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Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth: An Interview with “Asia Shorts” Author Jeffrey W. Alexander

Last July, Hendrix College President and AAS Editorial Board Chair Bill Tsutsui introduced #AsiaNow readers to a new AAS book series, Asia Shorts. In these “small volumes with a big message,” Tsutsui explained, readers would find “rigorous, timely, and accessible work in our field,” written in concise, readable prose. We are happy to announce that the first Asia Shorts book is now available: Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth: Alcohol and Drug Use in Japan, written by Pueblo (CO) Community College Dean of Arts and Sciences Jeffrey W. Alexander. Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth relates the history of drug and alcohol production and sale in Japan between the late 19th century and the present day, using these substances as an entry point into an examination of the country’s cultural, social, and economic evolution over the decades. Here, Tsutsui interviews Alexander about his research, the challenges he faced in writing the book, and what’s most likely to be filling his own ...

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Best of the EAA Archives: Maritime History Edition

Maritime History is a field of study that often is not integrated into high school or beginning undergraduate survey courses. The articles and essay below, from our fall 2014 special section “Maritime Asia,” provide readers with a variety of choices that are applicable to world history, geography, and anthropology courses. The “Best of EAA Articles” are a series of posts that include outstanding articles, essays, interviews, and reviews that are among the over 1,500 archived open-access materials available on the Education About Asia website. Titles, short annotations, and links are below. • “When the World Came to Southeast Asia: Malacca and the Global Economy” Historian and Southeast Asia specialist Michael Vann uses a once-great port city in assisting readers to understand that Southeast Asia has played an important role for a long time in the global economy. • “Maritime Southeast Asia: Not Just a Crossroads” Historian and anthropologist Jennife ...

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Excerpt: The Book of Swindles

The roads and rivers of China saw a steady stream of travelers during the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), as merchants moved from place to place, creating a vibrant commercial network that bound together the country’s flourishing southern cities. On the road, however, people were vulnerable: cut off from familiar places and faces, it was easy to fall prey to the roving con men who had devised a plethora of get-rich-quick schemes that would relieve their victims of money and goods. English-language readers can now learn about a wide range of the frauds perpetrated in 17th-century China by picking up The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection (Columbia University Press, 2017), written by Zhang Yingyu (fl. 1612-17) and recently translated by AAS Members Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk, both professors in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. Zhang’s work, Rea and Rusk write in the book’s introduction, “presents a panoramic survey of dec ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Foong Ping

FOONG Ping is Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art at Seattle Art Museum and author of The Efficacious Landscape: On the Authorities of Painting at the Northern Song Court, published by Harvard University Asia Center and winner of the 2017 AAS Joseph Levenson Book Prize, Pre-1900 Category. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. The book is about ink landscape painting, one of the most distinctive features of Northern Song dynasty culture. It addresses how these works fulfilled diverse functions at court during the late 11th century—as forms of decoration, as a medium of social exchange, and even as an integral element of this pivotal period’s political history. Through landscape’s unique ability to communicate through embodiment, they became potent symbols of imperial authority, and later became objects through which exiled scholars expressed disaffection and dissent. The first part of my study focuses attention on how and why the Song imperial establishment—emper ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Janet Gyatso

Janet Gyatso is Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies and Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at Harvard Divinity School, and author of Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet, published by Columbia University Press and winner of the 2017 AAS E. Gene Smith Award for Best Book in Inner Asia. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. The book is about the history of science and its interactions—and tensions with—religion in the context of early modern Tibet (1300-1800). It studies the intellectual history of medical thought in Tibet, and contrasts it with Buddhist thought in the same time and period. It is also interested in the ways in which medical knowledge borrowed from Buddhist practices and values, while still maintaining a certain distance from religious world views. It uncovers deeply humanistic values and practices that were developed in medical circles in Tibet. And it also questions assumptions that empiricism a ...

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