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July 2018 AAS Member News & Notes

Congratulations to the AAS Members who have been awarded fellowships by the American Council of Learned Societies! The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies Todd Klaiman (Chinese University of Hong Kong), “Translocal Chinese Religiosity in Southeast Asia: Kek Lok Monastery and the Rise of Chinese Monastic Buddhism in Penang, 1887-1987” Tony Robert Scott (University of Toronto), “The Milindapañha-aṭṭhakathā: Nonnormative Pali, Psychic Powers, and Control of the Canon in Mid-Twentieth-Century Burma” The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies Abhishek S. Amar (Hamilton College), “Material Buddhism: Archaeology, Context, and Religious Change in Bodhgaya” Shawn Frederick McHale (The George Washington University), “Crossing the Mahayana-Theravada Frontier: Vietnamese-Khmer Relations and the Vietnamese Search for ‘Original’ Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia, 1930-1989&rdqu ...

Isn’t That Just Ancient History?

By Daniel Knorr Recently, the College Board made news for announcing changes to the scope of Advanced Placement (AP) World History. From now on, the AP exam will cover only the period after 1450 CE. High schools could still choose to offer an additional course covering world history before 1450—making it a two-year sequence—but only material from the later time period will appear on the exam. The main goal, according to the College Board, is to bring the scope of the exam more in line with what can be covered in a single college course. A large number of educators have criticized the decision, leading the College Board to say that they will reconsider and issue a final decision in July. The main focus of this criticism has been how shifting the timeline of the course will affect teaching about the Americas, Africa, and Asia. With the course starting in 1450, students would learn about many areas only in the context of European colonialism, if at all. To be fair to the College Board, s ...

AAS Member Spotlight: Thomas Patton

Thomas Patton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian and International Studies, and Associate Director of the Southeast Asia Research Centre, at the City University of Hong Kong. A scholar of religious studies, Patton is a specialist in Buddhism in Southeast Asia—specifically Myanmar—and has been a member of the AAS since 2005. Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues? When I was a masters student living in Boston in 2003, a classmate asked me to drive him to New York City to visit his friend who was presenting at an AAS conference. While sitting in the lobby of the conference venue, I was beside myself to hear dozens of people talking casually about Asian Studies as if they were chatting about the weather. I immediately registered for the conference and spent the remaining 3 days enthralled by the conversations and interesting people I met, one of whom would later become my PhD advisor. How did you first become involved in the field of Asian Stud ...

Introducing the Spring 2018 Issue of Education About Asia, “Asian Politics”

Below is the Editor’s Message from the newest issue of Education About Asia, the open-access teaching journal of the Association for Asian Studies. For complete online access to this issue, as well as over 1,500 articles from 22 years of Education About Asia, please visit the EAA website. By Lucien Ellington, Education About Asia Editor I hope readers are enjoying the spring. The intent to make a more effective special section through utilizing a “political economy” approach should be evident in the topical breadth of the issue and, hopefully, a “real world” approach to understanding the influences of demography, geopolitics, national security, technology, economic development, religion, and ethnicity upon governments and politics. The special section, “Asian Politics,” begins with Tony Tai-Ting Liu’s “The Rise of China and its Geopolitical Implications” that should serve as a basic introduction for educators and students to a number of issu ...

AAS Statement on 2018 AAS-in-Asia Conference

A Statement by the Officers of the Association for Asian Studies A controversy is developing among the AAS membership with regard to the AAS-in-Asia conference in Delhi, following the decision of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the Government of India to deny visas to all Pakistani scholars. The AAS-in-Asia conferences began as an experiment four years ago. Two questions now face our membership: 1) Should the experiment to hold AAS-in-Asia conferences be terminated? and 2) How should AAS handle the current situation? With regard to the first question, AAS members need to consider two sets of difficulties that arise in holding AAS conferences in Asia. The first is finding host institutions that are willing to provide the faculty, administrative staffing, and funding involved in organizing a conference that is now being attended by some 1,000 scholars. This is a challenge everywhere: even the smaller regional conferences affiliated with AAS stateside are finding it difficult in this age of b ...

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