Education About Asia: Online Archives

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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)

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 College, Yale, Bates College, Brandeis, and NYU, who also wrote teaching guides for th...

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...

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? ...

Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

ASIA SHORTS: The Great Smog of China: An Interview with Anna L. Ahlers, Mette Halskov Hansen, and Rune Svarverud

The Great Smog of China: A Short Event History of Air Pollution traces Chinese air pollution events dating back to more than 2,000 years ago. Based on the authors’ fieldwork, interviews and text studies, the book offers a short and concise history of selected air pollution incidents that for varying reasons prompted different kinds of responses and forms of engagement in Chinese society. The three authors, from the disciplines of anthropology, China studies and political science, identify trac...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching the History of Violence in China at a Southern Military College

Probably in my second year of teaching at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, I attended a cadet’s public lecture on Chinese politics. During the question-and-answer period, one of my English department colleagues, a former Green Beret, stated that the Chinese were an effeminate people who had no martial tradition. Some of the cadets in the audience happened to be active-duty soldiers from Taiwan. I was shocked and immediately told the English professor that China had a long a...

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...

Facts About Asia, Resources

Vigil: HONG KONG IN CRISIS An Interview with Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of five previous books, including China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (coauthored by Maura Elizabeth Cunningham) and Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo. In his latest book, Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, Professor Wasserstrom combines his extensive knowledge of Hong Kong from the ground up with a broader understa...

Online Supplement

Late Imperial China, Silver, and Global Trade Routes

After the early fifteenth century, extensive European explorations marked the beginning of globalization. Vasco da Gama’s sea route to India, Christopher Columbus’s trans-Atlantic voyages to the Americas, and Juan Sebastián Elcano’s completion of the first circumnavigation of the globe are examples of this process. European trade with the so-called “New World” also strengthened ties between China and the Americas. In 1581, the Sycee, a silver ingot currency used throughout China’s l...

Feature Article

Ten Things We Need to Know When Teaching about Early China

Since 1996, I have been teaching about early China in various college courses on Eastern civilization, the history of China and Japan, the history of Asian culture, and world history. During the pandemic of spring 2020, while based in northwest Germany, I offered a new online graduate course on cultural heritage and international relations, with students logged in from Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, and North America. This undertaking presented as many technological and academic challenges as it...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching China in a Global History Survey

In 1793, the King of England, George III, sent a mission led by Lord George Macartney to the court of the Qianlong Emperor in China. The British were asking for a new arrangement for trade with the Qing empire, which at that point was conducted at a single port, Guangzhou, in the far south of the country, and had to take place through official intermediaries, known to the British as Hong merchants. Inspired by the increasing competitiveness of their products, as the Industrial Revolution was jus...

Feature Article

Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones: Deng Xiaoping in the Making of Modern China

The 9th of September 1976: The story of Deng Xiaoping’s ascendancy to paramount leader starts, like many great stories, with a death. Nothing quite so dramatic as a murder or an assassination, just the quiet and unassuming death of Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In the wake of his passing, factions in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) competed to establish who would rule after the Great Helmsman. Power, after all, abhors a vacuum. In the first corner...

Online Supplement

Key Issues in Asian Studies: Modern Chinese History

During the 2020 US presidential election, Republican candidate Donald Trump frequently referred to his Democratic opponent as “Beijing Biden,” accusing him of currying favor from the Communist Party leadership in China, the same individuals Trump claimed were responsible for the global spread of the so-called “China Virus.” Joe Biden responded by condemning Beijing for its treatment of China’s Uighur minority, suggesting that he was the only candidate who would stand up to Chinese Pres...

Feature Article

NOVEL ADVENTURES: Using The Journey to the West to Teach Tang China History and Culture

It often seems that the further away in time and space a topic is from our students’ lives, the more difficult it can be to inspire engaged learning in a history class. This is equally true of courses from other disciplines that engage with content from the distant past, such as those focusing on art, culture, and religion. Thus, teaching Tang China (618–907) history and culture might seem to be a particularly daunting task, especially to the nonspecialist. Such a challenge might even tempt ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad

The meeting of two huge locomotives on May 10, 1869, of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railways at Promontory Point in Utah is one of the most notable events in American history. For the first time, the United States was connected by rail from coast to coast and the journey from New York to San Francico, which before would have taken many grueling months, could now be comfortably completed in less than a week. Fortunately, for all those involved in the construction of the transcontinental...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Taiwan Nation-State or Province? (Seventh Edition)

For reasons both good and bad, 2020 has perhaps been a banner year for Taiwan in terms of increased global identification and international acknowledgment of its contributions and plight against the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In January 2020, President Tsai Ingwen, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was reelected to a second term, winning an unprecedented eight million-plus votes over her challenger, Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu. Between Tsai’s elector...

Feature Article

China, Global History, and the Sea: Pedagogical Perspectives and Applications

China has had a long and complex relationship with the sea. Although regarded primarily as a continental power within the context of global history, China’s maritime history has taken place within the context of the Asian region, and more recently within the broader scope of global affairs. The maritime history of China, distinct from its continental history, has its own stories, evidence, scholars, and scholarship. This article will tell some of these stories with notes on evidence, and intro...