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...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Weight of Our Sky

The Weight of Our Sky By Hanna Alkaf New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019 288 pages, ISBN 978-1534426085, Hardcover Reviewed by Zoë McLaughlin The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf centers on Melati, a Malaysian schoolgirl who is a fan of the Beatles and loves going to the cinema with her best friend. But one thing sets Melati apart: she believes she has a djinn inside of her, a creature out of Islamic mythology who regularly shows her scenes of death and pain, compelling her to count and t...

Feature Article

Asia’s Role in the Four Industrial Revolutions

The United States and Europe have been at the forefront of the Industrial Revolutions over the last two and a half centuries. Almost all Asian countries, except Japan, were latecomers to these revolutions. Nevertheless, many of them, including China, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, made significant progress by the end of the Third Industrial Revolution. What follows is a brief depiction of the involvement of Japan; the “Asian Giants,” China and Indi...

Feature Article

Singapore Immigration and Changing Public Policies

The demographic composition of the contemporary population of Singapore reflects a complex and vibrant history of a melting pot nation that has grown out of successive waves of immigration stretching back nearly 200 years. As an immigrant society, Singapore is a product of the forces of globalization that have been a constitutive feature of the historical development of many nations. When Britain’s Sir Stamford Raffles signed a treaty in 1819 with local rulers, a swampy little island was trans...

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...

Online Supplement

How Free Are Postcolonial Polities? Select Nation Profiles

Freedom House is an independent organization that advocates for increased freedom and democracy around the world. Partnering with frontline human rights activists to advance democratic change, Freedom House recognizes that freedom is only possible within the context of a democratic government that is accountable to its own people. Established in New York City in 1941, Freedom House has expanded to include offices in a dozen countries. Furthermore, among its goals include collaboration with li...

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...

Online Supplement

What Soccer Means To Me: National Integration through the Prism of Soccer in Singapore

For Singaporeans of my generation born in the 1960s, soccer dominates our lives. It’s hard now to imagine an era where children did not have fancy gadgets with bells, lights, and sound effects—let alone television. But that was the reality of growing up in post-Independence Singapore, where poverty was endemic and forms of recreation for children were limited. Yet for me, like so many Singaporean children growing up in the 1970s, our lives revolved around soccer. I started playing soccer ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Multiple Asias: Confessions of a Europeanist Teaching World History

History provides context. Today’s students are growing up in a world where political crises on other continents affect their lives. Tomorrow’s citizens will need an ever-broader array of background knowledge to understand the world around them. History teachers have an opportunity and obligation to provide their students with the context necessary to understand the news, interact with people from other cultures, and thrive in a globalized world.

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

School Textbooks and East Asia’s “History Wars”: A Comparative Approach to Teaching About Perspective, Bias, and Historical Memory

As EAA readers are well-aware, the question of historical memory is considerably salient in the context of East Asia. History—especially twentieth-century history—remains a recurring source of debate and contention in the region. At times, such disagreements have escalated into rancorous national and international disputes, even sparking violence and disrupting normal international relations, economic activity, and individuals’ daily lives.

Feature Article

From the Nisshin to the Musashi: The Military Career of Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) aircraft set out on one of the most famous operations in military history: a surprise air attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawai`i. The attack was devised and fashioned by Admiral Yamamoto, whose entire military career seems to have been leading to this very moment. Yamamoto was a naval officer who appreciated and understood the strategic and technological advantages of naval aviation. This essay will explore Yamamoto...

Feature Article

An EAA Interview with Satu Limaye: Why Southeast Asia Matters for America and the World

Satu Limaye was named Director of the East-West Center in Washington in February 2007. He is also a Senior Adviser at the CNA Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis organization located in Alexandria, Virginia. From October 2005 to February 2007, he was a Research Staff Member of the Strategy and Resources Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) and from July 1998 to October 2005 Director of Research and Publications at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), a...

Feature Article

Integrating Viet Nam into World History Surveys

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Việt Nam War of the 1960–70s remains the major, and sometimes only, point of entry of Việt Nam into the American imagination. This is true for popular culture in general and the classroom in particular. Although the Việt Nam War ended almost forty years ago, American high school and college students continue to learn about Việt Nam mostly as a war and not as a country. Whatever coverage of Việt Nam found in history textbooks is primarily devo...

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

Focus Upon Three Southeast Asia Nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand

Indonesia Few nations claim the breadth and depth of ethnic groups, cultural practices, languages, and lifestyles as Indonesia. With over 250 million people scattered across over 7,000 islands, and 700 languages and dialects in use, Indonesia seems to defy the idea of nation or state. Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims of any nation in the world, but not all Indonesians are Muslim. Most people living on Bali practice a special form of Hinduism. In the eastern part of the archipe...

Feature Article

Teaching Southeast Asia Interactively: The ASEAN “Plus Three” Simulation

Interactive simulations, games, and role-playing exercises have become popular methods to engage students in the classroom by assigning them specific roles within a political process and asking them to act like real political actors. These exercises offer numerous advantages, including improved information retention, development of critical thinking, speaking and presentation skills, and increased student interest in the subject.1 In the essay below, we present the advantages of selecting ASEAN ...

Online Supplement

Online Resources for “USG Asia Council: Teaching Southeast Asia Workshop” and “Teaching Southeast Asia Interactively: The ASEAN ‘Plus Three’ Simulation”

Online Resources: “USG Asia Council Teaching Southeast Asia Workshop” “Teaching Southeast Asia Interactively The ASEAN ‘Plus Three’ Simulation" “USG Asia Council Teaching Southeast Asia Workshop” From Paul Rodell’s Southeast Asian History Presentation “Southeast Asia in World History,” World History Bulletin, Spring 2009. Available at http://tinyurl.com/mmut7v9 PDF and PowerPoint Presentations “Southeast Asia History: Themes & Resources,” http://tinyurl.com/...

Columns, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Southeast Asia in the Humanities and Social Science Curricula

SOUTHEAST ASIA Map of Southeast Asia URL: http://tinyurl.com/moko9d6 This map gives the reader an idea of the complicated geography of Southeast Asian countries. Each country is shown with a different color, making it easy to identify them. Ancient Lights: The Geography and Cultures of Southeast Asia (video) Volume 1, URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_WkIb01bs8 Volume 2, URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJtGyOFKVa4 These videos, from Ancient Lights: The Geography and Cultu...

Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Robert D. Kaplan’s “Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific”

When Robert D. Kaplan talks, people listen. Kaplan has authored over a dozen books on subjects ranging from the conflicts of the Middle East to the wars of the Balkan Peninsula, and his uncanny ability to assess international trends has catapulted him onto Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In his latest book, Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, he demonstrates that the Southeast Asian littoral may very well be the locus of the mo...

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...

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