Education About Asia: Online Archives

Asia for Educators (AFE) Web site

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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 lead to ambivalent or misinformed conclusions. Moreover, the easy availability of primary source materials used to fuel research do not always serve the needs of educators, who may be lecturing on certain matters outside their areas of expertise, and therefore would benefit from the guidance and discernment of colleagues working in these other fields. As a promising solution to online “information overload” in Asian Studies, I would offer Columbia University’s Web site Asia for Educators (AFE), which draws on the expertise of researchers from various fields of Asian studies to provide detailed evidence and context for a wide range of topics covered in classrooms from secondary through post-graduate levels of instruction.