Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review

Crossing the Farak River

Since the 2016–17 “clearance operations” that pushed the plight of the Rohingya into the international spotlight, ethnic violence in Myanmar has evolved into new phases and expanded into new dimensions. For social studies and history teachers of higher grades, these most recent phases and new dimensions are an opportunity for cultivating greater awareness of an urgent global issue and what moral responsibility falls to the rest of us to pay attention and possibly take action.

Feature Article

The Act of Constructing Memory at Cambodia’s Bophana Center

In a quiet Cambodian village in the province of Battambang, Heng Kuylang hacks a long bamboo sapling with a machete while reflecting on her decades of marriage to a man she has never loved. Like countless Cambodians who came of age between 1975 and 1979, Heng and her husband were forced to marry each other under Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, a violent and dystopian attempt to end capitalism and rebuild a new society free of Western influences. Approximately one in four Cambodians die...

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Back to School Special: “The Top Ten Most Viewed” and More

As a teenager, I was interested in lists of the top ten most popular songs and for most of my life, various top ten lists of books have always garnered my attention. Having a top ten “most viewed” EAA archived articles list is a never-ending source of personal interest. Digest readers are cordially invited to check out our "most viewed" EAA archives list (see the right side of the main EAA archives page) and speculate on what trends our list might indicate. Your feedback is of great inter...

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching Asian Geographies: Overcoming Pedagogical Barriers

Understanding geography, especially physical geography, is not easy for me. A deceased relative once described this ineptness as “not having even a bump of locality.” This handicap notwithstanding, my advocacy for geographic literacy in general, and geographic understanding of Asia in particular, as essential foundations of liberal and international education becomes stronger each year. Despite enormous digital advances in pedagogy, the apparent persistence of widespread geographic illitera...

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Asia and the World: “Travelers’ Tales”

International travel is still a dicey prospect for most of us because of the pandemic, but almost all Digest readers probably love travel at some level. The following entries could be vicarious travel for imaginative readers, but each recommended EAA article or essay, in my opinion, helps students and instructors better understand the often profound effects of literal and figurative travelers and ideas impacting different parts of Asia and the world in a variety of ways.

EAA Digest Exclusive, Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Southeast Asia EAA Archives

Southeast Asia still seems to garner too little attention in American school and university courses. The following sample archival selections should be useful as student assignments and/or teacher backgrounders. Southeast Asia is Maritime Asia at one level and understanding the Indian Ocean and its role in global history is a good place to start. Most students (and some teachers, including myself two decades ago), have little or no specific understanding of the size and importance of the India...

Feature Article

Sri Lanka in the Classroom

Editor’s Introduction: A Virgin Vote, a short film by director Udan Fernando, follows a Sri Lankan citizen voting for the first time in the country’s 2020 parliamentary elections after becoming stranded due to Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 lockdown. In the essay and short interview that follow, Fernando discusses A Virgin Vote and its production, as well as the ongoing political crisis in Sri Lanka. The basic information below provides context for readers unfamiliar with Sri Lanka and the...

Feature Article

Teaching Cambodian Genocide Through Film

Students in my world history class sat in silence as the film credits started to roll. We had just started a unit on the Cold War, and I decided to integrate the film First They Killed My Father about genocide in Cambodia.1 Directed by Angelina Jolie (who spent time working in Cambodia to film the popular Tomb Raider movies and has been a Cambodian citizen for a decade) and produced by Jolie and Cambodian director Rithy Panh for Netflix, my hope was that the story of five-year-old Loung (played ...

Columns, Film Review Essay

The Little Girl of Hanoi (Em Bé Hà Nội)

The Little Girl of Hanoi (Em Bé Hà Nội) By Hải Ninh 1974, 72 minutes, color Available with English subtitles at https://youtu.be/vFuEYCGV5ZY Reviewed by Margaret B. Bodemer   When American students learn about the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam (SRV), it is typically in the context of what Americans call the Việt Nam War but that is known in the SRV as the American War. Courses that address this conflict tend to emphasize American over Vietnamese experiences.1 This re...

