Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

My Students and Asia: Then and Now

Those of us who teach about Asia are well aware that Asia has changed enormously over the past twenty-five years. Two decades or so ago, most Chinese still lived in rural areas; Japan still boasted the world’s No. 2 economy; and South Korea was only a few years past its decades of martial law, coups, and repression. Future North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was enrolled in an elite high school in Switzerland. The United States’ chief concerns about South Asia focused on nuclear proliferation ra...

Feature Article

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 ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Bing: From Farmer’s Son to Magistrate in Han China

In a recently published study, Paul R. Goldin takes stock of the advances and limitations of the study of early China in Canada and the United States. Acknowledging the seminal contributions of earlier scholars in the field, he also points out liabilities that arise from the way in which North American scholars have shaped our understanding of early Chinese culture. Especially misleading, according to Goldin, is the widespread notion that “there was no room in early China for named individual ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Confucius in East Asia

Confucius in East Asia introduces fundamental patterns of East Asian history, spirituality, society, and politics through the lens of Confucianism’s development and impact in the region. For millennia, no East Asian regime has governed independently of Confucian influence; and even when Confucius and his tradition have been criticized or condemned, as has often been the case during the past century or so, they have been conspicuously present in East Asian affairs. It is impossible to understan...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Western Civilization with Chinese Comparisons, 3rd edition

JOHN G. BLAIR AND JERUSHA HULL MCCORMACK SHANGHAI: FUDAN UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 635 PAGES WITH CD-ROM Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Richey Since ancient times, the peoples of what are now known as China and the West have gazed at one another across vast distances of culture and geography with intense interest, occasional enmity, and no small amount of exoticism. Han dynasty scholars wrote with wonder of the land of Daqin (Roman Syria), where seemingly every Chinese custom was turned upside down. Th...

Feature Article

Teaching Early China and Ancient Rome Comparatively

World history instructors constantly encounter the exhortation to teach Han dynasty China and the Roman Empire comparatively. The reason for this is clear: teaching early China and ancient Rome comparatively invites students to calculate and evaluate what David N. Keightley calls the “costs and benefits” of “great civilizations” for themselves—not only explicitly, in terms of first-millennium antecedents, but also implicitly, in terms of third-millennium legacies.

Book Review, Resources

The Classic of the Way and Virtue: A New Translation of the Tao-Te Ching of Laozi As Interpreted by Wang Bi

Translated by Richard John Lynn NEW YORK: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1999 244 PAGES Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Richey Since 1868, almost fifty major English translations of the ancient Chinese classic known as Laozi (Lao-tzu) or Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) have appeared in print—to say nothing of the countless, less reliable translations which seem to sprout on bookstore shelves like mushrooms after spring rains. The student or teacher of Chinese literature, religions, philosophy, or history migh...