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									The Challenge of the Introductory Course
          on the Pacific Basin
 with specific reference to SUA’s & author’s unique experiences

                           Gaye Christoffersen
                        Soka University of America
                             Aliso Viejo, CA

  Presented at Track: Internationalizing the Curriculum II, Session D
American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning Conference
                          February 22-24, 2007
                           San Jose, California
Learning Objectives at SUA
• compare regions, cultures, societies, and economies
    within and across the Pacific Basin; survey the
    geography and history of this region
•   emphasis on the increasing integration of the Asia-Pacific
•   Relate to contemporary issues: economic relations,
    migration, regional institutions, globalization,
    democratization, transnationalism, and the environment
•   establish a basic foundation of knowledge on Asia for
•   introduce to freshman the primary theoretical
    approaches—Realism, Liberal Institutionalism, and
•   preparation for the Junior year Study Abroad semester in
    either Beijing, Nanjing, Harbin, Tokyo, or Taipei
•   Increase self-understanding of students drawn from
    Asia-Pacific region
                  Idea of Pacific Century
• Idea of Pan-Pacific organization has roots in 19th c.
• 1925 Institute of Pacific Relations started in Honolulu
• Late 1970s – ―Asia-Pacific cooperation‖ a hot topic in
    regional conferences as the East Asian economic miracle
•   Track II PECC started by Japan & Australia in 1980 as
    tripartite partnership of senior individuals from business,
    government, academia meeting annually; headquarters
    in Singapore
•   Numerous other Track II organizations, e.g., PBEC
•   1989 – APEC created by Japan & Australia; US gov‘t
    reluctantly participated;
•   eventually American universities introduced Asia-Pacific
    courses & research centers; academia more enthusiastic
    than US government
             Idea of Pacific Century
• 1992 – PBS television series, The Pacific Century,
    produced by Frank Gibney, Pacific Basin Institute. Mark
    Borthwick edited a companion textbook, Pacific Century:
    the Emergence of Modern Pacific Asia [1st ed 1992; 3rd
    ed 2007 Westview Press]
•   Borthwick is currently Exec. Dir. of US National
    Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation [USNCPEC]
•   Book was an interdisciplinary survey of economic and
    political development in Pacific Asia, integrating the past
    with the present
•   These were the basic tools for courses on Pacific Basin
    or Asia-Pacific, widely used in 1990s to the present.
•   The Idea of Pacific Century always had a specific
    historical & political context, not a purely academic topic;
    many American Asianists skeptical, critical
    Challenges of the Pacific Basin Course
• Materials focused on nation-states, nationalism; Pacific Century
    textbook does not capture trans-nationalism and regional
•   Teachers focused on nation-states, nationalism; had identity,
    emotional & ideological commitments to one particular nation-
    state—Japan, S. Korea or China
•   Although course subject matter transcends disciplines, when taught
    by ‗non-experts‘ in the past, each professor emphasized own
    discipline, producing distinctly different courses—students confused
•   Emphasis on the East Asian economic miracle & East Asian
    developmental state; non-East Asian countries, export markets and
    raw material sources, were treated as non-essential
•   Overly focused on Confucianist societies & Confucianism as a source
    of economic prosperity, marginalizing Islamic Asian countries &
    treating Christian Asians as ―the other.‖
•   Overly focused on East Asian states & societies, excluding the larger
    Asia-Pacific region; this would facilitate the Pacific Century
    becoming an Asian Century which justified East Asian regionalism
      Challenges of the Pacific Basin Course
• Pacific Century documentary series out of date, cannot be updated
    because of copyright issues; nothing on Asian financial crisis,
    Japan‘s economic slump, emerging East Asian regionalism &
    increasing intra-Asian trade
•   Although called ―Pacific‖ Century, primary focus was on land-based
    economics, politics, geography, societies, without considering what
    held them together, leading to a comparative politics & economics
    approach; separate & independent units strung together.
