Background Reading

Rushing through a crowd

Read all about Asia and the world, with background reading that will give you context on culture, history, religions and philosophies, education systems, and more!

Background Reading on all Education Topics

We've compiled resources to help you cut through the stereotypes surrounding North Korea and more deeply examine the country, its people, and the complexities of its politics and nuclear program.
The effects of climate change are more prevalent and dangerous than ever before, but the US plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement nonetheless. How do educators teach such a topic to students? Here, a plethora of resources.
In a new Asia Society publication, Chris Livaccari explores how multilingualism is a key aspect of life for most people in the world—and has been throughout history—and is a rich source of engagement, playfulness, and joy.
How do you talk about President Trump's stance on immigration with your students or children? We've compiled a wealth of resources to help you do just that!
Those who speak (and think in) different languages also organize knowledge and understanding in different ways, and these different modes of organization help us to think more flexibly and to see issues from different perspectives.
It may sound incredible, but China’s formal education system—the oldest in the world—was established nearly two millennia ago.
When encountering a new language for the first time, it’s important to grasp the unique patterns and contours of the language—to hear its music.
A new publication by Chris Livaccari that makes an eloquent case for language learning as a means to enhance and deepen students’ capacity for processing information and analyzing the shape of the world.
Foreword by Milton Chen, senior fellow at The George Lucas Educational Foundation, chairman of the Panasonic Foundation, and a frequent speaker on educational innovation.
60 years of Asia Society education work culminate in launch of Center for Global Education.
Asia Society Vice President of Education Tony Jackson reflects on his own experiences with global competence and describes how teaching through a global lens can help address the equity issues we face in education.
Amelia Peterson and Jal Mehta are investigating the learning experiences of participants in international learning communities, including Asia Society's Global Cities Education Network.
"Non-cognitive" skills such as critical thinking and creativity are just as vital as traditional skills in helping 21st century students.
Articles about China that are both fun and engaging.
NYU Shanghai Junior Kiril Bolotnikov discusses the biggest shopping day of the year in China: Singles' Day.
Mandarin is one of many dialects of Chinese, and it's important to understand the diversity of dialects across China. NYU Shanghai Junior Kiril Bolotnikov explores the many dialects of China.
In this episode, we ponder the curious nature of Chinese service habits, wonder why Chinese wait staff all hate the customers’ guts, and consider their curious affection for small bills.
This year, Mid-Autumn Festival fell on September 27. To celebrate this holiday, we asked Kiril Bolotnikov, a junior at NYU Shanghai, to report on how international students celebrate this Chinese holiday.

Background Reading on Asia

Vietnam had many names--and identities--over the centuries.
A classic story known by all Vietnamese.
A short essay on Vietnam's geopolitical history, from pre-civilization times to the 21th century.
This background essay introduces the diversity of China's natural and man-made features.
An overview on Asian American identity, demographics, perceptions, and misperceptions.
The five themes that are critical to understanding modern India.
This essay looks at the great Eurasian Silk Roads as a transmitter of people, goods, ideas, beliefs, and inventions.
An essay exploring why close family ties and dependencies are valued so highly in Korea.
The complex and important role of religion in South Asia, from the earliest civilizations to present.
The life of Buddha, the emergence of Buddhism, basic tenets, and major sects throughout Asia.
Kublai Khan, grandson of Ghengis Khan, ruled as an intellect and a warrior to create one of the greatest empires in history.
Angkor Wat in Cambodia, today known as a World Heritage Site, is also a vestige of a great inland SE Asian empire.
The practice of mediation in Korea.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen argues for Indian identity as diverse, multifaceted, and continually open to new influences.
The world events and many adversities that shaped overseas Indians' sense of unity and identity over the past two centuries.
Delve into the profound philosophical significance of the South Korean flag.
A short geo-political history of the island nation.
On class, status, and social structure in India.