Education About Asia: Online Archives

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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...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family

BY DUONG VAN MAI ELLIOTT OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1999 544 PAGES, ISBN 0-1951-3787-6, PAPERBACK EDITION, 2001 Courses on the Vietnam War and Vietnam remain popular across American campuses, but there has been a dearth of literary materials from a Vietnamese point of view, originally written in English, which can be used for such courses. As the poet William Ehrhart once observed, the Vietnam War has generated the most prolific U.S. veterans’ literature in American history, so this side of...

Resources, Web Gleanings

Web Gleanings: Afghanistan, the Taliban and Related Sites

Title: Yahoo! – Taliban & Al-Qaeda Network URL: Yahoo! UK links to articles and multimedia on the conflict in Afghanistan. Title: Afghan Network URL: A portal to information on many areas of Afghan life. Title: Afghanistan Online URL: A site published in the U.S. with links to information about Afghanistan ranging from the history to languages to sports. Title: America Responds to T...

EAA Interview

Robert Thurman: An EAA Interview

Robert A. F. Thurman has become one of America’s leading voices for the teachings of Buddhism, making these teachings more meaningful to Americans in a manner unequaled by any other Westerner. Time magazine chose him as one of its 25 most influential Americans in 1997, and described him as a “larger than life scholar-activist destined to convey the dharma, the precious teaching of Siddartha, from Asia to America.” The New York Times recently said Thurman “is considered the leading Ame...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Understanding Contemporary China

EDITED BY ROBERT E. GAMER BOULDER, COLORADO, LYNNE RIENNER PUBLISHERS, 1999 416 PAGES, ISBN 1-55587-686-2 PAPERBACK Understanding Contemporary China is an anthology of essays on contemporary China, edited by Robert E. Gamer. Consisting of 14 chapters, authored by various experts in different fields, it presents a varied and well-rounded introduction to modern China. Beginning with the geographic and historical basics (“Geographic Preface” by Stanley W. Toops and “The Historical Contex...

Teaching Resources Essay

Ten Misconceptions About India and Indic Traditions

By Arvind Sharma Different disciplines or fields of study outgrow their earlier conclusions or assumptions as new evidence accumulates, or at least they should. But any academic field of study also tends to exhibit a certain measure of inertia in abandoning earlier formulations which have been rendered questionable or obsolete with the accumulation of new data, and the application of new methods to the available data in the field. Abandoning or modifying old positions for new entails discomfo...

Book Review, Resources

Access Asia: 3 Volumes

Impressions (lower secondary) 49 PAGES, ISBN 1-86366-415-7 Reflections (middle secondary) 66 PAGES, ISBN 1-86366-416-5 Dimensions (upper secondary) 81 PAGES, ISBN 1-86366-417-3 By Anthony Bott, Lee Grafton, Carolyn Millard and Doug Trevaskis MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: CURRICULUM CORPORATION, 1998 The Access Asia project has produced a new trilogy for lower (Impressions), middle (Reflections) and upper (Dimensions) secondary school students. These volumes, dealing with Asian themes, repres...

Teaching Resources Essay

The Clandestine Curriculum: Temple of Doom in the Classroom

By Yvette C. Rosser Social studies classrooms often have a back door through which a clandestine curriculum enters with images from popular myths, media, and movies. The scholarly discourse and the learning experience intertwine with this backdoor curriculum of folklore, stereotypes, and sensational misinformation. Often the fusion between Hollywood and the syllabus is so complete that fact and fiction become confused, and ultimately, like Shakespeare or the Bible, we are unsure of the source...

Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching About India at the Secondary School Level

I have been teaching a course on Asian Studies at Evanston Township High School for the past four years. As an educator I feel fortunate to have traveled to India twice, once in 1996 as a National Education Security fellow, and again in 2001 as a Fulbright-Hays scholar. Both experiences have provided me with a foundation to begin to understand the complexity of Indian culture. In my role as an educator, I have been able to transfer my travel experience into a practical teaching curriculum to be ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

BY HERBERT P. BIX NEW YORK, HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHERS, 2000 800 PAGES, ISBN 0-060931-302, PAPERBACK As a senior high school student, I enrolled in a social studies elective on World War II. As one of only two girls in a class of twenty, I submitted to the group consensus in identifying the most significant figures in the war. Amidst the predictable favorites of high school boys—the military strategists— we also studied the three “bad guys”: Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. In the histor...

