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Asian Cultural Traditions

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After nearly two decades of research on Asia, I was surprised to find a book that offered a truly new approach to teaching Asia: Carolyn Brown Heinz’s Asian Cultural Traditions.  While there are many excellent books on individual Asian countries, books that treat all of Asia are relatively uncommon. This is understandable since covering all of Asia in a single book is a daunting task
given Asia’s diversity. Various authors cope with this by simplistic overviews or leaving large gaps by focusing on aspects of Asia familiar to them. While these are useful and informative, I have been vaguely dissatisfied—particularly for teaching—because the end result has been jumbled. Brown avoids the fallacy of finding a unity in Asia (or “The Orient”) that does not exist, as many writers did in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.