Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

The Heart of History: The Tale of Genji

The defensible claims that The Tale of Genji is history’s first novel and the first major literary work written by a woman have won it international recognition and accordingly inclusion in many survey courses of world literature.


The Chinese Cultural Revolution: Dynamic Times, Dramatic Lessons for Today’s Kids

The lesson plans presented here could be used in a high school World History course as part of a larger unit on the People’s Republic of China. Prerequisite understandings would include: 1) basic concepts of comparative governments, 2) the impact of Western imperialism on China, 3) an overview of twentieth-century Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing or Manchu dynasty in 1911 to the establishment of the PRC in 1949, and 4) the successes and failures of Maoist China prior to 1966. M...

Book Review, Resources

Taoism: The Enduring Tradition

Taoism The Enduring Tradition BY RUSSELL KIRKLAND NEW YORK AND LONDON: ROUTLEDGE/TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP, 2004 304 PAGES ISBN 0-415-26321-2 HARD COVER 0-415-26322-0 PAPERBACK Russell Kirkland has offered those of us who teach about Chinese philosophy and religion an excellent introduction to Daoism. Taoism: The Enduring Tradition will be especially useful to an instructor because the author uses his wide-ranging knowledge of the history and practice of Daoism, and of the Daoi...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Human Rights in China: The Search for Common Ground

Human Rights in China: The Search for Common Ground A Film By Raymond Olson Sacred Mountain Productions VHS. 50 Minutes. Color. 2004 DVD. 114 Minutes. Color. 2004 English Only (No Subtitles, Occasional Translations as Voiceovers) Distributed By Sacred Mountain Productions, PMB 157, 16420 S. E. McGillivray, Suite 103, Vancouver, VW 98683-3461 Sociologist Raymond Olson uses recorded interviews and striking video footage from contemporary China to take the viewer inside one of the most fasc...

Feature Article

Silk Roads into Vietnamese History

Vietnamese and world history matter to each other. Yet, the images that popularize Vietnam suggest otherwise. One recurrent image familiar to textbooks and movie screens depicts anonymous peasants toiling in slow, silent rhythm over featureless rice paddies, surrounded by jungle. This image evokes pervasive assumptions that I choose to debunk. First, the icons of the peasant, the paddy, and the jungle suggest a Vietnamese people disengaged from the outside world, who change only when outsiders (...

Feature Article

Modern Asia Through Drama and Theatre

By Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. To many in the West, especially students, Asian performing arts means the traditional arts: kabuki, nō, jingju (Beijing Opera), and kathakali. Many are also familiar with the cinema of Asia, thanks to the growth in popularity of the cinemas of China (Hero), Japan (via anime and Americanized versions of Japanese films such as Ju-on and Ringu), and India (via a growing awareness of “Bollywood”). Yet between premodern tradition and postmodern cinema is a century of ...

Feature Article

Teaching about Heian Japan

By Melinda Varner Until quite recently, many world cultures and world history textbooks for middle and high school classrooms devoted scant copy, if any, to Japan’s Nara (710–784 CE) and Heian (794–1185 CE) periods. An examination of several 2005 editions of commonly- used secondary world history textbooks reveals that this state of affairs seems to be rapidly changing over the past two or three years, most likely in response to the inclusion of more content on this period in the Nation...

EAA Interview

EAA Interview with Romila Thapar

Romila Thapar, one of the most eminent historians of India in the world, is Professor Emeritus in History at Jawaharal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has served as General President of the Indian History Congress and was named a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. She is author of numerous books including Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300. This work is a rewrite of her classic work, A History of India, Vol.1, which first appeared 39 years ago. EAA editorial board member Fritz B...

Book Review, Resources

Twentieth Century China: A History in Documents

Diverse voices from China’s turbulent twentieth century call out from the pages of the valuable teaching resource Twentieth Century China. R. Keith Schoppa, author of several excellent monographs and textbooks on modern Chinese history, divides the history of the past hundred years into thirteen chronological chapters in this new work. For each, he provides a brief introduction followed by several relevant documents in a variety of forms: political manifestos, personal letters, travelers’ re...

