Education About Asia: Online Archives

(culture, history, art, marriage, etc...)

NOTE: Archive articles may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or classroom use only.

Book Review Essay, Feature Article

Planting the seeds of Wild Mustard: Reading Vietnamese Short Stories in the Study of Asian History and Religion

Wild Mustard: New Voices from Vietnam is a collection of contemporary short stories, translated into English and edited by Charles Waugh, Nguyen Lien, and Van Gia (Curbstone Books/Northwestern, 2017). I have used the book in two college courses on the history of Asian religions. This essay primarily focuses on using “Sleeping in the Lotus Flowers,” a story included in the book, in the classroom. There is also contextual content on Vietnamese culture and religion that should be helpful for in...

Book Review Essay, Feature Article

The Sorrow of the Things They Carried: The American War in Việt Nam and Stories Told by Combat Soldiers from Both Sides

Bao Ninh’s (b. 1952) The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam (1990) and Tim O’Brien’s (b. 1946) The Things They Carried (1990) are Việt Nam classics that depict traumatic memories of war veterans. These two novels bring the reader into communion with the enormous weight of sorrow that resulted from fighting in a devastating war. The Things They Carried, a semi-autobiographical novel that reads like a collection of short stories, is one of the finest and most widely read books about ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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

[caption id="attachment_7067" align="alignnone" width="1113"] Four Korean comfort women after they were liberated by US-China Allied Forces outside Songshan, Yunnan Province, China on September 7, 1944. Source: The Hankyoreh website at https://tinyurl.com/y4dddxjn. Photo by Charles H. Hatfield, US 164th Signal Photo Company. Note: The original photo is available in the National Archives Catalog at https://tinyurl.com/yyumu88z.[/caption] “Comfort women” refers to the system of sexual slave...

Feature Article

Café Creatives: Coffee Entrepreneurs in Việt Nam

Việt Nam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the world. (note 1) If this comes as a surprise to regular coffee consumers living outside Việt Nam, it would certainly not be a surprise after spending even a brief amount of time in the country. Cafés line major through streets and fleck back alleyways while blurring the line between public and private space. In fact, one industry-known café down an alleyway in an outer district of Ho Chi Minh City does not appear to be a café at all...

Columns, Editor's Message, Resources

Editor’s Message

I hope EAA readers are having a pleasant fall. This issue’s special section is “Entrepreneurship in Asia.” Merriam-Webster’s definition of entrepreneur—”a person who organizes and operates a business, or businesses taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so”—is technically correct in my opinion, but reveals nothing about the hard work, creativity, and incredible perseverance of successful entrepreneurs. Innovative entrepreneurs have always existed in Asia, bu...

Book Review Essay, Key Issues in Asian Studies, Resources

Key Issues in Asian Studies: “Indonesia: History, Heritage, Culture”

With her contribution to the Key Issues in Asian Studies series—INDONESIA: History, Heritage, Culture— Kathleen M. Adams has maintained and even enhanced its well-established reputation for quality. Writing a brief yet comprehensive book is challenging because specialists must restrain themselves from delving too far into their area of expertise. Instead of presenting an in-depth look at the specific, they must focus on engaging intelligent but uninformed readers so they can grasp the basics...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region

By Michael R. Auslin New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017 304 pages, ISBN: 978-0300212228, Hardcover Reviewed by Zhiqun Zhu. Highly acclaimed, well-conceived, and clearly written, Michael R. Auslin’s new book is a valuable addition to the discussion and debate about the future of Asia, the world’s most dynamic and consequential region in the twenty-first century. The book contains seven chapters. Chapter 1 maps out five discrete yet interrelated risk areas in Asia that may spell the ...

Asia: Experiential Learning, Columns, Resources

Tasting Soy Sauce, Teaching Culture: A Case for Experiential Learning

Imagine teaching a lively class where even the quietest student gets involved. When students sample soy sauces from all over Asia and even the heart of Kentucky, comments like “I didn’t know soy sauce had such flavor” and “I didn’t know we made soy sauce in America” pour out of students’ mouths. Tasting soy sauce is an interactive way of engaging students with Asian cultures and history. My discussion here concerns a course called China: Food and Cultures at the Culinary Institu...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

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

Southeast Asia in the New International Era Seventh Edition By Robert Dayley Boulder: Westview Press, 2016 356 pages, ISBN: 978-0813350110, Paperback 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...

Feature Article

The “Mundane Violence” of International Water Conflicts

Statistics about water resources abound. Some, like the combined length of rivers in the United States (3.5 million miles), make for interesting but forgettable trivia. Others, like the number of people who experience severe water scarcity each year (four billion), declare an issue of urgent and global concern. The staggering magnitude and profound implications of this water crisis alone are difficult to comprehend, and yet the calamity is even further compounded by climate change and internatio...

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...

Online Supplement

Modeling Asia: An East China Sea Simulation

Tensions in the East China Sea have risen dramatically in the last decade between China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and a number of Southeast Asian countries. This conflict has been driven primarily by territorial contestations over islands each country claims as their own, for example, the Senkakau/Diaoyu Islands the Japanese and Chinese both claim. Add to the fray growing nationalist sentiments in many East Asian countries, a United States tied to Japan by treaty, unintentional military clash...

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

Enlivened Learning: How to Play the Karma-based Moksha Game in the College Classroom

This article describes Moksha (Sanskrit for “liberation” and “freedom”), a karma-based classroom game that I began developing in 2010 for use in my introductory-level World Religions course at Texas Christian University (TCU). The Moksha game has enlivened the classroom by tapping into the competitive spirit of my students. But it has also helped create a more focused learning environment by rewarding mindful, and penalizing distracted or disruptive, behavior. As I describe below, those ...

Feature Article

Democracy in Asia

In June 2015, Utah State University hosted a graduate-level workshop for teachers on “Democracy in Asia: A Universal or American System?”1 Eight Asia specialists from three universities convened to share their expertise with local educators. Recognizing that a brief article cannot do justice to a weeklong workshop, we are still committed to extending the fruits of that local outreach to a broader community. What follows are a few highlights from each workshop session, including suggested sou...

Feature Article

Indonesia, Asia, and the World: An Interview with Leonard C. Sebastian

Leonard C. Sebastian is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Indonesia Program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). He received his PhD from the Australian National University in 1997. Dr. Sebastian is author of Realpolitik Ideology: Indonesia’s Use of Military Force (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2006) and has been published in a number of journals, including The Journal of Strategic Studies, Indonesia, Defense & Security Analysis, the Cambridge Revie...

Book Review, Resources

Pot Shards: Fragments of a Life Lived in CIA, the White House, and the Two Koreas

Donald Gregg had a remarkably long career spanning almost six decades, most of it connected with Asia. He served as a CIA officer in Japan, Việt Nam, and Burma, and was the CIA station chief in Seoul from 1973 to 1975. From 1989 to 1993, he was the US ambassador to South Korea. After retiring from government service, he headed the Korea Society in New York and made six trips to North Korea to promote better relations with that country. In between, he served on the National Security Council. Du...

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. Many of these disputes have typically focused ...

Asia: Experiential Learning, Columns, Resources

Drawing Insights in Việt Nam

Every spring, Marlboro College offers one or two semester-long courses that include a travel abroad experience. A few years ago, I had the opportunity as part of a Freeman grant held by the college to participate, along with students, in a study course focused on Asia.1 The year that I participated, the course was titled Việt Nam: Revolution and Restoration, and it included a three-week trip to north and central Việt Nam. The classwork introduced our group of five faculty and twelve students...

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