Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Facing History: Strategies for Teaching Chinese and World History with Memoirs

As Adam D. Frank noted in a 2001 EAA review, “A well-written memoir is a surefire way to make Asian history and culture come alive for students who approach the subject with little or no knowledge.”1 Building on Frank’s sentiment, in this essay we discuss effective uses of memoirs to teach about modern China and Sino–US encounters. While our examples are China-focused and draw from experiences in undergraduate instruction, the techniques we discuss are applicable to wider East Asian topi...

Feature Article

Fiction: A Passport to the Past

Twenty-five years ago, preparing to teach my first undergraduate survey of early East Asian history, I panicked. A Japanese auto company had recently built a plant in the area, and I knew that student interest in Japan was strong, but my training in that field was spotty at best. I called on friends for advice: assign Tale of Genji, I was told. Somewhat skeptically, I put several chapters of the Seidensticker translation of Genji on my syllabus and was amazed by the positive response from the cl...

Book Review Essay

A Village with My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World. Reviewed by Kristin Stapleton

To plunge readers into the thick of life at some historical period, memoirs and other personal accounts can’t be beat. A book such as The Diary of Anne Frank presents history in a fully embodied way, combining details of material conditions with an avenue into the consciousness of the writer or subject. The intimacy and immediacy of diaries and memoirs give them a power that can be used to stimulate interest in a very unfamiliar past. In this way, Scott Tong’s family history is well-suited t...

Columns, Teaching Resources Essay

Sources for Teaching about Chinese Law and Politics

Bureaucracy is arguably the most significant Chinese contribution to world history. Chinese rulers interested in maintaining their authority learned early on the value of closely monitoring a cadre of trained civil servants whose job it was to monitor closely the movements and activities of a vast population. The record-keeping impulse of the Chinese bureaucrat has supplied us with extremely rich sources for understanding the theory and practice of Chinese law and politics. Here, I introduce ...

Book Review, Resources

Twentieth Century China: A History in Documents

Diverse voices from China’s turbulent twentieth century call out from the pages of the valuable teaching resource Twentieth Century China. R. Keith Schoppa, author of several excellent monographs and textbooks on modern Chinese history, divides the history of the past hundred years into thirteen chronological chapters in this new work. For each, he provides a brief introduction followed by several relevant documents in a variety of forms: political manifestos, personal letters, travelers’ re...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

Spotlight on Inner Asia: The Bizarre Bazaar

Teacher & Student Resource Guide HAZEL SARA GREENBERG, PROJECT DIRECTOR NADYA TKACHENKO, PROJECT COORDINATOR NEW YORK: THE AMERICAN FORUM FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION, 2001 FUNDED BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, TITLE VI GRANT 283 PAGES LOOSE-LEAF BINDER. ISBN: 0-944675-68-9 This valuable new resource covers the geography, history, and cultures of Western China, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Central Asia, Northern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, a bit of the Caucasus, and the Caspian Ba...

Film Review Essay

Sun-tzu: The Art of War

BY DIANE SMITH CURRENTLY AVAILABLE THROUGH BLOCKBUSTER LOCAL OUTLETS GREAT BOOKS SERIES 1994, 50 MINUTES/COLOR Of all the Great Books written in East Asia since writing began, The Art of War is probably the best known title in the English-speaking world today, thanks in part to its popularity among business strategists and international consultants. The producers of this film thus had a great opportunity to use the existing fascination for the book to encourage a deeper understanding of early...