Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review, Resources

A Girl Like Me and Other Stories

By Xi Xi, Various translators Afterword by Stephen C. Soong HONG KONG: THE RESEARCH CENTRE FOR TRANSLATION CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG 1996. 134 PAGES. These ten stories by Xi Xi, the pen name for Zhang Yan, are explorations of settings, themes, and characters which should be of interest to students of Asian literature, culture and society. The back cover states, “There is in these stories a haunting . . . lyricism, an intense feminine sensitivity, reacting to the unique environment...

Essay, Resources

‘Have Fun in China,’ She Said as I left For Japan

The course I teach most often at Temple University is the “Geography of South, Southeast and East Asia.” It is an introductory level course enrolling mostly freshmen and sophomores and a total of as many as eighty to one hundred students per section. Some of the students enjoy Asia and go on to be Asian Studies majors. Others use the course as an introduction to geography and continue with other courses in that field. However, most students by far enroll because they are required to take a c...

Essay, Resources

Building the Great Wall

The Great Wall of China has often been compared to a dragon, with its head in the East and tail to the West, winding over thousands of miles of hills and mountains. In fact, one legend tells us that it was a dragon who determined the course the wall would take. In China the dragon is an auspicious, protective creature, representing the life-giving force of water, and which embodies wisdom, strength, and goodness. So, too, does the Great Wall. It represents the Chinese Empire, protecting itself a...

Film Review Essay, Resources

The Power of Place

THE ANNENBERG/CPB COLLECTION P.O. BOX 2345 S. BURLINGTON, VT 05407-2345 The Power of Place is a twenty-six part series of videos examining World Regional Geography from a case study perspective. Included in the set is a Student Study Guide and a Faculty Guide. It is closely tied into the popular text by H. J. de Blij, Geography: Realms, Regions and Concepts. [caption id="attachment_20309" align="alignleft" width="300"] A Saigon street scene. Photo by Harm de Blij. COURTESY OF THE ANNENB...

Feature Article

The Three Gorges: Dam Energy, the Environment, and the New Emperors

“To a builder of concrete dams, a river squeezing its way through a narrow valley presents a heaven-sent opportunity for spectacular results at relatively low cost.” 1 [caption id="attachment_20311" align="aligncenter" width="483"] ABOVE: Contemporary graphic of the Three Gorges region by Lin Jun, award winning artist born in 1921 in Shanxi province. Note the small boat in thechannel and the house to the right.[/caption] The Three Gorges Dam Project under construction on the Yangtze Rive...

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 ...

Book Review, Resources

Indigenous Peoples of Asia

Edited by R. H. Barnes, Andrew Gray and Benedict Kingsbury ANN ARBOR, MI: THE ASSOCIATION FOR ASIAN STUDIES, INC., 1995 XII + 539 PAGES According to its editors, Indigenous Peoples of Asia addresses the “novel” issue of “which groups regard themselves as indigenous peoples, which groups are permitted to regard themselves as indigenous peoples, and which groups succeed in being regarded by governments and international agencies as indigenous peoples” (p. 1). The book’s first four c...

Book Review, Resources

Long, Long Autumn Nights: Selected Poems of Oguma Hideo, 1901–1940

Translated with Introduction by David G. Goodman MICHIGAN MONOGRAPHS IN JAPANESE STUDIES, NUMBER 3 ANN ARBOR: CENTER FOR JAPANESE STUDIES THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, 1989 X + 124 PAGES During one of the darker periods of Japanese history—the 1920s and 1930s—Oguma Hideo wrote poetry that illuminated the politics of his day. In Long, Long Autumn Nights, the first English sampling of this avant-garde poet, the reader will find powerfully humane writing that reflects the age’s imperia...

Book Review, Resources

May Fourth Women Writers: Memoirs

Edited by Janet Ng and Janice Wickeri HONG KONG: RENDITIONS PAPERBACKS, 1996 133 PAGES Reviewed by Barbara Mori This slim volume introduces the reader to seven Chinese women writers from the May Fourth Movement of 1919. In a series of translated selections from their writings, readers learn that what moved women of the early part of this century is not much different from what occupies the thoughts and feelings of women now: love of family, friends and boyfriends; fear of rejection and succe...

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

U.S.-Japan Relations, The View From Both Sides of the Pacific

Part III: Introduction to International Trade: with a focus on U.S.-Japan Economic Relations SPICE, INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES LITTLEFIELD CENTER, ROOM 14 STANFORD UNIVERSITY 300 LAUSEN STREET STANFORD, CA 94305-5013 Reviewed by James Mak What should 10th to 12th graders know about international trade? The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) has developed a nice package of five lessons on international trade with a focus on U.S.-Japan economic r...

