Education About Asia: Online Archives

Spotlight on Southeast Asia: Connections and Cultures

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Whether cast as the scene of American defeat in the Vietnam War, an exotic crossroads of traditions and world cultures, or as the latest front in the War on Terrorism, Southeast Asia presents endless possibilities for the high school classroom. Aside from its compelling history, varied geography, and the otherworldly variety and vibrancy of its cultural landscape, the cultural, economic, and political dynamism of the region lends itself easily to any discussion of pertinent world issues like globalization, international trade, environmentalism, ethnic violence, and terrorism. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, youth in high schools across America are yearning for tools that enable them to place the heady events of the past three years into a context they can understand. Southeast Asia as a subject, through its diversity of peoples, cultures, religions, and experiences, offers both teacher and student an array of opportunities to identify, discuss, contextualize, and gain an understanding of important global issues while learning about and making connections with fascinating places few Americans know anything about