Education About Asia: Online Archives

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

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

Feature Article

Science Education in Singapore and the US: An Interview with Michael Lowry

In the following interview, conducted as part of an East Asia STEM teaching module developed by Maranda Wilkinson for the UTC Asia Program (https://tinyurl.com/y3oepewy), Maranda questioned Michael Lowry on his studies of the Singaporean science education system as a 2016 Fulbright Fellow focusing on comparisons of science education in Singapore and the US.

Feature Article

Ancient Chinese Science and the Teaching of Physics

The scientific accomplishments of ancient China provide an exciting foundation for the teaching of introductory physics. Traditional physics classes are almost always taught from a Eurocentric point of view that rarely exposes students to the scientific accomplishments of other cultures. At Mercer University, I am experimenting with a new method of teaching physics that infuses Chinese culture, while at the same time, exposes our students to the principles and practice of modern experimental sci...

Feature Article

Kim Dae-jung’s Cyberinfrastructure Legacy

In the Western Pacific region, there are typically four stages in the development of a tropical cyclone, classified by their maximum sustained wind speed—typhoon, severe tropical storm, tropical storm, and tropical depression in the descending order of wind speed.1 On November 1, 1991, for example, a tropical depression was identified in the western Pacific Ocean with estimated winds of forty-five kilometers per hour (km/h) (thirty miles per hour [mph]). Three days later, it was upgraded to a ...

Course Syllabi, Online Supplement

“Ancient Chinese Science and the Teaching of Physics” Syllabus

Editor’s Note: The syllabus that follows complements “Ancient Chinese Science and the Teaching of Physics” by Matthew Marone from the EAA spring 2016 issue (vol. 21, no. 1, p. 20-26). If you have any questions about the readings and course materials listed in the syllabus, you may contact Matthew Marone at marone_mj@mercer.edu. PHY 108 Ancient Chinese Science and Technology 中国古代科学技术 Zhōng Guó Gǔ Dài Kē Xué Jī Shù “It is well to observe the force and virtue an...

Online Supplement

Globalizing Science and Engineering Through On-Site Project-Based Learning

Introduction Ease of international travel, instant communication, and new corporate structures that span multiple countries all point to the necessity of globalizing the way we teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. In fact, corporations involved in applied research have evolved into operations with fluid frameworks that span multiple countries, with headquarters in one country, sourcing in a second, marketing in a third, and research laboratories in yet another. Sci...

Feature Article

Asia’s Turtle Crisis and Conservation: Environmental Education and Cultural Geography

By Bradley R. Reynolds and Thomas P. Wilson Turtles are heavily exploited in Asia, not only for the pet trade, but also as a food source and for use in traditional Asian folk medicines. Along with habitat destruction, increased urbanization, and pollution, such over-exploitation is driving what conservationists are calling the Asian turtle crisis, a precipitous decline in Asian turtle populations. Currently, over half of Asia’s ninety turtle species are classified as endangered or critically ...

Feature Article

Making the Most of Geographic Disadvantage: Modernizing Bhutan

Known to its inhabitants as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” for the sound of its ferocious storms, Bhutan is probably best known to outsiders as the land of “Gross National Happiness” (GNH), an unusual development measure proposed by the king in 1972. The core value of “collective happiness” comes from the traditional emphasis on community wellbeing, extended into the process of modernization as development without harming the environment or relationships. Policy rests on the four p...

Columns, Film Review Essay

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Japan’s official state anthem, Kimigayo, is about as sing-able as the Star Spangled Banner. The tuneful anthem of modern Japanese culture heard endlessly everywhere in the archipelago, is Hotaru no Hikari, “Firefly Light,” emblem of evanescence, token of passions passing. For most Japanese I know, environmental tragedy is not the waning supply of overpriced, overhyped whale flesh but the decline and fall of Tokyo as a firefly habitat....

Book Review, Columns

Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow: Our Minamata Diesease

The study of Japanese environmental literature must begin with the work of author and reluctant activist Ishimure Michiko. This name may be unknown—and underappreciated—by many in the West due to a limited and delayed translation of Ishimure’s work outside of Japan and her unconventional approach to nonfiction writing. Ishimure first gained recognition in Japan for her determination to raise awareness regarding the onset of Minamata disease. Minamata disease is a neurological disorder that...

Feature Article

MInamata as a Window on Modern Japan

Minamata is often described as a condensed version or “miniature portrait” (shukuzu) of modern Japan. Like “Việt Nam” for Americans, “Minamata” for Japanese is much more than a place name. It signifies an era of conflicts, tragedies, and transformations whose repercussions have yet to fade away. Just as Việt Nam can serve as a lens on important parts of twentieth-century United States history, Minamata is a window on much of modern Japanese history. A course or unit centered on M...

