Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Online Supplement

Understanding Contemporary Asia through Food

While once-exotic Asian foods have become a familiar part of American life, the study of Asian food continues to be a sharp lens, giving focus to the broad sweep of history and the complex patterns of contemporary Asian societies. The eating habits and culinary practices (foodways) of Asian societies are both local and global, revealing the historical impact of past events and the everyday tensions of contemporary Asian societies. Humans often use food to distinguish their own group from others....

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Food, Culture and Asia

ASIA, GENERAL The Rhythm of Rice Production URL: http://on.natgeo.com/rewF5U The National Geographic Society, in its Xpeditions section, provides this lesson plan for young elementary school students about the importance of rice in the economy and culture of Asia. A link to a handout is also available. Food Timeline: Asian-American Cuisine URL: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodasian.html Short overviews of the history of Asian food in America are accompanied by reviews and quotes from p...

Feature Article

Will Japan Change?

Is Japan once again changing? Unlike 1868, when the newly empowered Meiji emperor moved to Tokyo to preside over a series of dramatic changes that became more generally known as the Meiji Restoration, or 1945, when the Allied Occupation allied with relatively progressive Japanese to create a new constitution and institute a set of major reforms, Japan has yet to see a truly dramatic leader or many public protests. Yet a less dramatic series of political, economic, and social developments, combin...

Resources

The Wm. Theodore de Bary and Ainslie T. Embree AAS Fund for Education and Outreach

We are delighted to announce the enthusiastic and unanimous decision of the board of directors of the Association for Asian Studies to create the Wm. Theodore de Bary and Ainslie T. Embree Fund for Education and Outreach: https://www.asianstudies.org/publications/eaa/fund-for-education/ This fund will support the preparation and dissemination of AAS publications to make knowledge about Asia widely available for general education courses. The fund is named in honor of two past presidents of...

Feature Article

The Politics of the Thai Table: Food, Manners, Values

Many readers have probably wandered into a Thai restaurant somewhere in North America or Western Europe, ordered a plate of pad thai, and scooped it up with a fork held in the right hand.1 They have probably viewed the offerings on the menu somewhat nervously and then perhaps tried a few other dishes—as long as they were not too spicy. Mouths on fire, they have ended the meal with a comforting Thai dessert, often mango and sticky rice or a sweet pudding, and washed the whole thing down with gl...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

China in the World: The Rise and Fall of the Canton System

BY PETER PERDUE AND LYNN PARISI MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY VISUALIZING CULTURES Reviewed by Jeffrey R. Johnson As China’s relevance continues to grow, new resources are allowing teachers to offer increasingly nuanced instruction to their students. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Visualizing Cultures project has been at the forefront in this effort, giving teachers access to high-resolution historical images along with authoritative essays and readymade lessons that ask...

Essay, Resources

Three New Volumes: Key Issues in Asian Studies

Editor’s note: Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) is a series of booklets engaging major cultural and historical themes in the Asian experience. KIAS booklets serve as vital educational materials that are both accessible and affordable for classroom use. This series is particularly intended for teachers and undergraduates at two- and four-year colleges as well as high school students and secondary school teachers engaged in teaching Asian studies in a comparative framework. What follows are br...

Feature Article

Notions of Rights in the United States and Japan

COMPETING CONCEPTIONS OF RIGHTS Japan and the United States share some of the institutional infrastructure for “rights” such as written constitutions and independent judiciaries. Both countries are liberal democracies, and the US played a key role in remaking Japan’s institutions after World War II. Still, what the term “rights” means differs in the two countries. Japan has inherited competing conceptions of rights from the West at different points in its history. The concept of right...

Feature Article

Democratic Japan: The Rise of Local Women Politicians

It’s a muggy August evening in 2010, and I am enjoying dinner and conversation in a Ginza sushi bar with local politician Kyoko Nakamura (a pseudonym), a woman from one of Tokyo’s twenty-three ward assemblies. Ms. Nakamura is nearing the end of her first term. After initially losing her challenge for a seat on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government council a business partner encouraged Nakamura to run for the ward assembly as an independent “pinch hitter” when a Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ...

Online Supplement

Using Food to Teach about Chinese Culture

In my undergraduate teaching of Chinese and East Asian history to business majors, I find that food is a very useful idiom for learning about traditional and modern Chinese culture. Since everyone eats, it makes a foreign culture more approachable. Attitudes toward food help students understand change and continuity in China’s long history and provide insights into social and political values in various historical periods. In this article, I share some of my experiences, approaches, and materi...

