Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review

Rose, Rose, I Love You

Wang Chen-Ho (1940–1990) was one of Taiwan’s leading authors of popular fiction and was also known as one of the most prolific writers of satire of his time. Considered to be a part of the “back to the roots” movement of the 1960s and 70s, Wang’s popularity stemmed from his ability to intricately weave vernacular dialogue into his writings, creating prose recognizable and accessible to a wide variety of people. His razor wit and keen eye for irony in everyday life in Taiwan make his wr...

Columns, Film Review

SATYA: A Prayer for the Enemy

Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy has won a number of Best Film festival awards in the United States and Europe in youth, education, and documentary film categories. Why is no surprise. This video is a gem and well worth purchasing for film libraries. It packs a direct moral punch, and an instructive one as well, without being strident or self-righteous about incontestable human rights violations or cultural genocide. In a little less than half an hour of haunting images and touching song and sound ...

Columns, Essay

Introducing Computer Technologies to Asian Languages Programs

Computer technology has become integral to all aspects of college life today, offering an important tool for coordinating, publicizing, and teaching in every kind of campus program. Far from being an exception to this rule, foreign language programs are often in the forefront of employing innovative methods to integrate computer technologies into the classroom. While Asian language instructors, too, are developing effective means for using computer technologies, our efforts are often hampered by...

Book Review, Columns

The Making of Modern Tibet (Revised Edition)

For those who like their enemies pure and their heroes appropriately sainted, A. Tom Grunfeld’s revised The Making of Modern Tibet will probably disappoint. Though Grunfeld has taken on a subject that has been almost completely polarized by the one-sided imagery projected by either the Chinese government or the Tibetan exile community and its many Western supporters, Professor Grunfeld has not chosen sides. Rather, Grunfeld has worked diligently to offer as balanced a treatment as possible, an...

Columns, Film Review

Choice for a Chinese Woman: Enlightenment in a Buddhist Convent

Among the few videos concerning Chinese religions is this 1993 German production. But rather than illustrate Chinese Buddhism, it provides a muddled and biased depiction of events in the life of one thirteen-year-old girl, and attempts, unsuccessfully, to convince us that such girls enter convents only when driven to do so by intolerable social oppression. As the video opens in the girl’s Sichuan village, the narrator asserts that she was destined to marry “a coarse man, to whom she would...

EAA Interview, Feature Article

INTEGRATING ASIA INTO WORLD HISTORY: Perspectives from Three Pre-college Teachers

World history is increasingly being included in numerous state and district curriculum standards. The EAA guest editors invited three teachers to discuss their experiences and insights on how best to integrate Asia in a world history course. Alison Kaminsky, who holds a master’s degree in Asian Studies, teaches at a middle school in Long Beach, California and is also a mentor teacher in her district. Her school follows the California frameworks where world history is taught in the sixth, seven...

Book Review, Columns

Transnational Chinese Cinemas Identity, Nationhood, Gender

Although this is not the only recent book which uses Chinese new cinema to analyze Chinese identity and politics, it is still a useful contribution to the limited literature in this field. A collection of fifteen loosely connected essays which are of various levels of theoretical sophistication and academic quality, this volume can serve as a reference book to academics. It can also be used as supplementary materials for undergraduate film teaching. The book is divided into three parts which dea...

Columns, Film Review

Eternal Seed (Amrit Beeja)

Eternal Seed depicts the agricultural practices and rituals of three women, Yashodha, Nilamma, and Sunanda, in an unidentified part of rural India. The women explain in a number of interview scenes how and why they want to preserve traditional crop varieties against the inroads of multinational agribusiness. Our view of their world is intercut several times with scenes from commercial greenhouses, agricultural labs, milking machines, artificial insemination stations, mechanized food processing, ...

Book Review

Japan Why It Works, Why It Doesn’t: Economics in Everyday Life

Japan: Why It Works, Why It Doesn’t evolved out of a 1995 visit to Japan by American economics professors James Mak and Shyam Sunder. Arriving in Japan with little understanding of the society, Mak and Sunder began asking questions of their Kobe University hosts (including their co-editors, Shigeyuki Abe and Kazuhiro Igawa) about what they saw around them. Many of these questions became the titles of the various essays that make up the book. By focusing on everyday life, the book explains some...

Columns, Film Review

Through Chinese Women’s Eyes

Through Chinese Women’s Eyes was filmed in Shanghai and Beijing by Dr. Mayfair Yang, professor of anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. This film looks closely at the contrast between Maoist and post-Maoist China through the words and experiences of female factory workers, office personnel, academics, entrepreneurs, and women employed in new categories of service work like today’s popular “hospitality girls.” Using a seamless integration of narration, interviews,...