•   Standard courses using Pacific Century text & videos had reified
    ―Asia-Pacific‖ into a thing rather than viewing it as an ongoing
    process of migration, trade, economic, cultural & educational
    exchange. Skeptics doubted that this thing, Asia-Pacific, really
    existed, claimed it was only an ideological construct
•   Institutional framework, APEC, is said to be in trouble, idea of Asia-
    Pacific community threatened by East Asian regionalism; APEC badly
    divided during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, enthusiasm &
    optimism slowed down
•   However, processes of integration across the Asia-Pacific have
    intensified even without a framework to manage them
Recent Intellectual Challenge
• Barbara Andaya [past pres. of AAS] presidential address
  at 2006 AAS annual meeting. ―Oceans Unbounded:
  Transversing Asia across ‗Area Studies‘‖:
   – called for greater coherence in the teaching of Asia, suggested:
   – Rather than think of the sea as a boundary that separated land-
     based societies, consider it‘s capacity to connect them
   – A course organized around the theme of Asia‘s maritime history,
     considering intra-Asian exchanges and Asia‘s linkages to the
     outside world, trans-oceanic
   – This would create a pathway for overcoming the confines of
     ―area studies‖ which privilege the land & marginalize the sea
• This could also alternatively translate into a course on
  civilization surrounding South China Seas, Bohai Sea, or
  Indian Ocean; influenced by Braudel‘s approach to
  Mediterranean civilization
   Pacific Basin a required course at SUA taught by 4 professors:
     Prof. MW‘s approach to Pacific Basin
• Themes & specialization: specialization in global migration &
  minority rights in Japan;
• Part 1: Imperialism & Evolution of Modern World Order
    – Interaction of colonizer & colonized
    – Roles of traders & missionaries in Pacific
• Part 2: Asian Migrations across Pacific
    – Asian American experience
    – WWII & rebuilding afterwards
• Part 3: Globalization
    – Global economics
    – Civil society in comparative perspective

• Themes include colonial relations, race science, & migration. Does
   not use Pacific Century textbook or video series; Extensive use of
   films & documentaries; greater emphasis on transnational processes
   of migration, trade; greater emphasis on mutual representations
   and how cultural differences are translated into a science of race
   Prof. HC‘s approach to Pacific Basin
• specialization in development economics
• Part 1: survey of the geography, history, population,
  cultures, societies, & economies within and across the
• Part 2: economic & political development of developing
• Part 3: Regional integration, regional organizations, and
  roles of major powers
• Extensive use of Pacific Century book & films; materials
  on Latin America; more of a comparative approach,
  small section on globalization and transnational
  processes, more skeptical view on the ―Asia-Pacific
  idea.‖ focus is on nation-state as unit of analysis
        Prof GC‘s approach to Pacific Basin

• GC specialization in Asian multilateralism, ASEAN+3,
  APEC, Track 1 & 2;
• Selectively uses Pacific Century book & videos;
  supplements with text on history of imperialism prior to
  rise of Asian nationalisms and text on more recent
  globalization processes
• Syllabus divided into the Age of Imperialism, the Age of
  Asian Nationalism & the Age of Globalization
   • Age of Imperialism examines Western incursions into Asia from
     the sea - McDougall. Let the Sea Make a Noise... : A History of
     the North Pacific from Magellan to MacArthur.
   • Age of Asian Nationalism - Borthwick. Pacific Century, chapters
     on nationalism, communism, Pacific War.
   – Age of Globalization - Connors, Davison & Dosch. The New
     Global Politics of the Asia-Pacific.
 Age of Imperialism - McDougall. Let the
              Sea Make a Noise... :

• Pacific region emerges, slowly integrates, as European
  imperialists began to seek trade routes, acquiring
  spheres of influence, territory
• Thesis: North Pacific held 6 great prizes: West Coast of
  North America, Alta California, eastern Siberia,
  Manchuria, Hawaiian Islands, sea lanes [SLOCs]
• Initially Portuguese, French, Spanish, Dutch and British
  imperialists; eventually American, Russian & Japanese
  imperialists would compete
• Supplemented with Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and
  Steel, to ponder why were some colonizers & others
Age of Imperialism - McDougall.