Book Review, Resources

Religions of the Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century

The Internet, one might say, is the new Silk Road: it is a place that links various parts of the world; a place where people and other larger entities conduct business (e.g., e-commerce); a place fraught with danger (e.g., “hackers”); and a place where people exchange goods and ideas. While this picture of the new Silk Road works well as an explanatory device, Richard Foltz’s Religions of the Silk Road situates the dynamics of cross-cultural contact and trade along the ancient Silk Road.

Curriculum Materials Review, Resources

India: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Teacher’s Guide

I appreciate the background readings in the beginning of each unit of Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, which are an excellent source of information for teacher preparation, as well as practical for high school students reading at grade level or beyond.



UCLA ASIA INSTITUTE WWW.ASIAMEDIA.UCLA.EDU AsiaMedia ( “delivers news about all aspects of the media in Asia, including its role in regional and national economies, societies and political debate.” This seven-year-old Web resource, published by the UCLA Asia Institute, provides rich daily coverage for those interested in Asia and media policies and practices. The site features original reporting, stories reprinted from cooperating news outlets, and diverse commenta...

EAA Interview, Resources

An EAA Interview with Donald and Jean Johnson

This is our ninth interview with winners of the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. The Association for Asian Studies awards the prize annually for the development of outstanding curriculum materials on Asia. Donald and Jean Johnson won the 2005 prize for serving as Editors-in-Chief of the teacher’s guide India: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (New York: Asia Society, 2004). The Johnsons have been long-time national leaders in efforts to educate American teachers and students about India. The...

Book Review Essay, Resources

A History of Pakistan and Its Origins

This book has remarkable potential for infusing Asian themes into academic curriculums. Pakistan has become pivotal to world peace since September 11, 2001, in its role as the frontline state against the war on terror. Students want to know about the country and its people. An additional element of this book’s relevance is the wealth of information it gives on Islam—a topic of great interest and importance to our students.

Film Review Essay, Resources

The Worlds of Mei Lanfang

The Worlds of Mei Lanfang A FILM BY MEI-JUIN CHEN NEW JERSEY: LOTUS FILM GROUP VHS. 57 MINUTES. COLOR. 2000 Mei Lanfang, the crossdressing actor and “King of Actors” of early twentieth-century China, has long been touted as an icon of Beijing Opera (Jingju) and China’s cultural tradition. The Worlds of Mei Lanfang seeks to represent Mei’s multivalent life and career, ranging from a theatrical reformist to a “traditional” Chinese cultural practitioner and missionary; from an ido...

Feature Article

China in World History 300–1500 CE

By Valerie Hansen Connections among the different regions of the world lie at the heart of world history, but many historians of China—whether writing in English or Chinese—minimize them, particularly when they indicate outside influence on China. Overland and sea routes connected China to the rest of the world; Buddhist missionaries and teachings entered China by these routes, which also carried Chinese inventions to Eurasia and beyond. Along with Europe, West Asia, and India, China was ...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Indochina

INDOCHINA Title: The Indochina Center—UC-Berkeley URL: For someone contemplating research at the Indochina Center at UCBerkeley, this site has a helpful list of its files and serials holdings. In addition, the large number of links to sites dealing with the countries of Indochina are organized by categories such as News, Academic, Government, etc., and short annotations accompany most. CAMBODIA Title: Cambodia in Modern History URL: http://www.meko...

Feature Article

Muslims at the Crossroads: An Introductory Survey of Historical and Contemporary Aspects of Islam in Central Asia

Central Asia Reemerges Central Asia has reappeared as a player in the ebb and flow of international relations. Ironically, the region the political geographer Halford J. MacKinder called “the geographical pivot of history” in 19041 was for most of the twentieth century consigned to the sidelines, as world wars and their geopolitical aftermath carried other actors to center stage. Yet at many earlier historical junctures, Central Asia had served as a crossroads, linking Asian, European, and ...

Facts About Asia, Resources

Facts About Asia: Two Significant Maritime Achievements

Purposes of the Voyages: The purposes of Columbus’ four voyages were to find a trade route to the Indies, to expand and enrich both the Spanish empire and Columbus (who received a tenth of all riches acquired), and to convert the natives to Christianity, some of whom were also enslaved.