Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review Essay, Resources

Teaching East Asia: Korea Lessons and Resources for K–12 Classrooms

In my experience as a university professor, teaching Korean history, while enjoyable, has its challenges. While most students are curious and eager to learn, much of the material is foreign to their own experiences, and they even find themselves struggling with something so seemingly simple as names (how can anyone unfamiliar with the Korean language be expected to pronounce the names of Sin Saimdang, Seondeok, or Yi Sunshin correctly based purely on the romanization?). However, dedicated K–12...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Chinese Calligraphy, a Dance on Paper: The Art of Professor Yang Xin

Produced by Raymond Olson DVD, 46 Minutes, Color Sacred Mountain Productions, 2015 Reviewed by Jared Hall Calligraphy is among the most recognizable markers of Chinese culture. Even Americans who have never stepped foot in a Chinatown have likely encountered Chinese characters gracing a takeout restaurant sign or peeking out from a neck tattoo. Partly for this reason, Chinese characters provide an accessible entry point to learning about China and East Asia. It is a process that can begin...

Book Review, Resources

Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography, Volume 4

Reviewed by David L. Kenley With the publication of volume 4, Berkshire is nearing completion of the Dictionary of Chinese Biography.  While the editors and writers will continue to add to and amend the online supplement, this is the final volume of the dictionary’s printed version. Volume 4 includes figures who have influenced Chinese history since 1979. As with the previous three volumes, this one exemplifies high standards of research, writing, and editing. It is a welcome addition to an...

Book Review, Resources

Common Core: Korea Lessons and Resources for K–12 Classrooms

Reviewed by Charles Newell Do not let the words “Common Core” in the title of this curriculum guide cause you to dismiss it too quickly. It has certainly become an educational fad to use the phrase “Common Core” on about every classroom resource. Ironically, it has also become clear that not all states will adopt the Common Core standards, and thus far, some (and perhaps eventually many) states are changing the way they are implementing Common Core standards with their own set of state ...

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

Sources for Understanding Myanmar

Considering Myanmar’s mineral and cultural wealth, it has not been easy to study nor common to discuss the many societies there. Access to information, stories, and lives in Myanmar has markedly improved since 2010, when the US rekindled official and informal relations in Burma, as they refer to the country. Entrepreneurs, tourists, and scholars also have engaged with people and organizations there more and more. One result has been the need for useful sources of current conditions, as well as...

Feature Article

USG Asia Council: Teaching Southeast Asia Workshop

On April 11th and 12th, 2014, the Asia Council of the USG hosted a workshop titled “Teaching Southeast Asia” for university and college faculty. In total, six sessions of one hour and fifteen minutes each were conducted by five presenters and covered a wide range of topics: basic history, religion, cartography, global trade networks, economics, religion, literature, and indigenous cultures. This workshop was the third in a series sponsored by the Asia Council that began in response to state ...

Online Supplement

Three Southeast Asian Nations: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos

Brunei Geography and Population Area: 2,226 square miles, slightly smaller than Delaware Population: 422,675 Government Freedom House rating from “Freedom in the World 2015” (ranking of political rights and civil liberties in 195 countries): Not Free Type: Constitutional sultanate Chief of State and Head of Government: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir Hassanal Bolkiah (since October 5, 1967) Elections: none Legislative branch: Legislative Council (33 members, appointed by the...

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...

Feature Article

Fang yazi—Releasing the Ducks: The University of North Dakota’s Short-Term Faculty-Led Study Program in China

In the summer of 2000, students at our university participated in the first China Summer Study Program (CSSP), a short-term, faculty-led program sponsored by the College of Business and Public Administration. It was designed as a study abroad experience that would allow students to accomplish specific tasks on their own rather than being transported from place to place on a tour bus or spending time in classrooms and factory reception halls. In this program, students walk or use public transport...

