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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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On Hinduism's power of the feminine and goddess worship.
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Learn about the political and social changes under Iran's Safavid Dynasty by examining the Book of Kings.
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An excerpt from Arthasastra (4th c. BCE Indian treatise), offering advice on foreign relations.
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An excerpt of Rigveda, an early Indian text in translation relating to social structure and the caste system in India.
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An overview of religious influence on Korean art throughout history.
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An introductory essay on Vietnamese world view throughout the ages.
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The Philippines boasts to be the only Christian nation in Asia. Learn about its religious diversity and history.
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This essay explores the theme of cultural diffusion by examining how the Indian epic, Ramayana, manifested itself in Cambodia.
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Tragedy, love, deception, envy, adventure - who knew religious texts could be so epic?
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How Korea transformed from one of the poorest countries to an economic giant in the span of a century.
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Pakistan's short history as a country has been very turbulent, oscillating between military rule and democratic governments.
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The elaborate mechanical toys in 7th century Korea reveals something about technology and trade of that time.
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Fifty years after the Nogun-ri Massacre, the world is trying to understand how this crime could occur, even during war.
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A short introduction to Laozi and Daoism.
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A Korean origin myth described in context of Korean society and as a comparison to Western thought.
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Successive Korean kingdoms were able to maintain political independence and cultural distinctiveness from surrounding areas.
King Sejong was a wise and benevolent ruler. Korea today enjoys many other lasting benefits of his rule.
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A short essay on Jati, the caste system in India.