006 during a weeklong intensive seminar on controversial issues in the social studies classroom, led by Diane Hess from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since then, for the past eight years, I have enjoyed introducing my students to the same compelling content and the same interactive process: first in my AP World History courses in New York City and then in my IB History courses—and more broadly in the social sciences—with my students in...

Book Review, Columns, Resources

The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan

The Company and the Shogun examines the “politics of encounter” operative between the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC) and the Tokugawa regime during the so-called first age of globalization corresponding here to the seventeenth century. Along the way, the book addresses general questions regarding the extent to which European power was apparent in Asia, how Europeans managed their encounters with Asian states such as the Tokugawa, and the nature of the p...

Online Supplement, Special Segment: Chinese Migration

Encountering Migration: Factory Girls and BaFa BaFa

In his recent book, The Power of Place, Harm de Blij, the John A. Hannah Distinguished University Professor of Geography at Michigan State University, writes, “Of the seven billion current passengers on Cruiseship Earth, the overwhelming majority … will die very near the cabin in which they were born.”1 De Blij underscores the situational differences humans experience throughout the world. Place remains one of the most salient factors in our individual and collective destinies. While movem...

Online Supplement, Special Segment: Chinese Migration

A Media-Enhanced Middle School Study of Modern Chinese Migration

Multimedia lessons are an effective way to reach middle school learners, and this is especially so when teaching the complexities of China’s rapid urbanization. Key to understanding the effects of migration on the fabric of Chinese society is viewing this phenomena from the perspective of the migrant worker. A variety of resources exist with which a teacher can provide students both the voice of the migrant and vivid images that bring his or her experiences to life. At the heart of many of the...

Online Supplement, Special Segment: Chinese Migration

Understanding and Teaching Migration in China

  Migration in China In 2012, the Chinese Ministry of Railways created a new online ticketing system. Promising an end to long lines and frustrated customers, the program was intended to streamline operations and demonstrate China’s growing sophistication in the transportation industry. However, it was not prepared to handle the immense amount of traffic during New Year. On one day alone, the server took 1.4 billion hits. As a result, potential customers overwhelmed the online system, c...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

PechaKucha in the Classroom

PechaKucha (PK) is a presentation method that has been around for a little over a decade, and it has been making steady inroads into classrooms from the K–12 to graduate levels, and across the curriculum. The concept and design are simple. But PK can be modified and structured in various ways to encourage particular outcomes. Because visual and graphic creativity are prominent components of the PK method, it can be an effective learning and teaching tool for almost any topic, especially so for...

Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Robert D. Kaplan’s “Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific”

When Robert D. Kaplan talks, people listen. Kaplan has authored over a dozen books on subjects ranging from the conflicts of the Middle East to the wars of the Balkan Peninsula, and his uncanny ability to assess international trends has catapulted him onto Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In his latest book, Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, he demonstrates that the Southeast Asian littoral may very well be the locus of the mo...

Editor’s Message

I hope readers enjoyed a peaceful holiday season. “Asia: Biographies and Personal Stories, Part I” includes accounts of individuals who have significantly affected history, culture, economics and politics, as well as profiles and personal stories of lesser-known people who help us better understand historical and contemporary Asia. Paige Tan’s lead feature on Aung San Suu Kyi is an excellent introduction to an internationally acclaimed champion of democracy and of her transition from f...

Online Supplement, Special Segment: Chinese Migration

Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography: Soong Mei-ling

Editor’s Note: The Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography promises to be a long-lived and unique pedagogical tool of immense value for instructors, students, and anyone else interested in China who can utilize English language resources. Currently, three volumes of the Dictionary are available, with the final volume (post-1979) scheduled for publication in spring 2015. We thank Berkshire Publishing for allowing us to publish the following sample Dictionary entry on Soong Mei-ling.  ...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Chinese History with Graphic Novels

  Over the past few years, comics and graphic novels have seen a rise in popularity and adoption among secondary and higher education instructors. For the first half of 2014, sales of comics and graphic novels was approximately US $250 million.1 A seemingly simple type of reading material, graphic novels can be complex works of literature requiring students to engage critically with text and images. What is a graphic novel, and why are we using that term? There is much debate about the...

Columns, EAA Interview

Interview with 2014 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize Winners for “Indian Independence and the Question of Partition”

This is our eighteenth consecutive interview with the recipients of the AAS Franklin Buchanan Prize. This year’s winners are Leah Elliott (writer), Maya Lindberg (writer), and Tanya Waldburger (videographer), who developed the curriculum unit Indian Independence and the Question of Partition, published by The Choices Program, a national education initiative at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. Choices Program curriculum developers also won the Buchanan Prize in 2...

