Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Columns

In Memoriam: Ezra F. Vogel (1930–2020)

Those of us who are committed to studying East Asia lost an extraordinary scholar, teacher, and friend when the retired Harvard University Sociology Professor Ezra F. Vogel died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this last December.

Feature Article

Making China And India Great Again? Why China’s and India’s Paths to Power May Hit a Wall, Part II: Foreign Policy Challenges

For the past decade, experts in international relations have suggested that the world’s center of power is shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the main reason is the extraordinary rise of China. They add that the equally remarkable, though slightly slower, rise of India will move the center of global power even further from the West. A number of observers strongly believe the efforts of the United States under former President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy to ...

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...

Feature Article

Mongolia’s Environmental Crises: An Introduction

In the US, China, Russia, and other countries with a sizable population, it is often difficult to discern the effects of climate change and other environmental afflictions.1 A country with a small population offers a greater opportunity to observe the implications of environmental crises. A study of Mongolia, with a population of approximately three million, provides a clearer view, although it is important to remember that Mongolia is quite distinct from these other lands due to its d...

Teaching Resources Essay

Searching for Sacred Mountain

This review was written by three colleagues and close friends at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas. Although slightly unusual in this sort of review, we believe that describing our academic training and contemplative practices will help readers better understand our comments that represent, like any good interpretive exercise or classroom discussion, multiple, sometimes-incompatible assumptions, orientations, and conclusions. Rather than a shortcoming, however, we ...

Book Review Essay

Batu, Khan of the Golden Horde: The Mongol Khans Conquer Russia (The Silk Road Series)

BY DIANE WOLFF GENGHIS PRODUCTIONS, 2020  182 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0578780894, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Christy Davis History, as we know, is written by the victors. But what happens when the victors write nothing down? In the case of the Mongols, history was written by the vanquished, despite exceptional Mongol brutality, and carries with it all the prejudice and bitterness of defeated empires and kingdoms. Over time, and with the absence of any documents to the contrary, the c...

Feature Article

Making China and India Great Again? Why China’s and India’s Paths to Power May Hit a Wall Part I: Domestic Policy Challenges

There is general agreement among the pundits and mandarins who study India and China that these two countries will become two of the world’s most powerful nations in the near future, if they have not already. Some believe that they may become the most powerful nations in the world, relegating the United States and Europe to the status of mere ob­servers of the future course of humanity. Regardless when exactly this may occur, such an outcome could be compared, in a sense, to a return to what ...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

A Confucian Classroom in Qing China

In September 2005, at the Panjiayuan Antiques Market in Beijing, I  bought a book of materials once used by an elementary school teacher.  It seems the teacher took some of his classroom materials to a shop in  the city of Panshi in Jilin Province in northeast China and had them copied  onto clean, handmade paper and bound together with string. The shop put  its stamp on the cover, so we know the city where it was located.1 The title  the shop wrote on the cover of this collection was Thre...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Plastic China

Plastic China, a 2016 film from director Jiu-Liang Wang, tells the story of a small recycling factory in Shangdong Province, China. The film’s title suggests a broad coverage of China’s massive plastic recycling sector, but rather we are given a glimpse into the operation of one small, apparently totally unregulated, recycling factory and the fami­lies that live and work there amid the endless seas of plastic and plumes of black smoke emanating from buildings, chimneys, and the ground itsel...

Columns, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

How to Measure a “Giant”?: A Short Guide to Gross Domestic Product Figures

Instructors in political science, history, and area studies have long known that the rapid economic growth of Asian countries is one of the most important world trends to teach students. Political scientists and international relations experts regularly view a country’s economic size as a reflection of its international power. The size of the economy helps set military budgets and acquisitions, foreign aid, and public diplomacy. These capabilities help a country influence other countries, or t...

Feature Article

The National Humiliation Narrative: Dealing with the Present by Fixating on the Past

In his speech announcing the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on October 1, 1949, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Mao Zedong famously proclaimed, “Ours will no longer be a nation subject to insult and humiliation. We have stood up.” With those words, Mao explained that a new era had begun for China under CCP leadership. To those unfamiliar with Chinese history, such a proclamation may seem confusing. Didn’t China have 5,000 years of a glorious and storied history? ...