Let the Sea Make a Noise... :
• Course examines indigenous peoples strategies
  for coping with imperialists, especially Hawaiian
  perspective, although could alternatively view
  from Chinese, Korean, Southeast Asian,
  Okinawan perspectives
• McDougall history tells story of Pacific
  integration through individuals who played key
  roles in leading their countries towards Pacific
students wear costumes, role play,
 have scripts from text for ‗aha iki
Extensive use of images, visuals organized in weekly
Powerpoints: Manifest Destiny: American settlers bring the
light of "civilization" westward
          Manifest Destiny in Hawaii:
King Kalakaua dreamt of uniting Pacific in anti-colonial movement
Emphasis on trade routes, taking note of the
shipping, railroad, airplane technology that
facilitated opening up the remote North
               Several documentaries on
               Imperialism in the Pacific:
Spanish Imperialism – impact on Incas:
    – Guns, Germs and Steel: Episode Two : Conquest
• American Imperialism – impact on Philippines, Vietnam:
    – The Pacific Century: Sentimental Imperialists: America in Asia
• Chinese strategies:
    – The Pacific Century: The Two Coasts of China
• Japanese strategies – avoidance, participation:
    – Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire; Episode 2
    – Pacific Century: The Meiji Revolution
• Hawaiian strategies – resistance, accommodation:
    – The Conquest of Hawaii
• Recent Chinese 12-part documentary series on The Rise of Great
   Powers [国崛起] ; available in DVD. Idea is China should study the
   historical experience and learn from other great powers; suggests
   emerging Chinese paradigm shift on imperialism.
   dubbed in English in Singapore and shown on History Channel
   there. Was also viewed in Vietnam. Not seen in the US yet.
Age of Nationalisms, Revolution & War
• Earliest signs of Chinese nationalism: economic boycotts,
  urban intellectuals in May 4th movement, and Boxers,
  ―Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists‖
• Chinese have ambivalent attitudes towards Boxers,
  sometimes embarrassed by them because of violent
  xenophobic, sometimes proud of them for resisting
  imperialists, hostility towards missionaries
• Even 19th c. history of missionaries in China had
  maritime dimension. Missionaries demanded US gov‘t
  protect them in China; their demands combined with
  1890s American naval expansion. Mahan claimed
  domination of sea lanes & sea commerce critical, wrote
  The Influence of Sea Power Upon History. Also wrote
  The Problem of Asia. US would join other European
  imperialists to suppress Boxer Rebellion
• Theme of nationalism doesn‘t replace imperialism
  theme; visuals on clash between the two; readings from
  Borthwick. Pacific Century, chapters on nationalism,
  communism, Pacific War.
isuals on Japan‘s Transformation during Russo-
apanese War as presented in art form – senso-e
Most young people have never heard of Manchukuo;
rediscovering East Asian identity in revival of Ri-koran musical
  Nagasaki 1945; Pacific Century deemphasizes
 WWII as an interruption in the integration of a
regional economy rather than view it as a logical
  outcome of the previous centuries‘ imperialist
Several documentaries on
Nationalisms, Revolution & War:
• China - A Century of Revolution: Part One, 1911-1949
• The Pacific Century: Writers and Revolutionaries
• The Human Condition [Japanese film on the colonization
  of Manchuria]
• In the Name of the Emperor: The Rape of Nanjing
• Why We Fight WWII – Know Your Enemy - Japan
• The Pacific Century: From the Barrel of a Gun
  [Indonesian and Vietnamese revolutions]
Age of Globalization
• Text: Connors, Davison & Dosch. The New Global Politics
  of the Asia-Pacific
• Transnational movement of people, drugs, triads, ideas,
  commerce, economic crisis, internet
• Focus on local Asian responses to globalization;
  continuity with previous course section on colonized
  responses to colonizers; however Asian corporations are
• Goes beyond Pacific Century documentary series to
  include last 16 years: Asian financial crisis, East Asian
  regionalism as response to crisis, Islamic networks in
  Asia, non-traditional security issues that have become
  the focus of many Asian multilateral regimes
• Very contemporary; visuals are easy to find
Nationalism & traditional security issues still relevant
Asian multilateralism & non-traditional security issues prevalent
Transnational corporations, movements, NGOs,
surfers, terrorists & criminals
 Documentaries on Age of Globalization – Pacific
 Century videos still relevant but need supplementing
• The Pacific Century: Reinventing Japan
• The Pacific Century: Inside Japan, Inc
• The Pacific Century: Big Business and the Ghost of
• Hang: The Manifest Destiny of the Longboard Cult [film
  about surfers‘s attitudes, similarities with early European
• Windows on Asia-Pacific: Asian television commercials
• Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World
  Economy, Part 3: The New Rules of the Game
  [economic contagion – 1997 economic crisis]
Documentaries on Age of Globalization -YouTube to the rescue!
