Education About Asia: Online Archives

Editor’s Message

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I hope many readers are enjoying the end of spring terms. The theme of this issue is part two of the special section “Asia in World History: Comparisons, Connections, and Conflicts” and authors of thematic articles and essays address a variety of topics that chronologically range from the beginning of the sixteenth century CE to the present. Zhuqing Li in “Sisters and Enemies: A True Story of Two Sisters” offers a compelling tale about two of the author’s aunts from an educated family who become estranged from each other at the end of the Chinese Civil War: one sister remaining in the PRC and the other sister re-locating to Taiwan. The author’s essay includes discussion questions that personalize this period of history for students. The article also contains information about the author’s recently-published book on her two aunts. Elena Vishnevskaya in “Knocking on China’s Door: The First Protestant Mission” also makes the complex factors surrounding the advent of Protestant missions to China early in the nineteenth century personal for readers by chronicling Robert Morrison’s determination, his deep immersion in learning Chinese language and culture, and his frustrations with British and Chinese officials.

The next two articles focus upon Japan. Although Peter Frost’s “Japan’s Impact on World History” is a more general account of Japan’s imperial period beginning with Japan’s acquisition of colonies and ending with Japan’s impressive post World War II economic resurgence, EAA readers familiar with Professor Emeritus Frost’s prose style know that his articles are substantive yet highly accessible to educated laypeople and students. Viktor Shmagin in “Japan Meets Russia,” recounts the beginning of Japan and Russia’s awareness of each other’s existence, their competition for national self-interest advantages that most of the time involved relations, overtures, and attempted domination of the Ainu people who inhabited areas of what are now Hokkaidō and Northern Japan. It is noteworthy that each of the first four articles provides good context for better understanding Asia in contemporary geopolitics.

Benita Stambler in “The ‘First Daughter’ in Asia: Alice Roosevelt’s 1905 Trip,” does a superb job in an essay substantially enhanced by excellent photographs that tells the story of twenty-one-year-old Alice Longworth Roosevelt. Alice was already an American celebrity somewhat to the consternation of her father, Theodore Roosevelt. Stambler’s essay also describes crucial meetings in Japan, Korea, and the Philippines that Alice attended, as well as her reactions to individuals and her perceptions of the cultures and political reactions the delegation encountered. Trust the author’s assertion about this trip: “Adventure, romance and royalty, political intrigue. The 1905 diplomatic mission undertaken by Alice Roosevelt and others through Asia had it all, the uniquely personal combined with significant events on the world stage.”

The final three features are dissimilar to the first set of articles but each lives up the criteria for the special section in useful ways that should motivate teachers and students: Literature Professor Susan Spencer in “Variolation to Vaccine: Smallpox Inoculation Travels East to West and Back Again,” traces the smallpox inoculation trials, travails, and social effects in both Asia and the West, and does a nifty job of stimulating student discussion of various issues many have already considered in lieu of recent worldwide and domestic events. Fashion and clothing have substantial global impact and Professor Gavin James Campbell’s tale,“Kimono: The Global Adventures of a Fashion Icon,” traces the domestic origins of the Kimono and its extensive travels beginning with Europe in the seventeenth century, reaching colonial Harvard college in the eighteenth century, and re-appearing in multiple forms in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Campbell’s excellent prose on entrepreneurs, kimono enthusiasts, and the continued appeal of fashion and comfort is enhanced by a diverse set of images. Edward O’Mahony’s “Opposition To Chinese Exclusion (1850–1902)” is a balanced, content-rich, and vivid account (also enhanced with political cartoons, and photographs), of the special interest groups, American and Chinese, who defended Chinese immigrants—particularly on the West Coast where anti-Chinese sentiment was most volatile.

In Resources, teaching about the sixteenth century to the present (with the exception of one nonthematic online supplement essay) is the focus of the entire section. The Facts About Asia column “EAA Archival Recommendations: Asia in World History (Part 2), and Comparative Asia and the World Websites” includes multiple EAA annotated titles that expand available thematic teaching materials. Once readers receive print copies of EAA, the AAS publications manager and staff working with our office will make the entire EAA issue accessible online. When that occurs, every annotation in the column will be hot linked to maximize the convenience for interested readers who want to easily locate a recommendation in the column. History Professor Yidi Wu in “Reacting to the Past: Teaching Asian and World History through Role-Playing Games” introduces one of the most, if not the most, content-rich and interactive role-playing series ever developed and gives particular attention to the Reacting to the Past game, Japan 1941: Between Pan-Asianism and the West that the author uses on a regular basis in her survey world history classes. Peter Frost’s review of China and the Founding of the United States: The Influence of Traditional Chinese Civilization, authored by David Wang, concludes Resources. Wang’s 2011 EAA article on the American Founders and China retains its popularity in professional development institutes.

The fall 2022 special section is “Teaching Asia in Middle Schools” and preliminary prospects for manuscripts indicate several submissions will be devoted to award-winning “young adult” (AKA middle school) book titles and how to use them in classrooms. Beginning with winter 2022, four consecutive issues will be non-thematic. After years of building up thematic resources, the switch to non-thematic issues is an exciting venture that promises more breadth while at the same time enabling readers to add new thematic-related material to shore up favorite special sections. The deadline for initial receipt of manuscripts for the first non-thematic issue is August 1st, 2022.

Please encourage friends and colleagues who prefer EAA print copies to subscribe at our low rates by visiting the EAA website. If you have not already done so, visit the EAA website for access to over 1,500 archived articles and more extensive features that highlight both EAA news and other Asia-related opportunities, resources, and programs. Improvements are underway to make the EAA online archives substantially more accessible for users and visitors should notice enhanced features in the archive search functions as well as more available articles in full-text HTML before fall.

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Lucien Ellington
Editor: Education About Asia

Send formal EAA submissions to:
Jeffrey Melnik
Managing Editor, Education About Asia
307 Hunter Hall, Dept. 2222
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: (423) 425-2118
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(Please also copy the editor, Lucien Ellington, at