Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Resources

Facts About Asia: Fall 2005

China's gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all good and services produced in one year, has quadrupled since economic reform began in 1978 under former leader Deng Xiaoping. China's economy is now the world's sixth largest with a GDP of approximately $1.4 trillion. The US ranks first, with a GDP of $10.9 trillion.

Online Supplement

Cauvery Calling: A Possible Solution for a Dying River and Desperate Farmers Copy

This story begins with a crisis of food insecurity. In 1966, a severe drought compounded India’s problems of producing sufficient food for its growing population and created near famine conditions in many parts of the country. The government had to import large amounts of wheat from the United States to avoid calamity. As a result of this situation, and with external pressures from the United States and international organizations, the central government made a concerted effort to reform agric...

Essay

The Act of Constructing Memory at Cambodia’s Bophana Center

In a quiet Cambodian village in the province of Battambang, Heng Kuylang hacks a long bamboo sapling with a machete while reflecting on her decades of marriage to a man she has never loved. Like countless Cambodians who came of age between 1975 and 1979, Heng and her husband were forced to marry each other under Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, a violent and dystopian attempt to end capitalism and rebuild a new society free of Western influences. Approximately one in four Cambodians die...

Essay

Kūkai in China, What He Studied and Brought Back to Japan

The Japanese Buddhist priest Kūkai (774–835 CE) continues to be one of the most popular historical figures to persist in imagination and images around Japan. For introducing Shingon esoteric Buddhism into his country in the early Heian period (794–1184), the emperor awarded him the posthumous title Kōbō Daishi, literally “Great Master Who Propagated the Dharma.” Yet far from this being the extent of his accomplishments, Kūkai also exerted major influences on the development of Japane...

Essay

Beyond the Sinosphere in Early Japan: Nara and the Silk Roads

A startling archeological discovery in 2009, near the ruins of the Heijō Palace in Nara: nineteen dark green shards, later determined to be ceramics produced during the Abbasid Caliphate in present-day Iraq. The shards were originally from a jar, perhaps used to carry spices or dates; a wooden tablet found nearby records the date as 768 CE. How might such an object have found its way to the Japanese archipelago, some 5,000 miles away, over 1,000 years ago? Anyone traveling with ceramics, even f...

Essay

Objects of Fascination: Encountering Six Dynasties China through Material Culture

Material culture—images, built spaces, and objects—can open extraordinary windows into the past. This is especially true when exploring China’s Six Dynasties period (220–589 CE). The Six Dynasties was a time of fragmentation. In the south, there was a rapid succession of dynasties while, in the north, invading nomads competed with Chinese in establishing kingdoms and dynasties. Though often remembered as a time of warfare and disruption, material culture shows that it was also a time of ...

Essay

China Versus the Barbarians: The First Century of Han-Xiongnu Relations

The Han–Xiongnu relationship is especially important in world history because it is the first time a major steppe power and a major agriculturalist civilization had extensive contact and conflict with each other. Before the Huns, before the Mongols, there were the Xiongnu.

Essay

The Longest Journey: The Peopling of the Americas

Migration is one of the most human stories. From the very beginnings of our species in Africa, the movement of populations from one region to another, the challenges and opportunities presented by new landscapes, and the encounters with other populations (or the strangeness of truly unpeopled places) have been among the primary threads running throughout our history. There are as many particular histories of migration as there are communities of people. Even for those groups whose traditions do ...

Essay

Hagia Sophia: Bridge Across Time

Istanbul links Asia with Europe. The city is situated on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow waterway that separates the two continents. It is roughly 31 kilometers/19.3 miles in length and less than 1 kilometer/ 0.6 miles wide. For millennia, boats have routinely ferried wayfarers across the divide, as they still do today. In the late twentieth century, the city bridged this intercontinental divide. The Bosphorus Bridge opened in 1973, followed by the Conqueror’s Bridge in 1988, named aft...

EAA Interview

The Bering Land Bridge Theory: An EAA Interview with Professor Morgan Smith

Morgan Smith is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Texas A&M University, where he studied in the Center for the Study of the First Americans. Prior to this, he worked for the Southeast Archaeological Center of the National Park Service in the section 106 compliance division. He has over a decade of experience in underwater and terrestrial archaeology. He has directed multiple full-scale geoarchaeological ...

