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Help from the Asianists

18 October, 2006

Help From the Asianists

I’m teaching a 300 level East Asian survey in the Spring. Has anybody used Ebrey, Walthall, Palais, East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History? Mostly, I need something that is solid and will be cost-effective (i.e., not horribly pricey). The class is my own, and I can make it a modern class if I like, or limit to China and Japan (in which cases, I can think of all kinds of books, but they’d be spendy — the two Spence books alone are pretty expensive), but I think the students would prefer that they have a broader course, because we can only offer Asia every other year. Suggestions? Comments?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. 18 October, 2006 9:52 pm

    I have absolutely no advice… but I’d love to take a course that taught me more of Asian history in the past century or so. To really understand something of the Korean and Vietnam conflict eras would be invaluable, and fascinating, I think. (Not that any other areas would be less interesting… but just, wow, what a huge course, too!)

  2. 18 October, 2006 10:26 pm

    Jon? Jon Dresner? Paging Jon! We need you!

  3. 18 October, 2006 10:39 pm

    I was thinkign that!

  4. 18 October, 2006 10:52 pm

    I’m here, I’m here!The Ebrey/Walthall/Palais book is very good. Not great, but very good. If I taught an East Asian survey, it’s absolutely what I’d use (They superceded the text I “grew up” with, Reischauer/Fairbank/Craig, and their only major competitor is Rhodes Murphey, and that’s terrible). Individually, they are great scholars and the all have textbook experience, as well. There are oddities of course, but it covers a lot of ground very well. It does not cover Vietnam; there’s some debate about whether it qualifies as East or Southeast Asia….It’s available in a post-1600 split, too, which might be a good compromise: it’s much less sinocentric than if you try to do the pre-1600 thing (which is the course I used to teach in Iowa, and it drove me nuts).

  5. 19 October, 2006 12:38 am

    Groovy! Thanks. I had to use Murphy once, and hated it. I think the students will be happy to have lots of China, so that’s good. I know two majors who are planning to take the class, so I may ask them what they’d like. Thanks, Dr. D!

  6. 19 October, 2006 10:20 pm

    Make me feel bad, ADM! I had an undergraduate minor in Asian history but I’ve categorically refused to teach it here on the dual principles that I already have 20 course preps and that the U really ought to hire someone with some real expertise in the field to cover this. Now you’re teaching it — shh! Shhh!

  7. 20 October, 2006 2:56 am

    Well, if it makes you better, it’s one of the reasons I got the job! And the max I’d ever have is 8 preps, because, well, 4 sections of survey a year is two preps, plus a 4-course rotation of upper-division, plus alternating senior thesis and historiography.

  8. 20 October, 2006 7:16 pm

    Well, it’s all good if it’s part of what helped get you the job! And it’s nice that you can teach multiple sections of surveys in the same year without that being a “do it for free?” kind of atmosphere (as my colleagues in the Classics department, here, have done for far too long!).

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