Online Supplement

Poha—Krishna’s Favorite

The Memory Some of my childhood memories consist of an unforgettable aroma emanating from the kitchen in the morning: the aroma of milk boiling away on the gas stove, coffee dripping in the stainless steel percolator, and peanuts, onions, potatoes, curry leaves, green chilies, and spices frying away in the thick aluminum kadhai (wok)—with the intermittent clunking of the huge stainless steel ladle against the kadhai, announcing that breakfast was on its way—not just any breakfast, but one o...

Feature Article

Who’s Afraid of Chop Suey?

The career of chop suey turns out to be a Cinderella story in reverse: chop suey is the ugly sister whose foot will not fit into the glass slipper. Chop suey rose from obscurity in the late nineteenth century to become one of America’s national dishes and one of the main ingredients in the spread of Chinese restaurants in North America during the years when Chinese families and entrepreneurs spread Chinese cookery outside China by adapting to new conditions and inventing new forms. By the end ...

Online Supplement

Helping Students Overcome Fear of “Foreignness” in Teaching Asian Religions

The study of Asian religions in high school and college survey courses offers both confusion and the possibility of better international understanding. The purpose of this teaching resources essay is to identify potential pit falls to avoid. Although the focus here is on Chinese religions, the likely problem areas and possible instructional solutions are applicable to other belief systems. A first common problem for students is their concern about the complexity and foreignness of vocabulary....

Feature Article

Democracy in Action in Japan’s Foreign and Security Policymaking

One stubborn belief common in other developed democracies is that the Japanese electorate is somehow passive or unengaged. Moreover, the belief that in Japan important political decisions are made by unelected bureaucrats against the wishes of elected politicians or the electorate at large has stuck in the minds of many, propagated by the oft-repeated dictum that Japan is a place where “politicians reign but bureaucrats rule.” (note 1) In the area of foreign and security policy, however, the...

Feature Article

Grassroots Democracy and Civil Society in Japan

The way that civil society connects to and supports democracy in Japan differs in important ways from what we find in the United States. Of course, the fundamental logic of the connection is essentially the same—in both countries, civil society groups support democracy and governance through providing services, ideas, and generating connections among citizens. However, the patterns or configurations of civil society in the two countries are quite distinct, and as a result, we find important di...

EAA Interview, Resources

An EAA Interview with 2011 Franklin R. Buchanan Co-Prize Winner Peter Perdue

This is our fifteenth consecutive interview with recipients of the Franklin Buchanan Prize. This year’s cowinners are Yale University historian Peter C. Perdue and Lynn Parisi, Director of the Program for Teaching East Asia at the University of Colorado. China and the World: The Rise and Fall of the Canton Trading System is now a component of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Visualizing Cultures digital teaching project at http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/rise_fall_canton_01...

Feature Article

Exploring Indian Culture through Food

Food and Identity Food (Sanskrit— bhojana,“that which is to be enjoyed,” Hindi— khana, Tamil— shapad) presents a way to understand everyday Indian culture as well as the complexities of identity and interaction with other parts of the world that are both veiled and visible. In India today,with a growing economy due to liberalization and more consumption than ever in middle class life, food as something to be enjoyed and as part of Indian culture is a popular topic. From a 1960s food e...

Book Review, Resources

Bamboo People

BY MITALI PERKINS WATERTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS:  CHARLESBRIDGE PUBLISHING, 2010 272 PAGES, ISBN-10: 1580893287, HARDBACK Bamboo People is a coming-of-age story about two teenage boys caught up in the Burmese government’s brutal regime and its systematic repression of ethnic minority groups. The story touches upon each boy’s struggle to maintain a sense of morality, identity, and compassion in a world filled with cruelty and injustice. It is a tale that addresses current conditions of human r...

Book Review, Resources

Central Asia in World History

BY PETER B. GOLDEN NEW YORK: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2011 192 PAGES, ISBN: 978-0195338195, PAPERBACK This volume, one of the geographically themed books in the New Oxford World History series, is a welcome addition to the quite limited number of works on Central Asian history written for high school students and college undergraduates. Peter Golden is an accomplished scholar of the region, and he offers a broad sweep of historical development, ranging from the earliest era of oasis civilizat...

Feature Article

Globalizing Asian Cuisines: From Eating for Strength to Culinary Cosmopolitanism —A Long History of Culinary Globalization

Visit a restaurant or home kitchen in America or Europe today, and you inevitably find a salt and pepper shaker on the table or by the stove. While salt is a physiological necessity for human beings, pepper is a culinary necessity with negligible nutritional value. Its origins as a cultural necessity for Western peoples lie in very ancient patterns of culinary globalization. In 30 BCE Rome, under Octavian, conquered the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt. For the next five centuries, annual fleets of ov...

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