Education About Asia: Online Archives

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EAA Digest Exclusive

South Asian Literature

Although Asian indigenous cultural variations appear endless, that said, China and India have historically, the most widespread influence throughout Asia, (and elsewhere), when compared with other Asian civilizations. Hopefully, the articles, essays, and resources in both sections of this column assist educators and students in their efforts to learn about and from South Asian literature. 

EAA Digest Exclusive

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

Sports, Asia, and the World

Students practice martial arts for the first time during morning exercises at Jiujiang Primary School in east China’s Jiangxi Province on May 3rd, 2013. The school has choreographed a special set of morning exercises combining traditional martial arts and poetry recitation since the beginning of the spring 2016 semester. Source: Xinhua, courtesy of Imgur at http://imgur.com/L5rGsoB. As an eighth-grade junior high graduation present, my parents offered me two options; both Boy Scout-Related...

EAA Digest Exclusive

Early Asian History

Given the publication this week of our “Teaching Asia in Middle Schools” issue, this month’s Digest Exclusive theme is Early Asian History. Each selection contains interesting “stories” for middle school teachers or non-specialists at any level who teach about early Asia in survey courses. Charles Holcombe’s “Rethinking Early East Asian History” (Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall 2006) is a “big picture” lucid account of the origins of the region. Although specifically developed...

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...

Facts About Asia

Facts About Asia: Rome and the Indian Subcontinent: A Forgotten Story of Impactful Economic Interactions?

Editor’s Note: Richard Davis’s AAS Key Issues in Asian Studies volume—Global India circa 100 CE: South Asia in Early World History—inspired me to incorporate part of his work and draw upon other sources as well in the following essay. Richard deserves the credit for stimulating my interest in this topic, but none of the blame for any errors I might have committed paraphrasing excerpts from Richard’s volume or working with additional sources. “The quest for India is a moving force of...

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 ...

Feature Article

Turtles All the Way Down: An Update on the Asian Turtle Crisis with New Directions

In Chinese mythology, the goddess Nuwa cuts the legs off the giant turtle Ao and uses them to prop up the sky. In Hindu mythology, Kurma the Tortoise King, one of the avatars of Vishnu, props up Mount Meru and assists in the churning of the Ocean of Milk, thereby allowing the gods to recover the Elixir of Immortality.1 The concept of a World Turtle, supporting the very earth upon its back, is a mythical theme that appears in a variety of mythologies, including those of Asia. That turtles are re...

Feature Article

Developments for Tribal Farmers in Rural India

The great obstacle to economic development in rural India is a lack of property rights, according to Trupti Mehta, lawyer for the Action Research in Community Health and Development (ARCH) center. Optimistic and determined, Trupti and her husband, Ambrish Mehta, solved this problem for tribal farmers on their thirty-three-year journey in Gujarat Province, a few hours’ drive from the city of Baroda. Joining Anil Patel, a physician who founded ARCH to help the rural poor, they initially pushed ...

Online Supplement

Cauvery Calling: A Possible Solution for a Dying River and Desperate Farmers

This story begins with a crisis of food insecurity. In 1966, a severe drought compounded India’s problems of producing sufficient food for its growing population and created near famine conditions in many parts of the country. The government had to import large amounts of wheat from the United States to avoid calamity. As a result of this situation, and with external pressures from the United States and international organizations, the central government made a concerted effort to reform agric...

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.

Online Supplement

India’s Historical Impact on Southeast Asia

India’s historical impact on Southeast Asia forms an important component of world history. In this age of globalization, relations between two significant regions are important. The Look East and Act East policies have become the catch word of Indian foreign relations since the 1990s, where Indian policymakers desired close cooperation with Southeast Asian countries. This is nothing new from an Indian perspective, but an enactment of déjà vu. What we know of today as Indian and ...

Columns, Online Supplement

Facts About Asia: India’s Thriving Technology Industry

North American readers of this journal, even if they are not especially tech savvy, are likely familiar with Silicon Valley, located in the San Francisco Bay area, and many of the companies like Apple and Google that make the region their home. Fewer are likely aware of India’s own “Silicon Valley” and the various Indian private companies and startups that help to make the IT sector one of the more faster growing sectors of the economy and create the prospect of India becoming a world lead...

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 ...

Feature Article

Top Ten Things to Know About India in the Twenty-First Century

Indian Elections Are a Sight to Behold Every Indian federal election breaks its previous record as the world’s larg­est electoral exercise. In the 2019 such election, about 900 million Indians were eligible to vote. Sixty-seven percent of them showed up at the voting booth, a percentage higher than in most democracies, including the US. Indians take their elections quite seriously. The Election Commission, enjoying a high level of public trust where such trust is generally hard to...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Indian Rebellion, 1857–1859: A Short History with Documents

The rebellion in northern and cen­tral India, beginning in 1857, has been the object of countless pub­lished works, several of them published even before July 8, 1859, when the Gov­ernment of India officially declared India to be at peace. It has also taken a place of privilege in many histories of mod­ern India, as the moment when Parlia­ment replaced early colonial rule under the British East India Company with “Crown” rule, overseen directly by the British metropolitan government. So...

Feature Article

Top Ten Things to Know About India in the Twenty-First Century

India is Like Europe, But Also Not Like Europe Most Americans have heard of India, but might struggle to describe it. A suitable analogy would be the European Union. The EU is composed of a mosaic of twenty-seven countries that have some things in common, for example, proximity and climate, as well as institutions such as parliament and a currency; but also some dissimilarities, such as language and food. European countries come in all sizes, from Lichtenstein to Germany. In­dia, simil...

Feature Article

Top Ten Things to Know about India in the Twenty-First Century

The defeat of Indian forces by the Chinese in 1962 ushered in a phase after which India tended to be cowed by the growing economic and political might of China. [caption id="attachment_12189" align="alignleft" width="405"] Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel keeping vigil at a checkpoint along a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer area of Ganderbal district on June 18, 2020. Source: © Shutterstock. Photo by Sajadhameed.[/caption] Sino–Indian Relations The first thing...

Feature Article

Studying Indian Secularism to Understand the US

Many, if not most, of the readers of this journal believe that the study of Asia helps US students develop their critical thinking and analytical skills. Far too often, however, the study of Asia is relegated to courses that focus solely on Asian studies. This approach em­phasizes the need to understand the specific historical, cultural, social, and political contexts that shape different Asian developments. In this essay, I present a model for a comparative approach that introduces selective c...