Book Review, Columns

A Guide to Chinese Literature

Originally written as a series of lectures, Professor Wilt Idema published a version of this book in Dutch in 1985, and Lloyd Haft translated it into English. The present edition, coauthored by Idema and Haft, is an extensively revised and expanded version of the earlier one bringing the discussion of modern Chinese literature up into the early 1990s. As might be expected in any work endeavoring to address 3,000 years of Chinese literature in 300 pages and 28 chapters, much of the Guide reads li...

Feature Article

Modern China and India: Asian History or Third World History?

Experts on China and India tend to stay away from each others’ fields. This is in stark contrast to the popular perception, shared by many undergraduate students, of Asia as a single historical and cultural entity that can be studied in a coherent manner. Of late, this notion has been buttressed by media attention on the “Asian” economic miracle, which as we know has now turned into the “Asian” economic crisis. While Asian Studies is now popular on campuses, with a growing number of co...


Asian Factoids

ASIA'S ECONOMIC WOES: AN UPDATE By Autumn 1998, Asia’s total of bad loans was estimated to be $1 trillion. In little more than a year since the beginning of the economic crisis, Asia’s currencies lost 30–70 percent of their value. In 1996, some $96 billion in capital flowed into just five countries: South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. By the end of 1997, there had been a net outflow of $100 billion from East Asia. Indonesia’s per capita GNP shrank from $3,...

Columns, Film Review

Japan 2000: Against All the Odds, The High-Tech Road, Changing Lifestyles, The Future in the Countryside

The Japan 2000 series provides an overview to the lives and goals of Japan’s people, and is interesting in that it does not focus on the Tokyo region (the Kanto Plain), as many such instructional series do. Instead, emphasis is placed on Western Japan, the region known as Kansai. In this shift of focus, the views which many ascribe to the Kanto region are seen to have broader application. This series presents a variety of topics, and offers the Western viewer an explanation of Japanese actions...

Columns, Film Review

Walking with Buddha

Walking With Buddha Walking with Buddha, another film in the Maryknoll series on Asian religions, presents a brief overview of Buddhism in modern-day Thailand. Like the similar film on Buddhism in Japan, Buddhism and Black Belts, this film seeks to promote interreligious understanding and mutual respect by highlighting what is most distinctive and most admirable in the Buddhism of a particular culture. The host, Father Bill Grimm, explains to viewers that Buddhism, like other world religions...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

Asian Culture in the Classroom

I teach a senior elective in Asian Studies at Westridge School, an independent school in Pasadena, California. My objective is to provide a solid foundation for appreciating the distinctive histories and cultures of China, Japan and Korea, their interrelationships and commonalities. To secure respect for Asian societies, opportunities are created for students to experience the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures within and outside of the classroom (see appendix 1). In order to be as creative ...

Book Review, Columns

The Gingko Bed

Interweaving mythic and supernatural elements, writer/director Jacky (Jekyu) Kang’s The Gingko Bed dramatizes the tale of doomed lovers whose souls have transmigrated to, and remain trapped for over 1,000 years in, the expertly hand-carved wood of a gingko bed. The film proper begins in contemporary Seoul as 32-year-old college art instructor Su-hyun takes possession of the antique bed, oblivious to its tragic history, even as he reignites its drama. Soon beset with baffling impulses, hallucin...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

Cobblestone’s Elementary School Magazines on Asia

It can be quite a challenge for elementary teachers to find appropriate materials for their students in the field of Asian studies. Information must be presented through a suitable reading level in a format interesting to students, and still provide accurate facts in a culturally sensitive manner. Finding resources that offer a balance between activity oriented ideas and accurate information can be difficult. Too many times we get stuck into making “cute” things, and run the risk of perpetua...

Book Review, Columns

Dear Alice: Letters Home from American Teachers Learning to Live in China

Earl Herbert Cressy recalled his pre-World War I East Asian sojourn in the following terms: “He had come to the Far East with a message that he was on fire to give, but in the process of transmission the East had spoken its message to him. He had gone out to change the East and was returning himself a changed man . . . not only a missionary but an internationalist, an intermediary between the two great civilizations that inhabit the earth.”1 Writes a modern-day contributor to Letters Home...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

The China Box and China Talk

Teachers who travel often wonder what they can bring back to benefit their students that will not cost much and be easy to carry—the China Box seems at first glance like just such a collection acquired on some lucky teacher’s travels. Here are maps and books and small toys—and slides, of course, and chopsticks, and more. Oh, that we all should be so lucky! Tucked in the bottom of the box is China Talk: A Handbook for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents by Steven I. Levine. The handbook turns...