Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Poetry, Prose, and Political Science

I’ve never read poetry in a political science class before. I have frequently cited this statement as my favorite student evaluation comment ever. I don’t even remember clearly if the statement was meant positively (I think it was!)—but I certainly took it that way. I have long used selected prose and poetry in introductory (first- and second-year) college-level political science classes focused on India or South Asia to convey certain themes and arguments to students. Using literatur...

Book Review, Online Supplement

South Asia in World History (New Oxford World History): Reviewed by Rachel Ball-Phillips

Writing world history is a daunting task. World historians continue to struggle with how to write effective survey world history texts for use in the classroom. The New Oxford World History series is an ambitious project that emphasizes “connectedness and interactions of all kinds—cultural, economic, political, religious, and social—involving peoples, places and processes” (viii). By situating South Asia within a broader global context from the Indus Valley Civilization to present, Marc ...

Teaching Resources Essay

Population Trends and Issues: Bangladesh

In demographic studies, much discussion in academic circles centers around either the challenges faced by aging populations in places such as Japan, Germany, or Italy, or the impacts of pronatal and antinatal policies (policies meant to increase or decrease birthrate), such as China’s One-Child Policy or Australia’s Baby Bonus. With a population in excess of 165 million, Bangladesh is currently the world’s eighth-most populous nation, yet remains largely unknown and misunderstood outside o...

Feature Article

Singapore Immigration and Changing Public Policies

The demographic composition of the contemporary population of Singapore reflects a complex and vibrant history of a melting pot nation that has grown out of successive waves of immigration stretching back nearly 200 years. As an immigrant society, Singapore is a product of the forces of globalization that have been a constitutive feature of the historical development of many nations. When Britain’s Sir Stamford Raffles signed a treaty in 1819 with local rulers, a swampy little island was trans...

Feature Article

Akhtar Hameed Khan: A Legendary Social Scientist

Akhtar (Akhter) was born in Agra, India in 1914. India then was composed of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. He grew up in a respectable home and was the eldest of his siblings. As a child, Akhtar enjoyed reading books, an interest that continued throughout his life. His mother was a great source of influence, and many of Akhtar’s habits, including his love for reading, came from her. From his father, he learned many of his values, and, perhaps most important, the value of integrit...

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...

Curriculum Materials Review

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

Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, RI (2013) Reviewed by William J. Tolley 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 ...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Maritime Asia

MARITIME ASIA Asian Bodies of Water URL: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/Asia-lakes.html This is a simple way for younger students to become familiar with the seas and oceans of the Asian continent. There are check boxes for selecting the location of a specific body of water; or one can also click on a map, and the sea or ocean will be identified with an accompanying descriptive blurb. Maritime Asia URL: http://maritimeasia.ws/index.html This site has a number of links on the left side...

Book Review, Columns

In Search of Gandhi

Statues of M. K. (Mahatma) Gandhi stand at major crossroads and other locations in almost every city and town in India. Gandhi’s face appears on the Indian currency. The inspirational leader of India’s independence movement from Great Britain is invoked at numerous opportunities by politicians, business people, social activists, and others, not only in India, but around the world. As many of his current admirers, and most likely he himself would say if he could, what he would have liked to ...

Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Asian Literature

Title: The World of Asian Books URL: http://www.loc.gov/rr/asian/guide/guide-world.html This is a Library of Congress Interactive Guide to their Asian book collection. By going through this guide, one can see the variety and breadth not only of the Library’s collection, but of Asian literature itself. Title: Asia Source: Literature: Authors URL: http://www.asiasource.org/links/al_mp_03.cfm?TID=21,29,41 Annotated links to a variety of works by Asian authors can be found on this p...

Feature Article

Islam in South Asia

By Bimal Kanti Paul Religious identity is a decisive force in the political and social life of many South Asians. Religion was the basis for the 1947 partitioning of British India into Pakistan and India. Today, the impact of religions, particularly Islam, continues to shape the political geography of South Asia. India and Pakistan have fought several wars to control the Muslim-dominated Kashmir region. Decades-long political conflicts in Afghanistan are centered around the imposition of stri...