Online Supplement

Basic Facts: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

KYRGYZSTAN Geography and Population [caption id="attachment_9180" align="alignright" width="300"] President Almazbek Atambayev Source: Creative Commons.[/caption] Area: 124,244 square miles; slightly smaller than the area of South Dakota. Population: 5.55 million. Government Type: Republic Chief of State: President Almazbek Atambayev. Head of Government: Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev (appointed by president). Elections: Popular vote every six years. Legislative Bran...

Book Review, Resources

Bhutan: Hidden Lands of Happiness

This large, heavily illustrated book is suitable for a school library collection, supplementing others on Bhutan. Through his photographs and narrative, John Wehrheim presents his personal interpretation of the country based on numerous trips taken over several decades. His presentation pitches Bhutan as the “Exotic Other,” illustrated by photos taken on his trips that carry out the theme that this would be a cool place (in more ways than one) for a special holiday. The Association of Bhutan...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

My Favorite Asia-Related Digital Media: Asia-Crossing Cultures Online in the K-12 Classroom

Through the Internet, students in the United States and other countries have unprecedented opportunities to learn about Asia. Various factors influence a teacher’s ability to provide connections and relevant activities to engage students in topics relating to Asia. The age of modern media provides an accessible vehicle for all students to travel to the opposite side of the globe. Classroom instruction is readily supplemented with web resources that address current topics and explore historical...

Feature Article

Introducing Afghanistan’s Culture in Your Classroom

I am a middle school teacher who has also spent extensive time in Afghanistan, and I am the author of A Far Away Home, a work of juvenile fiction set in the country. The following essay is a pedagogical mosaic that introduces a variety of resources that have worked for me, which can potentially assist middle, high school, and university teachers and students to understand Afghanistan culture. Sport, Art, and Architecture Picture yourself sitting about halfway up the stands on the fifty-yard ...

Feature Article

Cuisine and Identity in Contemporary Japan

Editor’s Note: Portions of this article appeared in Victoria Bestor and Theodore C. Bestor, with Akiko Yamagata, eds., Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society (New York: Routledge Publishers, 2011). Food is all around us, yet remarkably elusive for something seemingly so concrete and mundane. People grow it, buy it, prepare it, eat it, savor it (or not) every day, everywhere, often without much thought about food’s significance in larger social, cultural, or historical schemes. F...

Book Review

Homeland Afghanistan

Homeland Afghanistan HTTP://AFGHANISTAN.ASIASOCIETY.ORG/ PRODUCED BY THE ASIA SOCIETY Reviewed by Howard Faber Homeland Afghanistan, a new website created by the Asia Society, is a remarkable online resource for anyone seeking to learn about Afghanistan from the pre-history of the region to the present day. It is a visual, speaking textbook, full of images, old and new. I found it appealing, mostly easy to navigate, and a balanced combination of scholarly comment and historical visual imag...

Book Review, Resources

China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know

BY JEFFREY N. WASSERSTROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 155 PAGES ISBN: 978-0-19-539412-2, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Mary Cingcade Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s book China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know tempts the reader with its intriguing title. Written in question and- answer format, the volume features 108 questions culled from questions posed over two decades by lecture audiences. Wasserstrom writes, The goal of this book is to help normalize discussions of China . . . My aim ...

Columns, Teaching Resources Essay

China Today: Teaching about a Changing Cultural Landscape

Social Education, the Teaching Journal for the National Council of the Social Studies VOLUME 74, NUMBER 1, JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 EDITED BY KATHLEEN WOODS MASALSKI AND TEDD LEVY Reviewed by Jeffrey R. Johnson Change in China is not new. The myth of a static “Orient” was never true. However, ongoing developments in contemporary China promise to affect the lives of our students more directly and more profoundly than ever before. The National Council for the Social Studies’ flagship journ...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

Asia for Educators (AFE) Web site

Reviewed by James A. Anderson With the recent proliferation of Web-based secondary materials and primary source databases pertaining to Asian Studies, both researchers and instructors are now freer than ever to seek out information online. But, do these resources alone make one a more savvy consumer of this cornucopia of information on Asia? I would suggest that the opposite may be the case, particularly when we ask our students to do the searching. Raw data without contextual information can l...

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