Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Getting the Foundations Right When Teaching Asian Religions

For teachers seeking resources to instill greater global literacy on world religions, it is the best of times and the worst of times. Cultural diversity in American schools is increasing, and the number of Hindu temples, mosques, and Buddhist meditation centers is rising. Because of popular media, references to Hindu gods, Daoist geomancy, or Buddhist karma teachings no longer seem exotic. Yet much information about Asian religions, whether promulgated by mass media or local practitioners, can b...

Feature Article

Neighborhood Shinto: Tokyo’s Ana-Hachiman Shrine

One of the remarkable traits of the Japanese today is, in a  way similar to many Europeans, they tend to identify themselves as non-religious. This does not mean, of course, that they don’t have strongly held values that guide their lives and have been transmitted through tradition, families, and schools. It does mean, however, that a majority of the Japanese population has only weak ties to religious institutions.    ...

Feature Article

Teaching Buddhism from a Comparative Perspective

Coverage of Buddhism in public high schools is typically sporadic, since religion is seldom a part of the standard curriculum, and when it is taught, it is usually in the context of social studies or world history classes. The situation is somewhat different in colleges and universities, because many of these institutions have a historical or ongoing connection with Christian religious denominations. Courses in religion, including some coverage of Buddhism, often form part of a core curriculum o...

Feature Article

Teaching East Asian Religions through Literature and Film

This essay argues that texts (including films) ordinarily regarded  as “secular”—as fiction rather than “scripture”—have functioned as sacred texts in traditional East Asian cultures, and to some extent, still do today. While it is true that Chinese, Korean, and Japanese authors and film makers have brought their own individual experiences and creative visions to their work, it is also true the world over that “no important work can ever be the expression of a purely individual ex...

Feature Article

Taijiquan: Teaching Daoism through Experiential Arts Learning

In this article, I use the martial art of taijiquan as a case study culturally, historically, and experientially situating Chinese and Western conceptions of Daoism. However, as I will elaborate in my conclusion, the art in question might just as well have been  calligraphy, painting, drama, or poetry. The choice of the particular artistic experience on which to focus is very much dependent on the artistic skillset accessible to particular instructors, whether these are skills the instructors t...

Feature Article

Water, Wood, and Women: The Persistence of Ancient Traditions in Modern India

In the state of Bengal, in northeastern India, the annual September October harvest and fertility festival called Durga Pūjā (“offering to Durga”) generates a massive half-year effort of preparation for its nine nights (Navaratri) of celebrations. Durga is a three-eyed, ten armed, buffalo-demon destroying Hindu warrior goddess......

Feature Article

Teaching Modern Hinduism

Textbooks dealing with Asian religions tend to make short work of Modern Hinduism. In doing so, they reflect the demands of an academic market that places a premium on conciseness. When a teacher is in the awkward position of having to introduce students to the dizzying array of Hindu traditions in a brief amount of time, something has to give. What usually gives in discussions of Hinduism is the modern period. Students are therefore denied a complete picture of the tradition....

Feature Article

A Short Survey of the Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China

Chinese medicine (CM), known as traditional Chinese medicine or TCM in the West, is not only an integral part of the Chinese national healthcare systems, but it is also one of the most popular complementary and alternative medicines in the world. The important role that CM plays in the Chinese healthcare systems, and in promoting global medical pluralism, has been attributed to its unique approach toward understanding diseases and the methods used to treat them. Since California became the firs...

Columns, EAA Interview

Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization: A Brief Interview with William M. Tsutsui

William M. Tsutsui is Professor of History and Dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Previously he taught for seventeen years at the University of Kansas. He is the author or editor of six books, including Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century Japan (Princeton University Press, 1998) and Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). Professor Tsutsui’s most recent ...

Columns, Teaching Resources Essay

Students Interrogate Buddhism: Using the Reader Response Technique to Enhance Classroom Interaction

Good teachers know that feedback to students is essential to learning. Often overlooked, however, is feedback to instructors, which is indispensable for quality teaching. And good teaching often takes place without feedback to instructors. But, excellent, highly involved teachers benefit from knowing what is on students’ minds, because this is the “real curriculum.” This is what motivates and ultimately satisfies them. When faculty know what interests their students, they are far more like...

Columns, Teaching Resources Essay

Contesting Twentieth-Century China: A Simulation

In teaching this history for years, most recently in a course entitled, “China in War and Revolution, 1911–1949,” the central narrative has always been the Chinese revolution. There were many sub-plots of this story: Chinese intellectuals’ turn from liberalism to Marxism after the May Fourth Movement, the Communist-Nationalist United Front of the 1920s and its collapse after the death of Sun Yat-sen, the progress made under Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist rule during the Nanjing Decade (...

Columns, Teaching Resources Essay

East-West Center Education Programs: Promoting Asian Studies and Cultivating Collaboration between the United States and the Asia Pacific Region

Established by the US Congress in 1960, the East-West Center was founded with the mission to contribute to a peaceful, prosperous, and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education, and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the region. This vision has guided the Center over its fifty year history, and its Asia Pacific Education Program for Schools (AsiaPacificEd) and the Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) have continued to fulfill...

Columns, Curriculum Materials Review

Asia for Educators (AFE) Web site

Reviewed by James A. Anderson With the recent proliferation of Web-based secondary materials and primary source databases pertaining to Asian Studies, both researchers and instructors are now freer than ever to seek out information online. But, do these resources alone make one a more savvy consumer of this cornucopia of information on Asia? I would suggest that the opposite may be the case, particularly when we ask our students to do the searching. Raw data without contextual information can l...

Book Review, Columns

Shots in the Dark: Japan, Zen, and the West

Shoji Yamada’s Shots in the Dark is a smart book that offers a new perspective on the thriving project of unmasking false representations of Zen culture. A well-crafted work of clarity and logic, Shots challenges the common notion of Zen-as-the-embodiment-ofJapanese essence by historically deconstructing two of Zen’s most potent international emblems. The first of these is the long-accepted sagacity of Eugen Herrigel, author of Zen in the Art of Archery, the other is the aesthetic perfection...

Book Review, Columns

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan, and Pakistan

Stones into Schools chronicles Greg Mortenson’s journey into the most remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan to promote peace by building schools. This book, unlike Three Cups of Tea, is written in first person point of view which allows readers to fully enter Mortenson’s thoughts as he grapples with his role not only as he builds schools, focusing on girls’ education, but as he attracts rock-star crowds as the spokesperson for the CentralAsia Institute (CAI). In the beginning of the b...

Columns, Film Review Essay

The Story of India

WRITTEN AND PRESENTED BY MICHAEL WOOD DIRECTED BY JEREMY JEFF MAYA VISIONS INTERNATIONAL, 2009 360 MINUTES ON 2 DISCS, DVD Reviewed by Marc Jason Gilbert For almost two decades, celebrity anthropologist Michael Wood has developed lavishly produced video documentaries exploring the world’s civilizations. In each, the slender, ebullient Wood, rarely off center screen, climbs ruins, rides trains, and sails the seas while attempting to provide sweeping, thematically comprehensive overviews ba...

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