Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching about the Comfort Women during World War II and the Use of Personal Stories of the Victims

“Comfort women” refers to the system of sexual slavery created and controlled by the Imperial Japanese government between 1932 and 1945. It is the largest case of government-sponsored human trafficking and sexual slavery in modern history. Many scholars have argued that the term comfort women, a euphemism coined by the Japanese military, obscures the gravity of the crime. While the authors agree that “military sexual slaves” is a much more accurate and appropriate phrase, we use the term...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Surveying Southeast Asia with the Newest Edition of Southeast Asia in the New International Era by Robert Dayley

Southeast Asia can seem overwhelming to integrate into a course, given its eleven countries and considerable cultural diversity. Robert Dayley’s Southeast Asia in the New International Era steps in to save the day. Organized into thirteen chapters, the book provides a thorough overview and introduction to the political developments of each of the eleven countries. The introductory chapter provides a historical survey and a discussion of cultural features of the region, and the concluding chapt...

Feature Article

Postcolonial Religious Conflict in Southeast Asia

“All religions teach people to be good people,” or so the Thai saying goes. This fits in with the general belief throughout Southeast Asia that religion is a good thing—though of course each person believes his/her religion to be the highest good. It is not surprising, then, that religious belief and practice remain key elements in Southeast Asian private and public life, with secularism little more than a theory. Religion continues to define the majority of people’s sense of self in Sou...

Feature Article

Comparative History of Genocide in Southeast Asia: Using Cambodia and East Timor in Asian Civilizations and World History Survey Courses

The structure of most world history and Asian civilizations survey courses focuses on the major civilizational cores of the world—China, the Indian Ocean Basin, Western Europe, Meso-America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Dar al-Islam, and so forth—and on the process of integration and globalization (for example, cross-cultural trade, religious conversion, and empire building). Unfortunately, many smaller locales and polities between these larger core areas can be ignored. There are many cases wher...

Feature Article

Teaching and Learning About Southeast Asia

Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, East Timor, Việt Nam, and the Philippines— why is it important for middle, high school, and college students to learn about Southeast Asia? What might interest them about this area sprawling between the Indian and Pacific oceans, between India, China, and Australia? Young people struggle to learn a wide range of subjects in school and as undergraduates. They often complain that what they learn has little relevance to th...

Feature Article

Maritime Southeast Asia: Not Just a Crossroads

Crossroads and Inroads Southeast Asia’s reputation as a crossroads is anchored in histories of trade and empire, which, of course, also includes piracy. While these play important roles in the study of the region’s maritime history, advances in recent decades include other themes and approaches as well. Southeast Asian source material remains vital to countering scholars who neglect or underutilize such sources and portray the region as dominated by the actions of outsiders. In addition, tw...

Essay, Resources

Teaching About Southeast Asian Transition Economies: Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and East Timor

By R. L. Curry, Jr. Most transition economies are countries that are in the process of reforming their institutional structures that rely extensively upon centralized government planning agencies and state-owned enterprises to allocate scarce national resources and distribute the resulting output. These countries are in the midst of shifting responsibilities for allocating and distributing resources to institutions that feature decentralized markets, private business enterprises and a support...

Feature Article

One Country or Many? Prospects for the Future of Indonesia

Like so many other multiethnic, multinational countries in the world, Indonesia struggles to maintain its national cohesion. Indeed, 95 percent of countries in the world have more than one ethnic group within their boundaries. and many are buffeted by some of the same stresses affecting Indonesia. Some have already crumbled-the USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Ethiopia. Will Indonesia be next? Indonesia has long been conscious of its need for greater national integration and has made substa...

Feature Article

Ten Years After: Essential Features of APEC’s Evolution and Future Prospects

It’s been less than a year after the Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to Robert Mundell, who provided much of the conceptual underpinning for the single currency, the euro, adopted at the beginning of 1999 by eleven of the fifteen members of the European Union (EU). Thus it seems particularly appropriate to review the ongoing enterprise of teaching about another, much younger regional grouping, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which celebrated its tenth birthday in 1999. This...

Book Review, Resources

Indonesia

By Bruce Grant MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY PRESS, THIRD EDITION, 1996 248 PAGES “Contemporary history is hard to write with assurance.” This is the opening statement in Bruce Grant’s chapter on “future” in Indonesia . Recent events in that country would certainly support Grant’s assertion. The book was first published in 1964 and this edition, while extensively revised, retains the readability and sympathy for its subject that made the original version a success. Although Indonesia is...

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