Essay

Rhoads Murphey, Eurasia, and World History

Assessing the value of a work created by as renowned a historian as Rhoads Murphey is certainly intimidating. This is made all the more so considering his experience in China during World War II as an ambulance driver (Murphey was a conscientious objector) and his later service as executive director of the Association for Asian Studies and editor of the Journal of Asian Studies.1 This reviewer will, however, do his best, in part hedging his bets by focusing on the question of assigning “The Sh...

Essay

Eurasia and the End of History

One of the difficulties of the world history curriculum, whether in high school or in college, is that by its very nature it requires presenting students with grand and sweeping statements about the past. Even at the college level, teachers of world history stand up in front of a group of freshmen, many of whom are taking the course to fulfill some general education requirement (and are perhaps not that enthused about being in the class) and who may not have taken world history in any meaningful...

Essay

The Shape of the World

As a secondary world history educator, connecting past events with the lives of my students is a constant challenge. As a teacher who began my career thinking that an overhead projector represented the zenith of educational technology, I hoped that the emergence of the internet as a tool for learning would make demonstrating connections a mere click away. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. I have a number of students who are experts on K-pop but have no idea why the United States has suc...

Curriculum Materials Review

Reflection on the What Does It Mean to Be an American? Curriculum Reviewed by Whit W. Grace

In this review, I focus on how the What Does It Mean to Be an American? (www.whatdoesitmeantobeanamerican.com) curriculum relates to the study of Asia in high schools and colleges. The review focuses on the curriculum’s methodology, the Mineta Legacy Project (Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education [SPICE] curriculum developers were invited to create a companion curriculum to complement the documentary Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story) and the goals and co...

Book Review

What Does It Mean to Be an American? Reviewed by Bruce Stubblefield

The Mineta Legacy Project and Stanford’s SPICE curriculum collaboration, What Does It Mean to Be an American? is an ambitious and sleek set of lessons designed to educate high school and collegiate users on its namesake. The curriculum is the offspring of The Mineta Legacy Project, which was created to honor the work of Norman Mineta (Democrat), who broke barrier after barrier for Asian-Americans by becoming the first Asian-American to serve as a mayor of a major US city, the first Asian-Ameri...

EAA Interview

An EAA Interview with the 2021 Franklin R. Buchanan Prizewinner Rylan Sekiguchi for What Does It Mean to Be an American?

This is our twenty-fifth consecutive interview with winners of the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize, awarded annually to recognize an outstanding pedagogical, instructional, or curriculum publication on Asia designed for K–12 and college undergraduate instructors and students. This year’s winner, for the third time in the award’s history, is Rylan Sekiguchi of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) for the online curriculum package What Does It Mean to Be an A...

Feature Article

The Essentials: Seven Samurai

Kurosawa Akira’s Seven Samurai is a timeless masterpiece that has been widely recognized as the greatest foreign-language film ever made. The plot concerns a humble village hiring a band of samurai and protecting itself from pillage in war-ravaged sixteenth-century Japan. Since the wretchedness inflicted on the peasantry is evocative of all forms of human suffering, the honorable service conducted by the seven samurai takes on universal significance.

Feature Article

Sri Lanka in the Classroom

Editor’s Introduction: A Virgin Vote, a short film by director Udan Fernando, follows a Sri Lankan citizen voting for the first time in the country’s 2020 parliamentary elections after becoming stranded due to Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 lockdown. In the essay and short interview that follow, Fernando discusses A Virgin Vote and its production, as well as the ongoing political crisis in Sri Lanka. The basic information below provides context for readers unfamiliar with Sri Lanka and the c...

Feature Article

The Essentials: Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land

Stan Lai (Lai Shengchuan) is one of the most celebrated playwrights working in the Chinese-speaking world. His work over three decades has charted the course of modern Chinese-language theatre in Taiwan, China, and other Chinese-speaking regions.

Feature Article

Revisiting Live Your Dream and Cocktail Party

Regge Life is the founder of Global Film Network Inc. Early in his career, Life worked as an American Film Institute intern on John Landis’s Trading Places. He went on to direct episodes of Sesame Street, The Cosby Show, A Different World, and Sister, Sister. He is Executive Producer/Director for documentaries such as Doubles, After America . . . After Japan, Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story, and Cocktail Party. He produced his first work in Japan, Struggle and Success: The...