Education About Asia: Online Archives

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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

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.

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.

Columns, Film Review Essay

Have You Seen This Man?

The acknowledged first recorded film made in China is The Battle of Dingjunshan by Ren Qingtai from 1905. As such, the China National Film Museum in Beijing has on exhibit signage that notes this acknowledgment, along with the recreation of the filming. However, there are a number of Chinese film scholars who have their doubts about whether it was ever actually made. Mention is made in a July 1904 article in the professional magician’s journal Mahatma on the Chinese magician Ching...

Teaching Resources Essay

The Xinjiang Documentation Project

The Xinjiang Documentation Project (XDP) is a multidisciplinary collaborative project based at the Institute of Asian Research in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia and cosponsored by the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University. The XDP collects, assesses, preserves, and makes available documentary information on the state policies and experiences of ext...

Feature Article

New Online Teaching Resources for Early Chinese Cinema

The Chinese Film Classics Project is a research, teaching, and translation initiative aimed at making early Chinese cinema more accessible to the general public. The centerpieces of the project are two interlinked web resources: (1) the website chinesefilmclassics.org and (2) the YouTube channel Modern Chinese Cultural Studies (https://tinyurl.com/4zk6wevb). These sites currently feature twenty-four Chinese films released between 1922 and 1949 with complete English subtitles; over 150 film clips...

Columns

In Memoriam: Ezra F. Vogel (1930–2020)

Those of us who are committed to studying East Asia lost an extraordinary scholar, teacher, and friend when the retired Harvard University Sociology Professor Ezra F. Vogel died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this last December.

Feature Article

Making China And India Great Again? Why China’s and India’s Paths to Power May Hit a Wall, Part II: Foreign Policy Challenges

For the past decade, experts in international relations have suggested that the world’s center of power is shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the main reason is the extraordinary rise of China. They add that the equally remarkable, though slightly slower, rise of India will move the center of global power even further from the West. A number of observers strongly believe the efforts of the United States under former President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy to ...

Teaching Resources Essay

Under the Dome

Under the Dome was first shown in China on February 28, 2015 The documentary is now included in the Global Environmental Justice Documentaries Project, which is based in the USA and Canada and supported by the International Documentary Association. The title of the documentary was taken from the book Under the Dome, written by Stephen King and published in 2009. (The documentary is about China; the book is about the USA.) The documentary is also available online. Synopsis T...

Teaching Resources Essay

Searching for Sacred Mountain

This review was written by three colleagues and close friends at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas. Although slightly unusual in this sort of review, we believe that describing our academic training and contemplative practices will help readers better understand our comments that represent, like any good interpretive exercise or classroom discussion, multiple, sometimes-incompatible assumptions, orientations, and conclusions. Rather than a shortcoming, however, we ...

Columns

Facts About Asia: Human Flourishing, Energy, and the Environment

By the end of 2019, four Asian countries ranked in the top ten world-wide in total energy consumption, the majority of which is derived from fossil fuels. The Asia Pacific region alone consumed 257.6 exajoules (a joule is a unit of energy measurement and one exajoule is one quintillion joules) of energy, the most in the world. China leads the world by a considerable margin with 141.7 exajoules of energy consumed, almost 50 more than the second-place user, the United States.

Feature Article

Making China and India Great Again? Why China’s and India’s Paths to Power May Hit a Wall Part I: Domestic Policy Challenges

There is general agreement among the pundits and mandarins who study India and China that these two countries will become two of the world’s most powerful nations in the near future, if they have not already. Some believe that they may become the most powerful nations in the world, relegating the United States and Europe to the status of mere ob­servers of the future course of humanity. Regardless when exactly this may occur, such an outcome could be compared, in a sense, to a return to what ...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

A Confucian Classroom in Qing China

In September 2005, at the Panjiayuan Antiques Market in Beijing, I  bought a book of materials once used by an elementary school teacher.  It seems the teacher took some of his classroom materials to a shop in  the city of Panshi in Jilin Province in northeast China and had them copied  onto clean, handmade paper and bound together with string. The shop put  its stamp on the cover, so we know the city where it was located.1 The title  the shop wrote on the cover of this collection was Thre...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Plastic China

Plastic China, a 2016 film from director Jiu-Liang Wang, tells the story of a small recycling factory in Shangdong Province, China. The film’s title suggests a broad coverage of China’s massive plastic recycling sector, but rather we are given a glimpse into the operation of one small, apparently totally unregulated, recycling factory and the fami­lies that live and work there amid the endless seas of plastic and plumes of black smoke emanating from buildings, chimneys, and the ground itsel...

EAA Interview, Resources

An EAA Interview with the 2020 Franklin R. Buchanan Prizewinners: Gary Marcuse, Jason A. Carbine, and Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez for The Global Environmental Justice Collection (Focus on Asia/ Spotlight on North America)

[caption id="attachment_12198" align="alignleft" width="268"] Gary Marcuse.[/caption] This is our twenty-fourth consecutive interview with the winner of the recipient of the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. This year’s winners are Gary Marcuse, Jason A. Carbine, and Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez for The Global Environmental Justice Collection (Focus on Asia/Spotlight on North America) at http://globalenvironmentaljustice.com. The documentaries in the collection were selected by faculty from Whittier...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

How to Measure a “Giant”?: A Short Guide to Gross Domestic Product Figures

Instructors in political science, history, and area studies have long known that the rapid economic growth of Asian countries is one of the most important world trends to teach students. Political scientists and international relations experts regularly view a country’s economic size as a reflection of its international power. The size of the economy helps set military budgets and acquisitions, foreign aid, and public diplomacy. These capabilities help a country influence other countries, or t...

EAA Interview, Resources

Teaching About Asia in a Time of Pandemic: A Conversation with David Kenley

In the spring of 2020, educators suddenly found themselves teaching remotely as they and their students began a multiweek period of pandemic-induced isolation. As weeks turned to months, administrators announced that students would not return to campus until the following school year and perhaps even longer. Teachers quickly scrambled to design new pedagogical approaches suitable to a socially distanced education. Teaching About Asia in a Time of Pandemic presents many lessons learned by educato...

Editor's Message

Editor’s Message

I wish all EAA readers who are fortunate enough to have the chance, a joyous, peaceful, and reflective holiday season. The special section “Teaching Asia’s Giants: India” commences with four solicited essays that build upon, beginning with Carol Gluck’s original essay “Top Ten Things to Know About Japan in the late 1990s,” a number of “Top Ten Things” essays we’ve published throughout the years. At the risk of using a term that has reached the point it perhaps has no...

Feature Article

The National Humiliation Narrative: Dealing with the Present by Fixating on the Past

In his speech announcing the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on October 1, 1949, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Mao Zedong famously proclaimed, “Ours will no longer be a nation subject to insult and humiliation. We have stood up.” With those words, Mao explained that a new era had begun for China under CCP leadership. To those unfamiliar with Chinese history, such a proclamation may seem confusing. Didn’t China have 5,000 years of a glorious and storied history? ...