As a teenager, I was interested in lists of the top ten most popular songs and for most of my life, various top ten lists of books have always garnered my attention. Having a top ten “most viewed” EAA archived articles list is a never-ending source of personal interest. Digest readers are cordially invited to check out our “most viewed” EAA archives list (see the right side of the main EAA archives page) and speculate on what trends our list might indicate. Your feedback is of great interest to EAA and our AAS colleagues who work on the journal.
Confucius and Socrates might appreciate a definition of “most viewed” before reading what follows: the EAA “most viewed” list indicates the top ten most viewed articles in a given week. Several articles have remained high on the list for long periods of time, but there is enough movement up, down, or off the list that checking it regularly remains interesting. The articles below from our top ten most viewed rankings were taken on August 26th, 2022. It might be more interesting for some readers to ignore my annotations, visit the “most viewed” list, make their own speculations, and compare and contrast them with mine.
1. If EAA articles ever become a Pulitzer Prize category, Dana Herrera’s “The Philippines: An Overview of the Colonial Era” (volume 20, number 1, spring 2015) would be a winner for the past three years despite occasionally being replaced in the top slot. Why? The article is succinct, but well written, and the illustrations are superb. The author has an excellent “hook” and informative breadth in the essay. In teaching about the late-nineteenth century US debate about visibly becoming an imperial nation, especially in our turbulent times, it is perhaps instructive to make students aware that in February 1899, the US Senate approved the Treaty of Paris by one vote.
2. Given the earlier AP news, it is probably no surprise to readers that Nimish Adhia’s “The History of Economic Development in India since Independence”(volume 20, number 3, winter 2015) ranks so highly on the list. Readers can now use the aforementioned AP story and Nimish’s article in their courses. Nimish, and virtually all authors who make the most viewed list, craft prose that instructors and many students can clearly understand.
3. James Matray in “The Korean War 101: Causes, Course, and Conclusion of the Conflict” (volume 17, number 3, winter 2012) combines diplomatic and military history that earns the title he selected for the article. His essay is both informative and, in my opinion, the Cold War diplomatic history is provocative enough that counter arguments can be introduced to students. The military history is the kind of content that is often neglected, but sorely needed for understanding of national and world events.
4. In an era where good Indian food is available at Walmart, not to mention Indian restaurants in numerous nations, anthropologist Tulasi Srinivas in “Exploring Indian Culture through Food” (volume 16, number 3, winter 2011) both writes well about the cultural impact of Indian food and potentially motivates some readers unfamiliar with Indian food to embark on a new culinary adventure. The article includes a sidebar recipe for Tandoori Chicken.
5. Damon Woods in “A Brief Essay on my Key Issues Book: The Philippines: From Earliest Times to the Present” (volume 22, number 2, fall 2017) accurately describes what he achieves in his Key Issues in Asian Studies volume: an introduction to the history of the Philippines that transcends presenting Filipinos or their ancestors as simply living on an isolated archipelago. When contact occurred with major foreign powers, the indigenous cultural vibrancy existing in the archipelago was modified, but resistant to erasure.
6. Abhijit Roy in “The Middle Class in India: From 1947 to the Present and Beyond” (volume 23, number 1, spring 2018) makes an evidential case for the importance of India’s middle class. The essay complements Adhia’s article through providing a historical and relatively recent depiction of the middle class. The author makes easily understood projections of the future of the middle class in India in a national and international context. Instructors and/or students might be interested in using the same sources the author incorporated into the 2018 article and compare recent pandemic-fueled events that might have changed earlier trends.
7. In the seven years since it first appeared, Yuen Ting Lee’s essay “Wu Zhao: Ruler of Tang Dynasty China” (volume 20, number 2, fall 2015) has disappeared from the most viewed list on several occasions but has enjoyed a recent resurgence. Readers get both a realistic story of China’s only female emperor and a glimpse of her apparent popularity, in part due to controversies that exist about her in Chinese popular culture.
8. Coauthors Jimin Kim, Beverly Milner (Lee) Bisland, and Sunghee Shin in their article “Teaching about the Comfort Women during World War II and the Use of Personal Stories of the Victims” (volume 24, number 3, winter 2019) include elements that other authors writing about the same topic in other publications don’t often incorporate into their work: the use of primary sources including personal accounts and imperial Japanese army regulations; the experiences of comfort women, some of whom were not Korean, in several countries; and a more international account of comfort women’s efforts to receive economic compensation and public recognition of their exploitation.
9. Indian Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party, after taking power, has significantly increased discrimination against Muslims and Indian Christians. Arvind Sharma’s “On the Difference Between Hinduism and Hindutva” (volume 25, number 1, spring 2020) is an excellent overview of the Indian nationalist philosophy Hindutva represented by the BJP and what sets it apart from Hinduism.
10. Clayton Brown’s “China’s Great Leap Forward” (volume 17, number 3, winter 2012) in my opinion is the most succinct and accurate student-friendly essay I’ve ever read that assists students in understanding why in a competitive field, “The Great Helmsman” holds the twentieth century world record for being responsible for the deaths of the largest number of citizens in peace time.*
*Note, in a twenty-four hour period, another consistently high ranking article on India that debunks student notions that Indian resistance to the British Raj was exclusively non-violent, displaced Brown’s article; General speculation: for decades in the US, few India-related pedagogical materials were available for educators in comparison to East Asian teaching resources. EAA might be, for the past several years, contributing towards narrowing the aforementioned gap.
Other Teaching Resources
This beautifully-written volume is most probably the best introduction to Indonesia virtually all Digest readers have never read. Many of you have library budgets and a paperback copy of the volume is US $15.00. One excerpt about this volume from the Editor’s Introduction:
This volume is first and foremost a good story about the peoples of what is now Indonesia from its earliest times until the present.
I hope many Digest readers will invest this modest amount to purchase Kathleen’s volume in hopes that they or their students can better understand the story of the now fourth-most populated nation in the world.