Education About Asia: Online Archives

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EAA Interview

American and European Missionaries in East Asia: An Interview with Professor Donald Clark

Donald Clark is the Murchison Professor of History and Co-Director of East Asian Studies at Trinity University. He also serves as Director of Trinity’s International Studies Program. He teaches courses on China, Japan, Korea, and the history of American foreign relations with a research focus on Korea, where he spent much of his life as the son of missionaries. In addition to writing books and journal articles on a variety of East Asian topics, Professor Clark has also published two works th...

Feature Article

The US Founders and China: The Origins of Chinese Cultural Influence on the United States

Walking from the east entrance up the steps to the Supreme Court building, one can see a sculpture of Confucius along with Moses and Solon. The sculpture may serve as an indicator of the impact of Confucius in the formation of American culture. Indeed, Chinese cultural and technological influence on what would become the United States started even before this country was born. Chinese culture became important when some of the US founders looked for resources that could be mobilized in their e...

Feature Article

The Asian Soul of Transcendentalism

The treatment of Transcendentalism by twentieth-century teachers of literature and American history has followed a long tradition of focusing primarily on the European and American cultural influences on its major figures, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Bronson and Louisa May Alcott. Their work is seen as fitting into various Western currents such as German Romanticism, Unitarian theology, neo-Platonism, and American utopian thought. In this framework, the...

Book Review, Online Supplement

Understanding Contemporary India, 2nd Edition

NEIL DEVOTTA, EDITOR LYNNE RIENNER PUBLISHERS, 2010 341 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1588267153, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Christopher Shaw Professors in the evolving field of global and area studies continuously confront the challenge of “coverage.” What might a course on the Indian subcontinent, for example, responsibly omit? If the focus is on political and economic challenges, to what extent does the teacher examine modern versus ancient history? Refer to trade patterns versus regional diplomacy? Re...

Online Supplement

Why Japan Matters

Teaching about Japan is exceedingly relevant in the twenty-first century in terms of US-Japan relations, be they historical, political, or economic. The study of Japan also provides us the opportunity to enhance our own civilization by learning about an ancient society whose culture and worldview are so diverse and distant from our own.

Essay, Resources

Why Japan Matters

By Alejandro Echevarria Japan matters in the history classroom because its development as a modern country offers rich opportunities for comparison. Japan’s rapid change from a system with some characteristics of feudalism in the Tokugawa period to modernization in the Meiji period is unlike any other shift in world history. The economic, social, and political changes were so rapid that they destabilized the fabric of the nation and put them on the path toward conflict with the Wester...

Feature Article

Asia’s Turtle Crisis and Conservation: Environmental Education and Cultural Geography

Turtles are heavily exploited in Asia, not only for the pet trade, but also as a food source and for use in traditional Asian folk medicines. Along with habitat destruction, increased urbanization, and pollution, such over-exploitation is driving what conservationists are calling the Asian turtle crisis, a precipitous decline in Asian turtle populations. Currently, over half of Asia’s ninety turtle species are classified as endangered or critically endangered.1  While it is true that the life...

Essay, Resources

Why Japan Matters

By Norman T. Masuda First Winner, Language Category, 2002 Japan has been in the news the past few months because of the natural and manmade disasters that have occurred in northeastern Japan. During the writing and broadcasting of the calamities that have struck the Japanese people, the news media pointed out the phenomenon of a population that waited patiently for food, water, and medical attention. Seeing and reading about the Japanese reaction to such devastation, one asks why this rea...

Book Review, Resources

India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict or Cooperation?

BY STANLEY WOLPERT BERKELEY: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS, 2010 144 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0520266773, HARDBACK Reviewed by Thomas Lamont Stanley Wolpert, one of America’s senior and foremost pundits on South Asia and India in particular, has given us a smart, concise, and accessible overview of Indian-Pakistani relations. This short book is primarily an intelligent explanation of the ongoing rivalry between India and Pakistan. Yet it is also an impassioned and eloquent call for better relatio...

EAA Interview, Resources

Teaching Asia: Exploring Online Curriculum with Catherine Higbee Ishida

Interviewed by Linda S. Wojtan Editor’s Note: What follows is an interview with Cathy Ishida, who is earning an excellent national reputation for her stellar work with teachers. Cathy is on the staff of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA), where she has a number of professional development responsibilities. In addition to her work with the TEA program, Cathy played a major role in building the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Asia C...

