Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Asia, Power, and Robes of Honor

More than three decades ago, my wife and I ventured overland from Istanbul to Delhi. At Herat, on the western border of Afghanistan, my wife met a group of women—a matriarch, her daughters, and daughters-in-law. Although they shared no common language, my wife accompanied them over several days while they bought and sold in the markets. The matriarch liked my wife and on the day we left insisted that she accept her old, black, beautiful, fully embroidered cloak. The women showed her how to dra...

Feature Article

Democracy in Asia

In June 2015, Utah State University hosted a graduate-level workshop for teachers on “Democracy in Asia: A Universal or American System?” Eight Asia specialists from three universities convened to share their expertise with local educators. Recognizing that a brief article cannot do justice to a weeklong workshop, we are still committed to extending the fruits of that local outreach to a broader community. What follows are a few highlights from each workshop session, including suggested sour...

Feature Article

“Give Me Blood, and I Will Give You Freedom”: Bhagat Singh, Subhas Chandra Bose, and the Uses of Violence in India’s Independence Movement

[caption id="attachment_9580" align="alignleft" width="240"] Photograph of Bhagat Singh taken in 1929 when he was twenty-one years old. Source: http://tinyurl.com/k8wwjjw.[/caption] Last April, two Indian students visited my high school for a few weeks and joined my world history class. One day, during a discussion of the Indian independence movement, I asked all of my students in the class to hold up their hand if they had ever heard of Bhagat Singh or Subhas Chandra Bose. Only two hands wen...

Feature Article

A Global Crossroads Reemerges in the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction to Central Asia

The Where and Why of Central Asia As a scholar of Central Asia, I have frequently been asked two questions by students and colleagues over the course of my career: Where is Central Asia, and why is it important? Strangely, the first question is often more difficult to answer precisely than the second. The terms “Central Asia,” “Inner Asia,” and more recently “Central Eurasia” all refer to a region that is marked by a frustrating imprecision of location. Here I will consider Central ...

Online Supplement

Terrorism in Central Asia: Dynamics, Dimensions, and Sources

Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Central Asia has experienced a deluge of religious activity. All of the Central Asian republics—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan —have seen the rapid construction of new mosques; the opening of madrassas; and a noticeable upswing in Muslim consciousness, evidenced in a marked increase in the practitioners of Islam. Along with moderate and traditional forms of Islam, radical and militant Islamic trends have als...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Central Asia

CENTRAL ASIA AND THE SILK ROADS Silk Road Foundation URL: http://tiny.cc/u5go5w For anyone who wants information and historical facts about the Silk Roads, this is a good resource. There are historical chronologies and short biographies of those who traveled the Silk Roads, dating back to 959 BC, timelines, the history of silk, and maps. Silk Road URL: http://tiny.cc/jxj46w Produced by Jeffrey Hays, this site is rich in resources. There are details about the routes, the products, Samar...

Online Supplement

Internet Links to accompany the Teaching Resources Essay “Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative: An Introduction”

Editor’s Note: See the print article in EAA vol. 18: 2 for more information about the archive and the links below. 1. “Alpamysh: Central Asian Identity under Russian Rule” http://tiny.cc/q7pc1w In this extensive work written in 1989, HB Paksoy writes about Alpamysh, an ornate Turkish oral history (or dastan) set mostly in verse. Paksoy describes the importance of Alpamysh as a repository of Turkish history and culture and the struggle of Central Asians to preserve it in the wake of S...

Resources

The Taliban, Women, and Human Rights

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s government in 1996 and ruled until it was driven from power during the 2001 US-led invasion. The Taliban provided safe haven to al-Qaeda, an Islamic extremist organization that publicly executed criminals and outlawed education for women and girls. (note 1) Today, although progress has been made, and education is more accessible than under the Taliban, more than half of all Afghan girls still do not attend school. Underneath the surface of reported ...

Resources

The Afghanistan War: Diverse Voices and Viewpoints

Bing West’s Home Page http://www.bingwest.com/ Bing West served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in the Reagan administration. Bing was a combat Marine in Việt Nam, authored the counterinsurgency classic, The Village, and has been on hundreds of patrols in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Việt Nam. He has published widely on the war in numerous periodicals and journals, including Foreign Affairs and The Wall Street Journal. West is a leading critique of the ...

EAA Interview, Resources

Interview with Master Sergeant Michael W. Howland: The War in Afghanistan

Master Sergeant Michael W. Howland (MSG) is currently Senior Military Instructor for the award-winning University of Mississippi ROTC program. MSG Howland entered active duty in the United States Army in 1988 when he enlisted as an Infantryman and graduated from Basic/AIT and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 2000, he was assigned to US Army Special Operations Command, where he served until being assigned to the Rebel Battalion at the University of Mississippi in June 2010. MSG Howlan...

Resources

The Taliban: Important Points for Teachers and Students

1. The term “Taliban” means “students” in Pashto; the organization originated in Qandahar in the early 1990s; most members were Pashtu; they ruled over the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1995–2001). 2. The Taliban emerged victorious in the civil war conflict with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan between 1992 and 1995, with military support of Pakistan and funding from Saudi Arabia. 3. The Taliban won control of Kabul and southern Afghanistan, and their numbers increased bec...

Resources

The Buddhas of Bamiyan

The Buddhas of Bamiyan looked over the Bamiyan Valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan for fifteen centuries. The two statues were carved into the side of a sandstone cliff at the foot of the Hindu Kush Mountains of central Afghanistan in 507 and 554 CE in the valley 140 miles northwest of Kabul. The Taliban destroyed them in March 2001— six months before the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City—in an attempt to cleanse the country of idolatry. (note 1) [c...

Book Review, Resources

A Far Away Home

BY HOWARD FABER OMAHA: WRITELIFE PUBLISHERS, 2012 168 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1608080519, PAPERBACK Reviewed by David Huebner 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 de...

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 the...

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...

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. [caption id="attachment_10111" align="alignnone" width="735"] Map source: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_...

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

What History Can Teach Us About Contemporary Afghanistan

[caption id="attachment_10115" align="alignleft" width="250"] King Zahir Shah. Source: http://tiny.cc/iudziw.[/caption] 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 ...

Feature Article

Music in Afghanistan

[caption id="attachment_10001" align="alignnone" width="721"] A screen capture adaptation from the music video “Homayoun Sakhi and Friends” on YouTube at http://bit.ly/wvCG0o.[/caption] 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...

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. [caption id="attachment_10...

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