Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Teaching Resources Essay

Under the Dome

Under the Dome was first shown in China on February 28, 2015 The documentary is now included in the Global Environmental Justice Documentaries Project, which is based in the USA and Canada and supported by the International Documentary Association. The title of the documentary was taken from the book Under the Dome, written by Stephen King and published in 2009. (The documentary is about China; the book is about the USA.) The documentary is also available online. Synopsis T...

Teaching Resources Essay

Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness

Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness (seventy minutes), directed by Suhee Kang and Patrick Lydon, is an exploration of the natural farming movement conducted primarily through interviews with practitioners based in Japan, Korea, and the United States. The late Larry Korn, translator of Masanobu Fukuoka’s The One-Straw Revolution (first published in 1975), the germ of this manifestation of the movement, is featured throughout, his explanations of the principles of natural farming providing struc...

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...

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.

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...

Online Supplement

“Ancient Chinese Science and the Teaching of Physics” Syllabus

Francis Bacon thought that printing, gunpowder and the magnetic compass were inventions that changed the world. He did not realize that they all shared a common origin in ancient China. Few people in the Western world know of the great scientific achievements that occurred in ancient China; many of which predated European science and the Renaissance. We shall explore these discoveries in their historical Chinese context and through the lens of our current scientific understanding. The Chinese...

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. 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 t...

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. Scie...

Feature Article

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

[caption id="attachment_13587" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chinese Box Turtle (Cuora flavomarginata). ©123RF.com[/caption] 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, ov...

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...

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

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...

Book Review, Columns

Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow: Our Minamata Disease

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...

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.

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...