Feature Article

South Asia in the New Global Textbooks

World History survey courses are on the increase throughout American colleges and universities. The reasons are diverse, including greater heterogeneity in the US college population, the ever-growing role of the United States in world affairs, and the worldwide economic and cultural trends (and academic fashion) we call “globalization.” Along with this growth, a new paradigm for presenting World History in such courses has emerged, one in which Asia plays an increasing role....

Columns, Resources

Transport of Delight: The Ricksha Arts of Bangladesh

Aricksha, often called a cycle ricksha, is a three-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicle widely used to transport people and goods from place to place in many countries of monsoon Asia. It is the most popular and common transport vehicle in Bangladesh—both in urban and rural areas. Rickshas have collapsible, colorfully decorated plastic ‘baby-buggy’  hoods that provide relief to passengers from sun and rain as they ride behind the driver. Rickshas typically carry two passengers but may carry up...

Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Asian Newspapers — English-Language Editions

[Editor’s Note: In order to include as many newspaper sites as possible, remarks have been limited to a single sentence.] BANGLADESH Title: The New Nation URL: http://nation.ittefaq.com/ This paper provides broad coverage of the news of Bangladesh and is associated with a newspaper founded in 1953. Title: The Independent A leading daily newspaper published in Dhaka; articles from its weekly magazine are also indexed on the homepage. Title: Bangladesh Observer URL: http://ww...

Teaching Resources Essay

Reading Across the Curriculum: Using the Fiction of the Indian Subcontinent in Social Science Classes

There is a publishing boom in fiction by authors from the Indian subcontinent. Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi authors are being discovered almost daily. The literature from India is several thousand years old. However, following the notoriety of Salman Rushdie, the meteoric success of Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things, and the Oscar-winning screen adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, it is almost impossible to open the New York Times Book Review w...

Essay, Film Review Essay, Resources

A Personal View of Child Labor and Its Depiction in That’s Why I’m Working

Directed by Maarten Schmidt and Thomas Doebele Distributed by First Run/Icarus Films 32 Court Street, Floor 21, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: 1-800-876-1710 1999. 53 minutes, English subtitles That’s Why I’m Working is a deeply moving story of young boys and girls in the urban trenches of Dacca (Dhaka), Bangladesh, a country with more than 110 million people. This is a story that is very close to my heart, as it closely reflects my own personal experience as a boy growing up in Nepal....

Book Review, Resources

Stories from South Asia

One of the best aspects of teaching literature classes at any level now is the amazing variety of material from around the world available in the English language. This phenomenon is in part the legacy of the British Empire, and much of the best of this writing comes from the former “jewel” of that empire, South Asia (British India in the colonial era). With the observation a couple of years ago of the fiftieth anniversary of independence for India and Pakistan (I’m not sure how this occas...

Feature Article

Globalizing Intellectual Property Rights: Asian Resistance and US Pressure

Over the last twenty years, the U.S. government has repeatedly clashed with Asian countries over their intellectual property laws and enforcement. Arguing that weak Asian intellectual property laws fail to adequately protect the intellectual property of its citizens, the U.S. government has regularly threatened to impose trade sanctions unless Asian intellectual property rights (IPRs) are strengthened. These hard-nosed threats have been accompanied by some remarkable rhetoric: Asian countries sh...

Feature Article

Resourceful People and People’s Resource: Teaching the Cultural Ecology of South Asia

It has been our experience that when most students in the United States think of India or Pakistan, they picture baked and cracked soil, drought, and starving people. When they picture Bangladesh, they most likely think of inundated fields, deadly storms, and drowning farmers. Indeed, these persistent images of nature running wild over helpless people are perhaps the strongest and most pernicious tropes in the North American view of South Asia....

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Asian Literature

Title: Bibliography of Modern Chinese Literature, Film and Culture Extensive bibliographies of Chinese literature in translation, of reference materials including dictionaries and literary compendiums, of studies of Chinese authors arranged alphabetically, and of journals that deal with Chinese literature and culture. Published in conjunction with the journal, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. Title: Chinese Classical Poetry Text and audio files of Chinese poetry, some of which are trans...

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