Essay, Online Supplement, Resources

ASIA SHORTS: The Great Smog of China: An Interview with Anna L. Ahlers, Mette Halskov Hansen, and Rune Svarverud

The Great Smog of China: A Short Event History of Air Pollution traces Chinese air pollution events dating back to more than 2,000 years ago. Based on the authors’ fieldwork, interviews and text studies, the book offers a short and concise history of selected air pollution incidents that for varying reasons prompted different kinds of responses and forms of engagement in Chinese society. The three authors, from the disciplines of anthropology, China studies and political science, identify trac...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching the History of Violence in China at a Southern Military College

[caption id="attachment_12260" align="aligncenter" width="608"] Source: Screen capture from PBS documentary Chinese Chariot Revealed: Unearth the Archaeological Discoveries of China’s Battle Chariots (2017) at https://tinyurl.com/yyojvkkt.[/caption] Probably in my second year of teaching at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, I attended a cadet’s public lecture on Chinese politics. During the question-and-answer period, one of my English department colleagues, a former Gr...

Feature Article

Facing History: Strategies for Teaching Chinese and World History with Memoirs

As Adam D. Frank noted in a 2001 EAA review, “A well-written memoir is a surefire way to make Asian history and culture come alive for students who approach the subject with little or no knowledge.”1 Building on Frank’s sentiment, in this essay we discuss effective uses of memoirs to teach about modern China and Sino–US encounters. While our examples are China-focused and draw from experiences in undergraduate instruction, the techniques we discuss are applicable to wider East Asian topi...

Online Supplement

Late Imperial China, Silver, and Global Trade Routes

[caption id="attachment_12278" align="alignleft" width="248"] Silver Sycee (Ming dynasty, 1368-1644). Source: Photo courtesy of the author.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12279" align="alignleft" width="300"] Silver Sycee (Qing dynasty, 1636-1911). Source: Photo courtesy of the author.[/caption]                 After the early fifteenth century, extensive European explorations marked the beginning of globalization. Vasco da...

Facts About Asia, Resources

Vigil: HONG KONG IN CRISIS An Interview with Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of five previous books, including China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (coauthored by Maura Elizabeth Cunningham) and Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo. In his latest book, Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, Professor Wasserstrom combines his extensive knowledge of Hong Kong from the ground up with a broader unders...

Feature Article

Ten Things We Need to Know When Teaching about Early China

Since 1996, I have been teaching about early China in various college courses on Eastern civilization, the history of China and Japan, the history of Asian culture, and world history. During the pandemic of spring 2020, while based in northwest Germany, I offered a new online graduate course on cultural heritage and international relations, with students logged in from Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, and North America. This undertaking presented as many technological and academic challenges as it...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching China in a Global History Survey

In 1793, the King of England, George III, sent a mission led by Lord George Macartney to the court of the Qianlong Emperor in China. The British were asking for a new arrangement for trade with the Qing empire, which at that point was conducted at a single port, Guangzhou, in the far south of the country, and had to take place through official intermediaries, known to the British as Hong merchants. Inspired by the increasing competitiveness of their products, as the Industrial Revolution was jus...

Feature Article

Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones: Deng Xiaoping in the Making of Modern China

The 9th of September 1976: The story of Deng Xiaoping’s ascendancy to paramount leader starts, like many great stories, with a death. Nothing quite so dramatic as a murder or an assassination, just the quiet and unassuming death of Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In the wake of his passing, factions in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) competed to establish who would rule after the Great Helmsman. Power, after all, abhors a vacuum. In the first corner...

Online Supplement

Made in China or Born Abroad?: Creating Identity and Belonging in the Chinese Diaspora

The astute eye might notice Chinatowns around the world and wonder how they came to be in places so far from China and what connections there might be between these sites of “Chinese-ness” or between them and China.1 This astute eye might also notice the influences of local cultures or local interpretations of what it means to be “Chinese”. In many such places—Malaysia, Indonesia, the US and Australia—this is a history of emigration from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twenti...