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

A short introduction to Shinto, Japan's native belief system.
One man's reminiscence of celebrating the new year in post-WWII Japan.
A brief timeline of Japanese history.
An expansive essay on the history of Iran through the first great global age.
The calligraphic tradition, which grew out of the demand for illuminated Qur'ans, became an important art form worldwide.
An essay about the spread of Islam into Southeast Asia and how religion and expression fit within societal contexts.
The Safavid Dynasty, a Golden Age in Iran, witnessed a cultural flowering under the charismatic Isma'il and Tahmasp.
A short history of 20th century Iran, including the Iran-Iraq war and the political climate that spilled into the 21st century.
Southeast Asia is a geographically diverse region with equally diverse lifestyles and traditions throughout human history.
Indian society is multifaceted to an extent perhaps unknown in any world culture, but cultural themes do exist.
A geographic sketch of India and a brief description of human migration and trade patterns in the subcontinent.
The turbulent decades between independence to present time.
An overview of Korea's mainstream religions, from Shamanism to Christianity.
A geographic exploration of North and South Korea, including its location, climate, production, and how Korea perceives herself.
Comparisons of the great texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confuciansm, Christianity, Daoism, Islam, Judaism, and Shinto.
Chess is not just a game: it is entwined with laws, arts, sciences, and mathematics.
A short history and idea for a student educational activity.
An early history of what is today Iran.