Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Online Supplement

Student Comments and Blogs from “Encompass Southeast Asia: A Unique Experiential Learning Opportunity through the University of Richmond”

Thai and/or Cambodian culture, or politics, or social issues. This trip helped me to understand how Cambodia’s history affects modern-day society. The societal upheaval caused by both colonization, the Pol Pot regime, and the genocide led to poverty and the loss of millions of lives. I think these events are connected to the problem of modern-day slavery, as we learned that people in difficult financial situations are at a higher risk of accepting dangerous work to survive. In other words, th...

Online Supplement

Facts About Asia: Religious Freedom in Asia

Article 18 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights is perhaps the strongest international endorsement of Religious Freedom ever written: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” It is particularly imperative in this special sec...

Book Review, Resources

The History of Art in Japan

Nobuo Tsuji’s History of Art in Japan was originally published by the University of Tokyo Press in 2005 and is now available in English translation. The book covers Japan’s art history from the ancient Jōmon Era all the way to the rise of manga and anime in the twentieth century. Included is a list of the main historical eras in both Romanization and Japanese; a map of archaeological sites; a timeline for Japan, Korea, and China; long lists of scholarly English-languages sources on Japanese...

Book Review Essay, Resources

A Brief History of Korea: Isolation, War, Despotism, and Revival: The Fascinating Story of a Resilient but Divided People

Michael Seth of James Madison University has a great deal of experience writing textbooks. His A Concise History of Korea: From the Neolithic to the Nineteenth Century was first published in 2006. It was revised and broken into two volumes: A Concise History of Modern Korea: From the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present (2009) and A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present (2010). Those volumes, published by Rowman & Littlefield, are still in print. In addition, Seth recently published ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

A Christian in the Land of the Gods: Journey of Faith In Japan

Joanna Reed Shelton’s recent book, A Christian in the Land of the Gods, is a beautifully written biography of her great-grandfather, the Reverend Thomas Theron Alexander (1850–1902), and her great-grandmother, Emma Edwina Alexander (1855–1937), who served as Presbyterian missionaries and teachers in Japan from 1877 to 1902. The value of this work is enhanced by the author’s in-depth analysis of the great difficulties foreign missionaries and teachers had in introducing Christianity into ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching about the Colonial India State and Society with Six Acres and a Third

Six Acres and a Third is an English translation of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s 1902 Odia novel Chha Mana Atha Guntha, a humorous satire set in early nineteenth-century British India. It tells the story of an exploitative moneylender called Ramachandra Mangaraj, who uses the colonial legal system to usurp the properties of people in his rural community, before being ruined by it himself.

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Busy Teacher’s Handbook to Teaching the Zhuangzi

The Zhuangzi ranks amongst the greatest Chinese literary masterpieces. Written in China’s Warring States period (475–221 BCE), its vivid allegories have profoundly influenced the most preeminent of Chinese thinkers for over two millennia. In this essay, I present a sample of the Zhuangzi’s key ideas on life and death, language and knowledge, and time and the universe that will interest the twenty-first century student. I will also provide the classical allegories behind these learning poin...

Asia: Experiential Learning, Columns, Resources

Asia: Experiential Learning — Guest Editor, Tommy Lamont: Encompass Southeast Asia: A Unique Experiential Learning Opportunity through the University of Richmond

The Office of International Education (OIE) at the University of Richmond (UR) developed Encompass Southeast Asia (Encompass SEA) as part of a pilot program to engage students who have not historically participated in study abroad opportunities at UR and its partner institutions. Participants included students from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds, nontraditional students, students of color, athletes, males, and students with limited travel experience. Historically, such cohorts have not pa...

Feature Article

Religion in History: Manjhan’s Madhumalati and the Construction of Indo-Islam

In today’s geopolitical environment, teaching South Asia can be somewhat of a sticky wicket, particularly when it comes to religion and communalism. Each time I discuss Hindu–Muslim relations in an introductory course on South Asia or in a 100-level world history class, I run up against a whole host of preconceived notions on religion in the non-Western world. Worse yet, most students are unaware that our modern understanding of religion can’t be projected backward. However, a properly con...

Feature Article

On the Difference Between Hinduism and Hindutva

H induism is the name given to the most ancient and persistent religion on the Indian subcontinent, and Hindutva is the name by which the ideology of the Hindu right, represented by the political party Bharatiya Janata Party, or Indian People’s Party (BJP), is known. It is also the ideology of the cultural body known as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or National Volunteer Core (RSS), which was founded in 1925 and with which the BJP has strong links. Ever since the rise of the BJP on the Indian p...

Feature Article

World on 361 Points: Understanding Chinese Culture via the Board Game Go

A culture may be likened to a river. While the collective history of the culture constitutes the main course of the river and defines its general direction, the philosophical, religious, and artistic traditions are major tributaries that greatly influence the river’s contour. And, just as the river is ever-flowing, religion and philosophy evolve, art forms develop, and history gets interpreted and reinterpreted. A comprehensive understanding of culture is as fascinating and rewarding as it is ...

Feature Article

Using Mazu to Teach Key Elements of Chinese Religions

The multiplicities of Chinese religion can be hard to grasp for North American students. For some, “Chinese religion” might bring to mind bustling temples with people offering incense to a dimly lit statue. When I teach Chinese religions, on the first day of class, I often ask students what they know about Chinese religions. There are always a few students who offer that there are three religions (Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism) in China, and sometimes a few will also offer that the Peop...

Feature Article

Teaching Students about Mindfulness and Modern Life

Are your students often distracted, seemingly addicted to their phones? Have you noticed, as suggested in the quotation above, that anxiety, depression, and other forms of mental and emotional suffering have been rising steadily among the young people you teach, especially in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, which began during final editing of this article? While perhaps a slight exaggeration, we remain convinced that some of our students would more likely give up food, sleep, and even actu...

Feature Article

Christianity in Korea

The Republic of Korea is rather unique in terms of religion as, despite a high level of ethnic homogeneity, there is no single dominant religion. And while more than half of Koreans do not profess any religion, many will still engage in religious activities, such as consulting a shaman or offering incense and food to ancestors. But among those who do have a religious affiliation, Christianity is the most popular, which is rather remarkable considering that its appearance on the peninsula was fir...

Feature Article

Religious Diversity in Korea

Since the mid-1960s, when the gates for immigrants from Asia first opened wide in North America, more and more signs in Korean have appeared on the streets of both the US and Canada. Many of those signs advertise restaurants or shops selling Korean food. However, a significant percentage of those signs appear in front of church buildings and proclaim that a Korean congregation worships within. The overwhelming majority of those congregations are Protestant. A 2012 survey by the Pew Forum on Reli...

Feature Article

The Early Modern Jesuit Mission to China: A Marriage of Faith and Culture

Comparative world and global history topics can add both vibrancy and genuine intellectual depth to secondary school and undergraduate courses. The story of how priests who embraced the concept of contemplatives in action encountered highly educated Chinese Confucian literati is an excellent example of cross-cultural contact. Even beginning to learn about these interactions should lead readers to some realization of the potential creativity, as well as intended and unintended consequences, that ...

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