Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review

Chinese Literature: An Introduction

Ihor Pidhainy’s Chinese Literature: An Introduction, a slim volume of 110 pages, offers a clear and concise overview of Chinese literature from 1250 BCE to the end of the twentieth century. It is an ideal source for anyone who hopes to explore the literary traditions of China.

Book Review

Dragonfly Dreams

Dragonfly Dreams chronicles the life of the Liu family in Tianjin, China, in the early 1940s, a time and place in history often overlooked by Americans. Appropriate for middle school grades and above, the captivating story is a vehicle for learning about China, and it can also be used to teach about the challenges and joys experienced by young people during times of conflict.

Fish Shoes: A Palace Drama Historical Background and Chapter 1: “The Princess and the Horse Race”

In the thirteenth century, Europe knew nothing of the rise of a new imperial power in Asia. The Pope, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the Kings of Europe knew nothing about the Muslim political and commercial activities in Asia. The news of the Mongol conquests in Russia and the invasion of Hungary and Poland caused a reaction in Europe. They needed to know the intentions of the new invaders. By contrast, Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan) and General Subudei considered intelligence a priority. Before ...

Book Review

China and the Founding of the United States: The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization

China and the Founding of the United States The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization By Dave Xueliang Wang Lanham, Lexington Books, 2021 365 Pages, ISBN 978: 1793644350, Hardcover Reviewed by Peter K. Frost “The mere thought of Chinese cultural influence on the founding of the United States,” Dave Wang’s states in his very first sentence in this quite extraordinary book, “is unimaginable to some.” The rest of the book is dedicated to combat what he considers “misconcep...

Essay

Sisters and Enemies: A True Story of Two Sisters

They are two sisters born and raised in China’s southeastern coastal city of Fuzhou in Fujian Province. In a family that claims the last emperor’s tutor, Chen Baochen, as one of its ancestors, the girls had the privilege of traditional tutoring at home, in addition to their missionary school education—modern and bilingual—and had dreams as big as the world. The older sister, Jun, wanted to be a teacher, and the younger one, Hong, wanted to be a “big doctor”—in her own words—to ge...

Feature Article

Variolation to Vaccine: Smallpox Inoculation Travels East to West and Back Again

The history of the inoculation process itself might help shed light on the roots of controversies we are facing today. In the spring of 1721, England struggled in the grip of a deadly smallpox epidemic. Mandated shutdowns affected businesses, schools, and social venues, health care services were overwhelmed, and the newspapers reported alarming death tolls. Doctors in London seized the opportunity to introduce the public to the concept of inoculation, which had long been practiced in Asia and th...

Feature Article

Knocking on China’s Door: The First Protestant Mission

China’s “closed-door” policy, upended by the Opium Wars of 1839–1842 and 1856–1860, safeguarded the Middle Kingdom from unwanted advances by the West. A deep-seated suspicion of foreign infiltration—cultural, political, and economic—was augmented by the arrogance of China’s ruling class, who insisted on China’s superiority in the world arena. Western aggression of the 1800s forced China to open up trade with other nations and led to the eventual demise of the Qing dynasty. When...

Feature Article

How the Chinese Communist Party Manages the Bureaucracy: The Case for Rethinking the Role of Information Technology and Good Governance

In November 2021, during a routine inspection of drunk driving in Nanchang, the capital city of Jiangxi province, a woman driving a Maserati was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. She refused to cooperate with an alcohol test and after sixty-six invalid tests she repeatedly told a traffic police officer to “ask Yu Wei to come over” and tried to make a phone call. The officer stopped her from calling and said to her: “It’s useless to call anyone. Do not call for anyone. This is being ...

Feature Article

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...

Feature Article

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 ...

Feature Article

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.

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Back to School Special: “The Top Ten Most Viewed” and More

As a teenager, I was interested in lists of the top ten most popular songs and for most of my life, various top ten lists of books have always garnered my attention. Having a top ten “most viewed” EAA archived articles list is a never-ending source of personal interest. Digest readers are cordially invited to check out our "most viewed" EAA archives list (see the right side of the main EAA archives page) and speculate on what trends our list might indicate. Your feedback is of great inter...

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

International Politics and Archeology: Disparate Critical Teaching Topics

Although these two topics will probably attract different readers, they both are important components of a liberal arts education. Virtually all high schools and colleges in North America and elsewhere offer modern world history; in the US, AP Comparative Government and Politics; and in Europe, the US and elsewhere, International Baccalaureate Programs courses in the “individual and societies” curriculum focus upon international politics and issues. Increasingly, college and universities of...

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Asia through Literature: China, Japan, Korea

Teaching Asia through Literature: China, Japan, Korea [caption id="attachment_18783" align="alignleft" width="200"] Book cover for My Borther's Keeper by Julie Lee[/caption] Contemporary education at almost every level, through its seeming obsession with "Objectives," "Learning Outcomes," and intensely political ideologies, seems to be minimizing the pleasure, varying emotions, and truth that literature conveys about the human condition. EAA readers and subscribers familiar with Asia wil...

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Xi Jinping, China, and the World (Part 1)

During the last 4-5 years, President Xi Jinping’s government has engaged in aggressive domestic and global policies that raise profound concerns for human rights and freedom. This exclusive focuses upon China’s actions in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjiang.

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Rethinking our Notions of Asia

Fifteen years ago, we published a special section titled “Rethinking our Notions of Asia.” This column will hopefully help EAA readers and their students continue this process in multiple ways. Most fundamentally, students should first learn basic information about Asian cultures. That said, instructors and students in middle school, high school, and undergraduate classes can learn even more about Asia and the world through considering the essays below.

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Asian Geographies: Overcoming Pedagogical Barriers

Understanding geography, especially physical geography, is not easy for me. A deceased relative once described this ineptness as “not having even a bump of locality.” This handicap notwithstanding, my advocacy for geographic literacy in general, and geographic understanding of Asia in particular, as essential foundations of liberal and international education becomes stronger each year. Despite enormous digital advances in pedagogy, the apparent persistence of widespread geographic illitera...

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Japanese Culture: Timeless Influences

At the most fundamental level, no humans have created cultures that are completely unique in human history. That said, indigenous practices, interactions with other cultures, and subsequent creative cultural adaptations help to richly enhance any culture. Each one of the following archived EAA articles, intended for teachers and students, are illustrative of cultural practices and influences that remain “timeless” in influencing many Japanese.

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Intercultural Contacts 2: Visual Learning, Belief Systems, and the Silk Roads

The term Asia is both, at one level, geographically accurate, and conceptually useful in understanding specific cultures but at another level, the concept of “Asia” is limiting because of regional and global connections that have existed since antiquity. The focus of the January 2021 EAA Digest Exclusive was intercultural contacts, as is the case with this month’s column. Given the subjects most EAA readers teach, understanding the humanities and social sciences means realizing the power o...

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Armed Conflict in Asia

Learning about the profound multiple causes and effects of armed conflicts on past, present, and possible future generations is a critical component of a liberal education and an imperative part of reflective democratic citizenship, including, and especially, electing executive and legislative leaders.