Book Review, Resources

North Vietnam: Now Fiction and Essays from Hanoi

VIETNAM FORUM 15 Edited by Dan Duffy, with introductions and capsule biographies NEW HAVEN: YALE UNIVERSITY COUNCIL ON SOUTHEAST ASIA STUDIES YALE CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND AREA STUDIES, 1996. BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS 275 PAGES Reviewed by Craig Loomis The Vietnam Forum and Lac-Viet are two publications that came out of the Southeast Asian Refugee Project which was initiated by the Yale Council on Southeast Asia Studies in 1981. Both series feature literary works on Vietnamese histo...

Book Review, Resources

Mondays on the Dark Night of the Moon: Himalayan Foothill Folktales

Kirin Narayan, in collaboration with Urmila Devi Sood NEW YORK, OXFORD: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS,1997 336 PAGES Reviewed by Joanna Kirkpatrick Teachers of Indian Studies in grades 11 through undergraduate will do well to look closely at this book. It offers accessible riches for the curious, peer-oriented student as well as for more academic readers. The author worked closely with her Himalayan Kangra story teller, Urmila, to gain insight into her ideas and interpretations. Thus, she has warm...

Book Review, Resources

Religions of India in Practice

By Donald S. Lopez Jr. PRINCETON READINGS IN RELIGIONS PRINCETON: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1995 XVI + 648 PAGES + INDEX Reviewed by Anne Hardgrove The publication of Donald S. Lopez Jr.’s Religions of India in Practice indicates a significant development in the way that Indian religious traditions have been taught in the western academy. Since its inception as an academic field of study in nineteenth century theological schools in Europe, religious studies has, until quite recently, be...

Essay, Resources

Geography’s Importance to Japan’s History

Japan’s geography has been and is a crucial factor in its history. Geology, location, patterns of settlement, transport, and economic development are strongly influenced by spatial considerations. Our appreciation of any historical issue is greatly enhanced by learning how geography played an important role. A geographer’s perspective is indispensible to an adequate understanding. This article, while much too short to give complete explanations of geographical factors, provides ideas for ent...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Hinduism and Buddhism

A BILL MOYERS SPECIAL FILMS FOR THE HUMANITIES AND SCIENCES 1996. 58 MINUTES Hinduism and Buddhism, the first part of Bill Moyers’ conversations with Huston Smith in The Wisdom of Faith series, is not a systematic introduction to these two religions. Those teachers who eagerly watch it as a potential replacement for The Long Search series (which, filmed in the ’70s, is getting a bit long in the tooth) will be disappointed. Rather, this film is largely about Huston Smith himself, and es...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Mao: The Real Man

BY SZILVESZTER SIKLOSI FIRST RUN/ICARUS FILMS 153 WAVERLY PLACE NEW YORK, NY 10014 1995. 54 MINUTES Anyone who thinks this might be a real movie about Mao’s life should think twice. This is actually an eccentric Hungarian-made film, which attempts to show how easy it is to manipulate people by confusing fact and fiction. The movie argues that Mao had a brother who emigrated to Chicago, where, in the 1930s, he became a mob kingpin nicknamed Wasp. After getting into a gang battle with the...

Facts About Asia, Resources

Asian Factoids: Spring, 1998

Expatriate Americans in Asia Note: Figures are for 1996 and exclude U.S. government employees and military personnel and their families. Philippines 118,000 Japan 73,300 Hong Kong 40,800 Taiwan 36,600 S. Korea 35,500 Source: U.S. government ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ To Get Rich is Glorious Percentage of China’s urban households owning: Color television 90.8 Refrigerator 88.7 Washing machin...

Feature Article

Central Asia and “Levels” of Development

Studying development levels and processes is an important aspect of learning about Asia. The Asian continent contains countries that span an incredibly large range of developmental levels—from advanced developed countries, such as Japan, to least developed countries, such as Afghanistan, with some of the fastest growing “newly industrialized” countries in between (e.g., the People’s Republic of China). Often, it is the habit of students (and instructors) to group countries into these thr...

Feature Article

Geographic Dimensions of Indonesia’s Increasing Importance in the World

To most Americans, Indonesia is a little-known and greatly undervalued country. It receives far less attention in newspapers and journals than China, Japan, India, and even such smaller countries as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Indonesia tends to make the headlines only when something very significant, and generally negative, occurs, such as the Indonesian connection to illegal political campaign contributions in the 1996 U.S. elections, the forest fires and resulting pallor of smoke ...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Asian Geography

ASIA — GENERAL TITLE: MAPS OF ASIA URL: Maps of Asia from the well-known Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection of the University of Texas at Austin. Includes political and shaded relief maps from most Asian countries, with twenty-six maps of the regions of China. Most maps date from the 1990s, but there are some historical maps as well. TITLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC “MAP MACHINE” URL: