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Best of the EAA Archives: Using Literature in the Classroom Edition

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. Throughout the years, a number of superb literature articles, essays, and interviews have been published in EAA. This is the first installment of several we plan to post in the coming weeks. • “History As Literature, Literature As History, Lost Names: Scenes From a Korean Boyhood — An EAA Interview with Richard Kim” (fall 1999): Richard Kim describes his novel about a young boy in Japanese-occupied Korea: “…all the characters and events in the book are real but everything else is fiction.” Middle school, high school, and undergraduate instructors have all assigned this superb work. • “Her: An Indonesian Short Story” by Titis Basino, translated by Florence Lamoureux (sp ...

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 ...

Figuring Korean Futures: Children’s Literature in Modern Korea

By Dafna Zur Dafna Zur is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages & Cultures at Stanford University and author of Figuring Korean Futures: Children’s Literature in Modern Korea, just published by Stanford University Press. In the fall of 2011 I was a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia and had taken a position at Keimyung University in the Department of Korean Literature. Besides my teaching job, which gave me an opportunity to experience life in Korean academia, I found myself in the rather unenviable position of hakpumo, the parent of a school-age child. My older son was then seven and enrolled in the second semester of first grade. He was thrown into the proverbial “deep end” of elementary school, in which no accommodations were made for speakers of Korean as a second language. I watched him struggle to keep up with sentence dictations and word problems in math, when one of his homework materials caught my eye. It consisted of a short poem, followed by multiple ...

#AsiaNow Speaks with Christopher Rea

Christopher Rea is Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Literature at the University of British Columbia and author of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China, published by University of California Press and winner of the 2017 AAS Joseph Levenson Book Prize (Post-1900 China). To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. The book’s about how Chinese humor changed (and how it didn’t) in the modern age. It reconstructs the emergence of several comic cultures over about forty years, from the 1890s to 1933, the “Year of Humor.” Part of the story is about language, about how people started talking about what’s funny in new ways. It tries to convey how you can be funny in Chinese—and how people were, using modern technologies like cinema. Another part of the story is about cultural values, about how people in a tumultuous age used laughter as a barometer for what matters to the individual, to the group, and to humanity at large. I argue that irrev ...

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