Given COVID-19, I hope and pray that readers and their families are safe in every respect. This issue’s special section is “Asian Philosophies and Religions.” In light of the tumultuous last few months, many educators and their students might be particularly interested in this issue’s content. On a more positive note, our spring issue marks the 25th anniversary of EAA’s inaugural issue!
Korea is the focus of the first two feature articles: Don Baker’s “Religious Diversity in Korea,” and Franklin D. Rausch and Haeseong Park’s “Christianity in Korea.” The title of each article illustrates the—perhaps surprising to many—variety of spiritual practice and faiths in South Korea. Mark Dennis and Andrew O. Fort’s “Teaching Students about Mindfulness and Modern Life,” as indicated by their title, offers practical teaching applications and a cogent case that understanding contemplative theory and practice should be an integral part of liberal education. Natasha Heller’s “Using Mazu to Teach Key Elements of Chinese Religions” assists survey level-instructors and students in understanding that traditional Chinese religious practice is broader than commonly assumed in her overview of a goddess particularly venerated in Taiwan and worshiped in parts of southern China and Việt Nam as well.
Ze-Li Dou’s “World on 361 Points: Understanding Chinese Culture via the Board Game Go” focuses on this legendary but still contemporary East Asian game’s association with Confucianism and traditional Chinese philosophy, history, and literature. Elena Vishnevskaya’s “The Early Modern Jesuit Mission to China: A Marriage of Faith and Culture” is an excellent overview of the complex and rich interactions between representatives of Catholicism’s most well-educated religious order and their Imperial Court, Confucian-educated literati counterparts.
South Asian religion and politics, and religious syncretic traditions, are major themes, respectively, of the final two feature articles. Arvind Sharma’s “On the Difference Between Hinduism and Hindutva” presents a clear and vivid contrast between secular liberal Hindus and their more sectarian conservative Hindu cultural opponents. Nita Verma Prasad in “Religion in History: Manjhan’s Madhumalati and the Construction of Indo–Islam” describes how she uses this sixteenth-century Indian Sufi romance in history classes to teach students about the historic blurring of lines between Hindu and Sufi traditions, and, at times, the relatively high toleration Hindus and Muslims exhibited toward each other in the past.
The Resources section contains thematic-related content as well. Ashton Ng’s essay, “The Busy Teacher’s Handbook to Teaching the Zhuangzi,” is a well-done preview of the Daoist classic, and the author deftly uses primary source excerpts to assist in explaining critical themes in the work. A book review essay also appears of a primary source-based account of two Christian missionaries’ experiences in Meiji Japan. Our online supplements include the Facts About Asia column “Religious Freedom in Asia,” and supplemental material for both the feature “Teaching Students about Mindfulness and Modern Life” and the Experiential Learning column in this issue.
Nonthematic offerings in the Resources section include an Experiential Learning column on a Southeast Asia summer study tour, a teaching resource essay on teaching colonial India with the novel Six Acres and a Third, a book essay review of EAA editorial board member Michael Seth’s new introductory overview of the Koreas, and a review of a new comprehensive history of Japanese art textbook.
The fall 2020 EAA special section is “Teaching Asia’s Giants: China,” and the winter 2020 special section is “Teaching Asia’s Giants: India.” The deadline for initial receipt of manuscripts for the latter issue is August 1, 2020. November 30, 2020, is the deadline for initial receipt of manuscripts for the spring 2021 special section, “Asia’s Environments: National, Regional, and Global Perspectives.” Nonthematic manuscripts are also considered for each issue. For information on three additional planned special sections, as well as author guidelines, please visit the EAA website: https://www.asianstudies.org/publications/eaa/.
Please encourage friends and colleagues who prefer EAA print copies to subscribe, or to purchase multiple discounted copies of back issues at our low rates by visiting the EAA website.
Last but certainly not least, if for some reason you have been out of touch regarding EAA, our much-improved website is now available. The new EAA site features a large number of searchable functions, short previews of each of the over 1,500 archived articles, and more extensive features that highlight both EAA news and other Asia-related opportunities, resources, and programs. It is particularly important that readers check the EAA News section of the website. Even before this issue is mailed to readers, the chances are virtually certain EAA readers will learn specific information about a collaborative publication that should be digitally available and highly useful in fall 2020 classes. Please spend some extensive time exploring the entire site and continue to support EAA through your subscriptions and by informing your colleagues and students about the print and online versions of EAA.
Editor: Education About Asia