  • Asian Values Devalued [on YouTube]
  •   Globalizing Asia or Asian Globalization? - Pt 1
  •   Globalizing Asia or Asian Globalization? - Pt 2
  •   Conversations with History: Clyde Prestowitz on reasons for the shift of
      economic power to Asia
  •   Conversations with History: Nayan Chanda on regional stability in Asia
  •   21st Century War - Indonesia
  • The Globalization Tapes
      A group of Indonesian filmmakers trace the development of contemporary
      globalization from its roots in colonialism to the present. The story isn't told
      by experts, but by insightful union members from factories and plantations
      in Indonesia.
SUA Upper division courses that draw specifically
from foundational knowledge in Pacific Basin course
•   INTS 221 History of East Asian-American Relations
•   INTS 271 Emergence of Modern Japan
•   INTS 290 Korea in the Modern World
•   INTS 262 China‘s Economic Development and Reform
•   INTS 370 Politics of China
•   INTS 321 Economic Development in the Pacific Asia
•   INTS 355 International Relations of Pacific Asia
•   INTS 342 Asian America in Comparative Perspective
•   INTS 345 Media and Society in Pacific Asia
•   INTS 350 Political and Social Change in Pacific Asia
•   INTS 380 Indigenous Peoples of Oceania
•   INTS 405 War and Memory in Pacific Asia
•   Learning Clusters on NGOs in the Asia-Pacific; ethnic conflicts &
    their peaceful resolution in Asia-Pacific; US-China-Japan trilateral
    relations in Asia-Pacific
      Cultural variations on Asia-Pacific course
• Author‘s experience teaching subject matter in Russia, China &
    Turkish Cyprus; unique local challenges
•   Russian experience: on the edges of the Pacific Basin, resistance to
    its practices, assumptions, commercial life
•   Exemplified by melancholy waltz, Hills of Manchuria,
    commemorating Russian officers lost in the bloody Battle of
    Mukden, last land battle of Russo-Japanese War. Played in Urga
    [Close To Eden] movie by Mikhalkov which portrays a Russian and
    Mongolian on the edges of the Asia-Pacific, resistant to being drawn
    into the commercial life of China and Asia-Pacific
•   Russian attitude may change after Vladivostok hosts APEC 2012
•   Turkish Cypriot experience: wanted to know about Malaysia in the
    Asia-Pacific economy; how did it maintain peaceful ethnic relations?
    How did it become both an economically modernizing society and a
    Muslim society at the same time? [Pacific Century materials not
    helpful here] What lessons from Malaysia could be adapted to
    Turkish Cyprus?
•   Chinese experience: initial suspicion of Asia-Pacific economic
    integration and regional organizations over last 2 decades changed
    as China‘s role in regional economy and regional organizations has
    expanded; China joined PECC in 1986, APEC in 1991, & hosted APEC
    in 2001
         Conclusion: Solutions to Challenges
• recent 2007 3rd ed. of Pacific Century text has added
    additional chapter on globalization, revival of East Asian
    regionalism, China’s role in Asia-Pacific, & update on
    Japan’s role
•   Instructors need to work with other teachers to develop a
    set of consistent themes; can still maintain unique
    approaches to addressing those themes
•   Instructors, doing curriculum development, need to work
    with departments & university to clarify what is, or is not,
    Pacific Basin
•   Instructors need to continually supplement & update
    original, standard course materials from Pacific Century
    textbook & videos
•   Asia-Pacific is not a “thing” – should not be reified but
    rather examined as a continual process of integration
•   APEC 2008 hosted by Peru should contribute to Latin
    American participation in Asia-Pacific -

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