Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Arundhati Roy’s The Greater Common Good: Dams, Development, and Democracy in India

Arundhati Roy. a contemporary writer from India, is best known globally for her Booker-Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things (1997). In addition to being a celebrated novelist. Roy is also a passionate activist who rails against globalization, multinational corpora­tions, alleged US global hegemony. Hindu-Muslim violence, nuclear weapons, and, of course, big dams. The following essay is an account of how I use one of Roy's works in conjunction with a variety of other materials to teach co...

Book Review, Resources

Modern Japan: A History in Documents

There is no shortage of fine textbooks on the history of modern Japan. But all—from the old standards authored by Peter Duus, Mikiso Hane, and Kenneth Pyle, to more recent volumes from Andrew Gordon, James McClain, and Conrad Totman—fol­low the same familiar formula. All are long, content-rich, chrono­logical narratives written in the dispassionate, authoritative voice of a detached, "objective" historian. As is typical of textbooks, the inter­pretation is done for the student reader, who...

Feature Article

Japanese Society in the Twentieth Century

Most American textbooks do a capable job of summarizing the political and economic facts of Japan's modern history. The country, in their telling, modernized quickly in the late 1800s, turned militant in the 1930s, went to war in the 1940s, reemerged under American guidance in the 1950s, and became an "economic animal" in the 1960s. In the 1990s, the bubble burst. Unfortunately, most of these textbooks ignore the rich and varied lives of the Japanese people themselves: their consumption pattern...

Book Review, Resources

Mao Zedong and China’s Revolutions: A Brief History with Documents

Mao Zedong retains significant symbolic potency in the People's Republic of China. Whether as an intransigent youth, voluble guerilla leader, or fulminating toward the Cultural Revolution, Mao's figure shows no sign of receding from the stage of history. Today, the "fourth generation" of Chinese Com­munist leaders brandish Mao as a talisman against instability and a patron saint for the peasantry whose steady influx into Beijing could ultimately dislodge the Chairman from his tomb in the shadow...

Essay, Resources

It’s Not Hard … Anyone Can Learn Japanese

My Japanese 4-5 class, which is combined into one class, was getting ready to leave for a day-trip to a local Japanese garden and restaurant. A student rushed in just as the final bell was ringing, greeting everyone with, "Ohayo gozaimasu (good morning). Hello family." With the greeting he conveyed what happens in the class. We're a family, we're together, you matter to me and I matter to you. This is an example of the magic that can occur in our Japanese classes. Perhaps one of the best experie...

Feature Article

Teaching Twentieth-Century Chinese History

In an ideal world of American education, both high school students and college undergraduates would begin the study of twentieth-century China with a deep understanding of the development of Chinese civilization and its place in world his­tory. Certainly, the much-publicized economic challenge posed by contemporary China, as well as its expanding leadership role in East Asia and beyond, would make such an in-depth study crucial for all American students. Unfortunately, state and local history r...

Film Review, Resources

Tibetan Medicine: The Knowledge of Healing

The Knowledge of Healing is the first cinematic effort to record and introduce time-tested, mysterious Tibetan medicine to a Western audience. The film, through interviews with Tibetan doctors, patients, scientists, and the current Dalai Lama, explains the philosophic aspects of Tibetan medicine and the methods, of Tibetan treatments, as well as the extraordinary effectiveness of Tibetan med­icinal herbs.

Feature Article

Twentieth-Century India: An Overview

Twentieth-century India is chronologically almost symmetrical, with 194 7-the year of independence as the dividing line. With independence came partition, as British India was divided into India and Pakistan, the farmer becoming constitutionally secular and the latter an Islamic state. In 1971 the east wing of Pakistan, with somewhat delayed military intervention from India, became the independent nation of Bangladesh. It might also be noted that while India has remained a democracy, both Pakist...

Book Review, Resources

The Vietnam War: A History in Documents

We owe a great debt to Marilyn Young, John Fitzgerald, and Tom Grunfeld, who, in The Vietnam War: A History in Documents, have intelligently compiled and introduced a comprehensive collection of primary sources on one of the most contentious events in twentieth-century international history. Covering the period from the First Indochina War to the bitter after­math of the American conflict, the documents provide a web-round­ed overview of Vietnam's modern nationalist struggle, although one per...