Feature Article

Asia and the Climate Crisis

If life were fair, Asia would not have to deal with the climate crisis at all. After all, its population per capita emits significantly less greenhouse enhancing gases like carbon dioxide than the Western countries. Moreover, despite recent growth, it has not been industrialized nearly as long as Western Europe and the United States. That reality is especially significant considering that what really matters with the longer lasting atmospheric gases is the cumulative impact of decades of industr...

Feature Article

Major Asian Rivers of the Plateau of Tibet: The Basics

In relatively recent geologic times, less than forty million years ago, the Indian subcontinent crashed into the Eurasian tectonic plate. As the South Asian plate began to subduct under the Eurasian plate, it pushed up the Himalayas, the Plateau of Tibet, and folded the ranges of mountains to the east of the Plateau of Tibet. The Indian plate is still converging on the Eurasian plate at a little over three-quarters of an inch per year, deforming the boundary and raising the Himalaya Range. This...

Feature Article

Fifty Years of Climate, Culture, and Landscape Change in the Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park, Nepal

Pema Temba Sherpa climbed steadily up the snow-covered accumulation of loose rock, or scree. His destination was a rock cairn—an arrangement of stones constituting a marker—constructed by some mountaineer or scientist long ago in a remote region of Nepal’s Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park in eastern Nepal. Even at nearly 19,685 feet, the world’s highest mountains rose majestically around him for thousands of feet more on all sides, and made him feel small and vulnerable....

Feature Article

Japan and the World, 1450-1770: Was Japan a “Closed Country?”

Half-truths make the world go round. One conceit American pundits seem most determined to nurture is that in 1853 the US “opened” Japan to “civilization,” ending its days as a backward “closed country” (sakoku). Even though scholars—Ronald Toby most convincingly—established decades ago that Japan was not “closed,” the notion lives on in popular culture and public perceptions.1 The image of Japan as “closed” or “isolated” is reinforced by the companion notion, still fo...

Feature Article

China and the World History of Science, 1450-1770

HISTORIANS HAVE PORTRAYED the period from 1450 to 1770 mainly through European frames of reference, even when their accounts stress comparative themes. Because the emergence of capitalism, political revolution, and modern science in the industrializing portions of Western Europe represents their central story, they have not probed how interactions since 1500 between Asia and early modern Europeans evolved from the Asian perspective. Most modern portraits of the rise of science, for example, usu...

Columns, Film Review

Ultimate Power: The Race

“Ultimate Power: The Race” (1999) is part of a 12-part ABC series, The Century. It includes both documentary footage of Manhattan Project days and new interviews. Much of the documentary footage is available elsewhere. The interviewees include the usual suspects—Hans Bethe, Freeman Dyson, Edward Teller—and some not-so-usual: atomic scientists Martin Deutsch, Boyce McDaniel, Joseph Rotblat. Two interviewees are scholars: William Lanouette and Richard Rhodes.1 The film has clear photograph...

Book Review, Resources

Made in China: Ideas and Inventions from Ancient China

By Suzanne Williams Selected illustrations by Andrea Fong BERKELEY, CA: PACIFIC VIEW PRESS, 1996 48 PAGES INCLUDING INDEX This book, according to the publisher’s information sheet, is aimed at young people ages 9–13. Although it follows a timeline from the Xia Dynasty through the Ming, it does not rely on a narrative that would require the user to begin on the first page. Instead, Made in China functions more like an encyclopedia, allowing the young reader to delve into the Chinese ...

Essay, Resources

Geographic Gateways to seeing and Understanding Korea

This article introduces what I call a “Gateways” approach to teaching about places, and uses Korea as its example. I developed the Gateways approach around the assumption that popular support for geography in the schools is, and always has been, rooted in its ability to reproduce in the classroom the vicarious experience of geographical exploration. I take the mainstays of the popularity of geographical exploration to be a combination of human curiosity and mobility. On this basis, I suggest...

Essay, Resources

Postholing

WHEN A TWENTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD LAW STUDENT FROM TOKYO’S CHUO UNIVERSITY VISITED OUR TENTH GRADE SOCIAL STUDIES CLASS FOR FOUR CONSECUTIVE DAYS THIS YEAR, HE CREATED A TEACHING ENVIRONMENT THAT WILL LAST LONG AFTER THE UNIT TEST. Sponsored by the Never Again Campaign,1the young man demonstrated Japanese calligraphy, origami(paper folding), and judo. On the fourth day of his visit, he asked all the male students to remove their ubiquitous baseball caps while he told them about the hibakusha(survivor...

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