Essay, Resources

Why Japan Matters

By Patricia Burleson There are many reasons that Japan still matters, most of them well founded in economic statistics and geopolitical analyses. For this commentary, I decided to bypass those and focus instead on my personal experiences and those of local high school students. Students quoted here were participants in one of eleven annual study tours I have led in Japan. I think that Japan matters because there are many lessons about life that can best be learned from the Japanese. Students...

Essay, Resources

Japan Matters: Promoting World Peace through Education, Science, and International Partnerships

Headlines in 2011 have trumpeted China bypassing Japan as the second-largest economy in the world. Japan’s move to number three was not surprising, nor should it be alarming. What is remarkable is that Japan, with limited resources, smaller than the state of California, maintained a position of economic dominance for so long. After the devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japan, far from being in free-fall, continues to be a committed and adept global player in many respects. There are numerous...

Book Review


BY ALF HILTEBEITEL HONOLULU: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI’I PRESS, 2010 208 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0824834869, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Catherine Benton Part of the University of Hawai`i series “Dimensions of Asian Spirituality,” Alf Hiltebeitel’s Dharma presents an enlightening discussion of dharma, a fundamental component of Hindu and Buddhist thinking. One of the goals of the “Dimensions of Asian Spirituality” series is to make available “short but comprehensive works [by distinguished schola...

Book Review

A History of Thailand, 2nd Edition

BY CHRIS BAKER AND PASUK PHONGPAICHIT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2009 315 PAGES, ISBN 978-0-521-75915-1, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Timothy Hoare “History was invented for the nation-state. It has the tendency to imagine the false unity of a self-same national subject evolving through time.” In this opening sentence of A History of Thailand (Cambridge, 2009), authors Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit identify what is often amiss in our overall assumptions about political entities, i.e., tha...

Book Review, Resources

Why Japan Matters

By Masumi Reade Along line of people—hundreds of selfless, patient citizens—quietly waiting to receive water; A big smile on a rescue worker, walking with a just-rescued eighty-one-year old lady on his back; Rescue workers from the Self-Defense Force descending from a helicopter to retrieve a dog that was still alive on a rooftop of a home floating in the ocean, three weeks after the tsunami; The emperor and empress visiting victims in several shelters . . ....

Book Review, Resources

The Silk Road in World History

BY XINRU LIU NEW YORK: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2010 168 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0195338102, PAPERBACK Reviewed by James A. Anderson Professor Liu has written a comprehensive and engaging survey of Eurasian trade through the era of Mongol conquest in the thirteenth century. Her study is truly global; the book covers both East Asian and Mediterranean termini along the extensive commercial network now known as the Silk Road. The reader learns of the vast differences between the sedentary and nomadic ...

Feature Article

Dean Worcester’s Photographs and American Perceptions of the Philippines

When the US acquired its overseas colonies in the aftermath of the Spanish American War, photography quickly established itself as part of the colonial project. Photographs in magazines and newspapers brought the war home to American readers. Postcards and stereographs were popular consumer objects. Illustrated travel books, detailing the landscapes and peoples of the new colonies, were bestsellers. Photographs could provide visual evidence of the supposedly backward state of the colonies, which...

Feature Article

Ambassadors of Exchange: The 1860 Japanese Mission to the US

The 1860 expedition of the first Japanese ambassadorial delegation to the US presents instructional opportunities useful in a variety of courses. The 150th anniversary in 2010 of this official establishment of trade relations between the two countries supplemented the already-rich array of primary and secondary resources by adding a proliferation of new documents and websites. While the official purpose of the mission was to ratify the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce, the Japanese entourage be...

Feature Article

Back in Time: Pictures Worth More than 1,000 Words

These photographs of Northeast Asia from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries give people today a window on the economic, environmental, and geopolitical context of the time. This essay introduces some of the early photographs from Japan, Korea, and adjacent lands—scenes that families in the US viewed with the aid of the right-eye, left-eye lenses of the viewstand, or stereograph, so they could enjoy a vivid 3-D experience—to learn about lands that were then unknown to them.

Feature Article

America and the Philippines: Modern Civilization and City Planning

The Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines on May 1, 1898, fundamentally changed the course of American history and America’s relationship with Southeast Asia. In the ensuing months, Spanish colonialism in the Philippines collapsed and was replaced by American sovereignty. As an upshot of this transition, the United States changed from being a republic based on the consent of the governed to, for the first time, being a ruler of a distant territory. Notably, too, its self-perception altered. ...