Feature Article

Akhtar Hameed Khan: A Legendary Social Scientist

Such towering figures and lofty intellects as Akhter Hameed’s are quite uncommon.  Only a few emerge in any generation.  —Dr. Norman Uphoff.1 This is a story of a man who dedicated his life to alleviating poverty and helping people lift themselves out of their impoverished state. He was and is an inspiration to many at home and abroad, and his name is synonymous with participatory development, poverty alleviation, microfinance, endogenous rural development, grassroots approaches, and w...

Feature Article

Shibusawa Eiichi and the Merger of Confucianism and Capitalism in Modern Japan

  Modern economic development depends greatly on a favorable institutional framework and a supportive cultural environment, both of which encourage the investment of talent and resources into commercial enterprises. In Japan’s Meiji 1868–1912 transition to a modern economy, government oligarchs and business leaders made economic growth a national priority to compete with the Western powers. Leaders built modern economic institutions like banks, insurance companies, and stock exchange...

Feature Article

American Visitors to Meiji Japan

  When Japan began its modernization process during the Meiji period (1868–1912), it turned to the West for advice and assistance. British, French, German, and other European influence on Japan’s modernization process was immense, but Japan’s ties with the United States were perhaps even deeper and more complex.1 During the nineteenth century, the United States and Japan developed a more personal relationship, which, though tragically broken after Pearl Harbor, found renewal in the...

Feature Article

The Story of An Chunggŭn

In 1909, the Korean An Chunggŭn (1879–1910) killed Itō Hirobumi, a high-ranking Japanese official responsible for the expansion of his country’s power into the Korean peninsula. An examination of An’s life and why he killed Itō can tell us much about why some Koreans chose to violently resist Japan’s growing empire. Moreover, this examination will reveal the connection between religion, politics, and the spread of modern knowledge in Korea.1 Background An was born in 1879, only th...

Feature Article

Vivekananda and Okakura On What East Offers West

When will the West understand, or try to understand, the East?1 —Okakura Tenshin, The Book of Tea As the turn of the twentieth century approached, Western nations had come to control much of the globe. These powerful nations regarded themselves as comprehensively superior to the non-Western peoples over whom they ruled. Such a dual reality—Western control plus the swaggering confidence that accompanied it—created an excruciating challenge for those on the receiving end: should they e...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

A Diplomat in Asia: An Interview with Ambassador Nicholas Platt

Editor’s Note: In the interview that follows with EAA Associate Editor Peter K. Frost, Ambassador Platt provides “insider” glimpses of Mao Zedong; Richard Nixon; and insightful assessments of past, current, and future China-related topics. Peter: As you explain in your fascinating book, Mao Zedong’s 1972 decision to invite President Nixon to China was a turning point in US- China relations. Why did Chairman Mao do this? Ambassador Platt: Chairman Mao was worried about a possible mi...

Feature Article, Special Segment: Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography

Review of the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography: Volume 2: Song Dynasty through the Ming Dynasty

The Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography is the product of a superb effort by numerous scholars to create a reference work for students to learn more about significant figures in Chinese history from all walks of life. This compilation of biographical sketches, illuminated with well-researched and contextualized information about the lives and achievements of the men and women featured here, is an impressive accomplishment. All students of Chinese history and scholars of China in general wi...

Feature Article, Special Segment: Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography

Review of the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography: Volume 3: Qing Dynasty through the People’s Republic of China (until 1979)

In volume 3 of the Dictionary of Chinese Biography, Berkshire Publishing has provided a helpful and fascinating reference work that can be used by teachers in various classrooms. Covering the period from 1644 to 1979, the volume sheds valuable light on China’s modern era as seen through the lives of select individuals. Kerry Brown, the editor-in-chief of the three-volume series, unapologetically argues for the value of biography in the study of history. “While historians subscribe less a...

Feature Article, Special Segment: Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography

Review of the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography: Volume 1: Xia and Shang Dynasties through the Tang Dynasty

Editor’s Introduction: The Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography promises to be a long-lived and unique pedagogical tool of immense value for instructors, students, and anyone else interested in China who can utilize English-language resources. Currently, three volumes of the Dictionary are available, with the final volume (post-1979) scheduled for publication in spring 2015. The first portion of this special segment includes three review essays by outstanding historians of China who also ...