Feature Article

Traditional Female Moral Exemplars in India

By Madhu Kishwar While I was growing up I was oblivious of and somewhat indifferent to religious matters. During my childhood, secular figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru (India’s first Prime Minister) were more important as symbols of inspiration than our vast array of devis and devatas (goddesses and gods). However, our deities do not presume to punish us, or even get angry with us, if we choose to ignore them. One can be an atheist while being an integral part of the Hindu community. ...

Teaching Resources Essay

Reading Across the Curriculum: Using the Fiction of the Indian Subcontinent in Social Science Classes

There is a publishing boom in fiction by authors from the Indian subcontinent. Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi authors are being discovered almost daily. The literature from India is several thousand years old. However, following the notoriety of Salman Rushdie, the meteoric success of Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things, and the Oscar-winning screen adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, it is almost impossible to open the New York Times Book Review w...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Comparing History: Beasley Versus Schirokauer

The Japanese Experience: A Short History of Japan BY WILLIAM G. BEASLEY BERKELEY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS, 1999 XVII + 299 PAGES ISBN 0-520-22560-0 PAPERBACK A Brief History of Japanese Civilization BY CONRAD SCHIROKAUER FORT WORTH, HARCOURT, BRACE COLLEGE PUBLISHERS, 1993 XI + 323 PAGES ISBN 0-15-500282-1 PAPERBACK    ...

Essay, Resources

Map of the Populations of Japan and the United States and Commentary

By Peter Frost When Japan is compared to the United States in maps and graphs of this sort, the differences are both profound and surprising. On the profound side, Japan, with a population approaching half that of the U.S., has a total land area about the size of California. Note further that roughly 80 percent of these small islands are too mountainous to be inhabitable. Also, periodic earthquakes, typhoons, and heavy snows (in the so-called “snow country” of northwest Honshu) batter ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century

BY ROBERT W. SMITH ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA, VIA MEDIA PUBLISHING, 1999 400 PAGES. 300 ILLUSTRATIONS ISBN 1-893765-008 HARDBACK A well-written memoir is a surefire way to make Asian history and culture come alive for students who approach the subject with little or no knowledge. If the memoir can teach and contextualize as well as inspire curiosity about Asia, all the better. In Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century, Robert W. Smith not only offers us the story of one...


Asian Factoids: Winter 2001

India: Population Statistics Population: 1,029,991,145 (July 2001 est.) Age Structure: 0–14 years: 33.12% (male 175,630,537; female 165,540,672) 15–64 years: 62.2% (male 331,790,850; female 308,902,864) 65 years and over: 4.68% (male 24,439,022; female 23,687,200) (2001 est.) Population Growth Rate: 1.55% (2001 est.) Infant Mortality Rate: 63.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.) Life Expectancy at Birth: total population: 62.86 years male: 62.22 years female: 63.53 years Ethnic g...

Book Review, Resources

Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony

By H. E. Davey BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA: STONE BRIDGE PRESS, 1999 144 PAGES, ISBN 1-880656-38-8, PAPERBACK “We are witnessing the meeting of East and West. Through positive, non-biased Eastern and Western cultural exchange, a new, more balanced, more enlightened global culture may result” (preface). So begins Brush Meditation by H. E. Davey, who according to the author biography is the first non Japanese ever to receive the highest rank from a worldwide Japanese calligraphy association and ...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Democracy of the Dead: Dewey, Confucius, and the Hope for Democracy in China

BY DAVID L. HALL AND ROGER T. AMES CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, LASALLE OPEN COURT, 1999 267 PAGES ISBN 0-8126-9394-9 HARDBACK David Hall and Roger Ames rely upon a very useful and adaptable source in John Dewey in making their case for the possibility of democracy in China. From their point of view, any chance of a democratic China depends upon China’s reaffirmation of Confucian philosophy, especially as outlined by Confucius himself in the Analects, and the engagement with Western social thinkin...

EAA Interview, Resources

An Interview with Buchanan Prize Winner Yong Jin Choi

This is our fifth consecutive interview with a winner of the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. The Association for Asian Studies awards the prize annually for the development of outstanding curriculum materials on Asia. The 2001 winner was Yong Jin Choi, Director of Korean Studies for the Korea Society. She won the award for developing the 1–12 Curriculum Package that aids teachers in teaching about Korea....

Teaching Resources Essay

Options for Teaching Gandhi and King

By Fritz Blackwell Asia/History 470—Gandhi, India and the United States— is a transformation of a 300- level course called Twentieth-Century India. Each course sustained its existence by meeting general requirements for students at Washington State University who were not majoring in history. In the earlier course students showed little interest in India since independence, especially in the politics. This was due in part to the drama of the independence movement, and with events thereaft...