Online Supplement

Make Your Documentary! A Call to Action

In 2008, I responded to a call in Education About Asia for Digital Asia: Documentary Digital Video Workshop, a two-day workshop sponsored by Asia Educational Media Service (AEMS) at the University of Illinois to introduce participants to the various aspects of filmmaking. Being one of roughly twelve participants selected from a pool of about forty applicants, changed the direction of my career. Prior to the workshop, I had watched hundreds of videos for material to use in my...

Feature Article

Why I Made a Virgin Vote

It all began with a very long conversation I had with a person. He became both the subject and protagonist of what later became a short English-language film, A Virgin Vote, released in September 2021 in Colombo and online. The conversant was a childhood and teenage classmate in Sri Lanka. Our conversation took place in a bar/restaurant in July 2020, literally a stone’s throw away from the school we attended. I had just returned from Singapore, where I was located for about three months during...

Feature Article

A Brief Interview with Udan Fernando

Udan Fernando obtained his PhD from the University of Amsterdam. He currently functions as an Independent Researcher from Sri Lanka and Singapore. Until March 2020, he was Executive Director of the Center for Poverty Analysis (CEPA), a Sri Lankan think-tank. Throughout his career, as Head of the Development Commission of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (1989–1995), Executive Director of Paltra (gte) Ltd (1996–2001), Guest Researcher at University of Amsterdam (2002–20...

Feature Article

The Politics of Climate Vulnerability in Asia

The seriousness of climate change has become readily apparent over the past decades, with increasingly visible evidence of impacts and risks across the globe—from intensifying hurricanes to large-scale destructive wildfires. Asia is often pointed to as one of the most vulnerable regions, given numerous countries with long coastlines and large populations in low-lying areas, such as the Philippines, which regularly experiences destructive typhoons from the western Pacific Ocean. Othe...

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

India’s Historical Impact on Southeast Asia

India’s historical impact on Southeast Asia forms an important component of world history. In this age of globalization, relations between two significant regions are important. The Look East and Act East policies have become the catch word of Indian foreign relations since the 1990s, where Indian policymakers desired close cooperation with Southeast Asian countries. This is nothing new from an Indian perspective, but an enactment of déjà vu. What we know of today as Indian and ...

Online Supplement

Ties that Bind: India and Southeast Asia Connectivities

[caption id="attachment_12232" align="aligncenter" width="536"] Khon performance at Thammasat University Main Auditorium, Tha Phrachan Campus, Bangkok, Thailand. Khon is a dance and drama performance based on the Ramayana. Source: Wikimedia Commons at https://tinyurl.com/yxrdu3n4.[/caption] Imagining India in Southeast Asia is often guided and influenced by a number of factors. It may depend on how the contemporary global and the regional media views and portrays the Indian sub-continent thro...

Online Supplement

Student Comments and Blogs from “Encompass Southeast Asia: A Unique Experiential Learning Opportunity through the University of Richmond”

Thai and/or Cambodian culture, or politics, or social issues. This trip helped me to understand how Cambodia’s history affects modern-day society. The societal upheaval caused by both colonization, the Pol Pot regime, and the genocide led to poverty and the loss of millions of lives. I think these events are connected to the problem of modern-day slavery, as we learned that people in difficult financial situations are at a higher risk of accepting dangerous work to survive. In other words, th...

Asia: Experiential Learning, Columns, Resources

Asia: Experiential Learning — Guest Editor, Tommy Lamont: Encompass Southeast Asia: A Unique Experiential Learning Opportunity through the University of Richmond

The Office of International Education (OIE) at the University of Richmond (UR) developed Encompass Southeast Asia (Encompass SEA) as part of a pilot program to engage students who have not historically participated in study abroad opportunities at UR and its partner institutions. Participants included students from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds, nontraditional students, students of color, athletes, males, and students with limited travel experience. Historically, such cohorts have not pa...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Weight of Our Sky

The Weight of Our Sky By Hanna Alkaf New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019 288 pages, ISBN 978-1534426085, Hardcover Reviewed by Zoë McLaughlin The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf centers on Melati, a Malaysian schoolgirl who is a fan of the Beatles and loves going to the cinema with her best friend. But one thing sets Melati apart: she believes she has a djinn inside of her, a creature out of Islamic mythology who regularly shows her scenes of death and pain, compelling her to count and t...

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 t...