Teacher: Cynthia Nolasco Lessons: 4 /week
Rapid economic growth, demographics (a huge and young population), and a throbbing dynamism have made Asia and the Asians a focus of renewed global interest. The region and its people, once described as “remote”, “exotic” and “inscrutable” by the Western world, today command attention and practical understanding as a major player in the global economy and strategic politics. This course aims to describe Asia as a geographic and cultural unit characterized by enormity and diversity; to provide a glimpse into the Asian way of life and thinking; and to look into the turning points in the region’s history and politics in the 20th century which have shaped contemporary Asia.
This course is divided into two parts. The first focuses on Asian culture and folklife, values and social relationships. Its sub-topics include the Asian family, popular beliefs and practices, and religion in Asia. The second part concentrates on Asian history and politics in the 20th century. It studies significant historical events and movements and their key figures. Its sub-topics include the Vietnam War (Ho Chi Minh), the Chinese Revolution (Mao Zedong), the question of Tibet (the Dalai Lama), Indian independence and partition (Gandhi), the birth of East Timor (Xanana Gusmao), Cambodia and the killing fields (Pol Pot), Burma and human rights (Aung San Suu Kyi), People Power in the Philippines (Corazon Aquino), and post-war Japan.