Education About Asia: Online Archives

Spotlight on Inner Asia: The Bizarre Bazaar

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Teacher & Student Resource Guide

HAZEL SARA GREENBERG, PROJECT DIRECTOR

NADYA TKACHENKO, PROJECT COORDINATOR

NEW YORK: THE AMERICAN FORUM FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION, 2001

FUNDED BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, TITLE VI GRANT

283 PAGES

LOOSE-LEAF BINDER. ISBN: 0-944675-68-9

This valuable new resource covers the geography, history, and cultures of Western China, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Central Asia, Northern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, a bit of the Caucasus, and the Caspian Basin. It is aimed primarily at high school social studies classes, but middle school teachers will also find it useful.

In the introduction, the editors lay out a set of questions to consider about the part of Asia that stretches between today’s Turkey and China: Where are the boundaries of this region? What should the region be called? Why have so many countries formed there? Who created them? Why have they been overrun by so many different civilizations? The image of the bazaar is explored as a way of thinking about the great diversity and interdependency of the peoples of Inner Asia.

The bulk of the guide consists of dozens of readings selected through consultation with senior scholars and arranged in four categories: geography, movement and exchange across the region, the Mongol empire, and Inner Asia in the contemporary world order. These readings, excerpted from other publications, are varied and interesting. They come from the pens of travelers, historians, archaeologists, embassy personnel, and pilgrims. In addition to history and geography, topics include how cultural heritage was transmitted via architecture, weaving designs, and oral traditions, as well as the development of philosophy, astronomy, math, medicine, and other sciences. The translations are often recent and well done. Useful related Web sites are noted in many instances.