Editor’s note: Key Issues in Asian Studies (KIAS) is a series of booklets engaging major cultural and historical themes in the Asian experience. KIAS booklets serve as vital educational materials that are both accessible and affordable for classroom use. This series is particularly intended for teachers and undergraduates at two- and four-year colleges as well as high school students and secondary school teachers engaged in teaching Asian studies in a comparative framework. What follows are brief descriptive author essays of the three new KIAS booklets, Traditional China in Asian and World History, Korea in World History, and Zen Past and Present. For further information or to order copies of “Key Issues” booklets, please visit www.asian-studies.org/publications/KIAS.htm.
Traditional China in Asian and World History
By Tansen Sen and Victor H. Mair
Traditional China in Asian and World History demonstrates the importance of cross-cultural interactions in shaping Chinese history from the earliest times to the middle of the fifteenth century. Our aim in writing this book is to show how the cross-cultural linkages established by traders, missionaries, immigrants, military, and diplomatic missions and travelers transformed Chinese society in fundamental ways. The work focuses on five aspects of traditional China’s interactions with the neighboring societies and foreign polities.
Korea in World History
By Donald N. Clark
Korea in World History introduces the Korean people and the circumstances that have shaped their nation. The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is a world economic power. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is widely regarded as a failed socialist state and a threat to its neighbors. Koreans overseas constitute significant emigré communities that contribute to their new homelands, including the United States.The world needs to know Korea better, and this brief book makes it accessible to general readers.
Zen Past and Present
By Eric Cunningham
Zen is one of those topics that manages to capture the fascination of everybody who hears about it, yet, in my experience, few people outside the worlds of Japanese or religious studies have a particularly solid grasp on what it actually means. When I tell people my area of specialty, they usually respond by telling me how interesting they think Zen is—then they follow up by asking “what exactly is Zen?” The problem with a question like this is that—Zen being as “beyond words and description” as it is—there is no good or easy answer to it. Zen Past and Presentis specifically designed to answer the question “What is Zen” as concisely as possible while at the same time recognizing the complexity and richness that the term Zen connotes.