WELCOME to the premier issue of Education About Asia, a journal exclusively devoted to teaching and the newest publication of the Association for Asian Studies. We hope that the journal will both enhance student understanding of Asia and build bridges between colleges, universities, and schools. Our feature articles in this issue are intended to provide professors and secondary teachers with useful information they can incorporate into their classrooms and to stimulate thinking about major Asia-related curricular issues. Our resources section, which we consider to be every bit as important as feature articles, includes reviews of books, film, and software applicable to the classroom, as well as essay that either describe important educational programs or address novel approaches to classroom instruction.
We view the creation of a first-rate journal to be an evolving process. Since the large majority of Association for Asian Studies members teach in colleges and universities, our first issue contains substantial post-secondary material. At the same time, it is hoped that Education About Asia will serve as a tool to entice more school teachers to incorporate Asia-related material into their classrooms. Many of the articles in the first issue were selected for publication because they should be useful to high school teachers. Eventually, we hope to publish articles for teachers at all levels. In order to enable us to achieve this goal, we invite elementary, secondary, and community college teachers, as well as college professors, to submit articles, serve as referees, and help us plan future issues. We also hope that teachers will either subscribe to Education About Asia or become full-fledged members of AAS and receive the journal as part of their annual dues. Since we already count three current and seven former school teachers on our editorial board, we feel we are beginning to build connections between educational institutions that are so desperately needed in this country. Education About Asia will be published two times a year, with our next issue appearing in August 1996. We look forward to hearing from you.
IN THIS ISSUE
South Asia is often ignored in classrooms and the subject of many mistaken stereotypes on the part of Americans. Vidya Dehejia in Enduring Stereotypes About India: All Indian Art is Religious examines this popular misconception. Using an introductory course on South Asian religions as medium, Thomas Coburn addresses the issue of how to teach traditional works while leaving room for students to consider postmodernist issues in Cultural Memory and Postmodernism: A Pedagogical Note.
The recent publication of high school American and World History Standards has generated tremendous controversy. Jean Johnson, a former high school world history teacher who helped develop the national standards in her discipline, analyzes their implications for Asia in Standards for Mainstreaming Asia. Incidentally, despite the Federal Government’s mixed messages about the World History Standards after their publication, many high school teachers throughout the country are now using the Standards in their classrooms. Watch for more on high school teacher reactions to the Standards in our next issue. Theodore de Bary, a former AAS President and a pioneer in efforts to integrate Asia into the core undergraduate curriculum, provides his views on how best to achieve this goal in Asia in the Core Curriculum.
Recently, trade has been the most controversial contemporary issue in the U.S.-Japan relations, while the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings has again brought this issue widespread public attention. In Teaching the Trade War, Education About Asia editors interview Ellen Frost, former assistant to U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Mickey Kantor, and economist Kiyoshi Kawahito on the most controversial aspects of U.S.-Japan trade. In Hiroshima, HIROSHIMA, “Hiroshima,” Hiroshima – The Event and its Facets, Richard Minear provides an excellent bibliographical essay on the bombings. Robert David Johnson examines how professors and teachers might bridge the gap between public perception and scholarship about the atomic bombings in Historical Inquiry and the Public Memory.
In the introductory resources essay, high school teacher Diana Wood describes her efforts to expand Chinese studies in an independent secondary school. Perhaps the organization that is most positively affecting collegiate teaching about Asia at this time is AsiaNetwork, which constitutes the subject of Marianna McJimsey’s essay. Elaine Vukov examines museums as vehicles to teach school students about Asia in an interview with Leslie Bedford, the creator of an outstanding Boston Children’s Museum exhibit on Japan. Earlham College has provided video materials on Japan for high school and college/university teachers for some time, and EAA Senior Advisory Board member Jackson Bailey provides a very useful description of Earlham’s Center for Educational Media.
In addition to the above essays, Steve Leibo and Frank Conlon, Judith Ames, Jason Lewis, and Roland Higgins contribute four reviews of computer-related resources for teaching about Asia. GaryDeCoker and Murray Rubinstein each review two anthologies specifically designed for classroom instruction. D.E. Perushek, Cindy Hing Yuk-Wong, David Desser, and James Gillan also contribute four excellent reviews of recent films about Asia suitable for classroom use.
The birth of a publication such as Education About Asia is impossible without the hard work of many people. The Staff and Board of Directors of the Association for Asian Studies, the Board of Editors, the Senior Advisory Board, the authors and referees for our premier issue, and last but not least, administrators, colleagues, and staff at my university provided invaluable help to me in my work.
The editor would especially like to thank Judith Ames for her substantial work as copy editor of this issue. Special thanks also to Willa Davis-Held.
Thank you all so much for your great work!