Book Review, Resources

Chinese Aesthetics and Literature: A Reader

The past few decades have seen a growing demand among teachers and scholars of Western literature for clear analyses of Chinese aesthetics. While there are many fine introductory materials, there remains a need for what might be called "interme­diate" materials that prepare the serious readers for specialized works, Chinese Aesthetics and Literature: A Reader admirably fills part of that gap, with eleven well-written pieces by experts in Chinese litera­ture who speak to a wide audience.

Book Review, Resources

Broadening the Horizons of Chinese History: Discourses, Syntheses, and Comparisons

In Broadening the Horizons of Chinese History, Ray Huang investigates events in China from a long-term perspective. The work is actually a compilation of several previously-presented essays. In many ways, the text reads more like an intimate lecture than a jargon-filled monograph. Inserting several interesting details about his own life. Huang writes as if he is seeking to persuade and enlighten a younger generation of scholars.

Teaching Resources Essay

Mao and China in World History High School Textbooks

EDITOR'S NOTE We asked the author of this essay, as well as the one that follows, to read all references to Mao Zedong in two leading US high school World History textbooks, and provide commentary on the treatments of this important twentieth-century figure.

Feature Article

Asia’s Environment, 1900-2000

What does the above title mean? Anything? Despite its admirable conciseness, it is in fact laced with semantic problems. Perhaps if we rephrase it, "On Thinking About Asia's Environment, 1900-2000." we'd give ourselves occasion to explore those problems briefly. And if we do so, we may find a silk purse lurking in this sow's ear of a title.

EAA Interview

EAA Interview with Herbert P. Bix, 2001 Pulitzer Winner: Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

Herbert P. Bix is a professor of history and sociology at Binghamton University in New York, where he was recently appointed after three and a half years at the prestigious Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. In the fall of 2001, I had just moved to Tokyo to teach Japanese history and Asian studies at The American School in Japan. After reading Bix’s biography of Hirohito, I immediately invited him to speak to my senior honors classes, and thankfully, he graciously accepted. The talk Professor B...


A Visit to the DMZ: A Virtual Tour of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea

Editor's Note: The lesson that follows was developed by a participant in an Indiana University National Consortium for Teaching about Asia seminar. We thank Anne Prescott of the IU East Asian Studios Center for sending this lesson. A virtual tour of the DMZ accompanies this lesson plan. To include the virtual tour in your curriculum, please visit our Web site: http//­tal.htm where a script of the tour can be printed and the color photos can be viewed.

Essay, Resources

Asian Fiction of the Twentieth Century: A Novel Approach to History

History viewed through the lens of fiction can enhance a standard textbook, making the subject more immediate and compelling to students. Anecdotal evidence suggests that students who read a novel in conjunction with a history class become more engaged with the subject. Both the grand themes of a work of fiction and its quotidian details inform and educate, remaining with a reader long after the novel or the course in which it was assigned is completed. The cataclysmic events of the twentieth ce...

Feature Article

Asia in the Twentieth Century

Recent event events offer an apt metaphor for Asia's twentieth century. Between 1900 and 2000, a North Atlantic human tsunami crested and then withdrew, leaving behind radically changed social landscapes after ten decades of widespread disruption. Asia was not alone. The whole world went through the same experience—not least Europe and America, locat­ed at the epicenter of the entire upheaval. After-effects still persist, and intensified communication means that rapid readjustments to the Nor...

Feature Article

Using “Monkey” to Teach Religions of China

Like most classics of literature, journey to the West (also known as Monkey, after its main character, the wondrous Monkey King) can be read on many levels. Besides being a tale of epic adventure on the scale of Star Wars or the Lord of the Rings, Monkey has been read as political and religious satire, as allegory, and as fantastical historical fiction. In this essay we will undertake a jour­ney to discover what Monkey can reveal about Chinese religion. First, we will show how, in the early ch...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Teaching About “The Forgotten War”

Although often labeled the "forgotten war," there is a large and growing literature on the Korean War. The two very different books reviewed here present additions to this body of work that are useful for teach­ers and students.

Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Asia in the Twentieth Century

Title: Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Asia Since 1900 URL: This is part of a valuable series of original source documents. In particular, this site has documents pertaining to Asia in the twentieth-century. Also accessible through this page are links to the Internet East Asian History Sourcebook, which has many' pre-twentieth­century items. There are also a large number of documents from the twentieth century, such as those about Eas...