Eastern Civilization

Eastern Civilization

Tibetan Culture at Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China

EASTERN CIVILIZATION

806-123 & 809-122 

Course description

Civilization of Persia, India, China, Japan and Korea; Development of political, economic, social, and cultural thinking; The dawn of Eastern philosophy; Epoch of changes through western civilization and its influence on social systems and philosophy of the East, and Eastern civilization’s adaptation towards globalization; The Impact of Islamic, Indian, and Chinese civilizations on other Far East countries.

Backstory

In 1995, I applied to the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) to study Chinese and philosophy after a UHH professor captured my imagination when he said, "You go to China – you learn many things – maybe change your life."

He was right; it did!

Since that time, I have been fortunate to study with outstanding professors, such as Dr. John H.L. Cheng and Dr. Roger Aimes at UHH, and with Chinese professors, such as Yang Xin, during summer study abroad programs with the Department of Philosophy at Peking University.

University of Hawaii Professor John H.L. Cheng | 1995 Chinese Culture Study Tour

One lifetime is not long enough to allow for a complete understanding of Chinese culture. Once a student, always a student – As reflected in the Chinese proverb: "Huo dao lao, xue dao lao," that is, "Live arrive old, study arrive old," an age-old Chinese belief in life-long learning.

Combining 20 years of academic experience with 5 UHH Chinese Culture Study Tours, and as many accredited independent study travels in mainland China, I am happy to share my personal and practical knowledge with students through several introductory presentations featured here.

The topics and links provided are intended to provide key topics, guide open discussions, and encourage active learning among students.

STUDENT POSTER PROJECTS  | ARCHAEOLOGISTS AND FIELDWORK IN EAST ASIA

PROJECT TYPE | ACADEMIC POSTER PRESENTATION

Develop an academic poster using PowerPoint or other software which can incorporate images, maps, tables, and text boxes.

PROJECT THEME | ARCHAEOLOGY IN EAST ASIA

Choose an archaeologist with deep experience in East Asia and discuss his/her personal and education background leading to their fieldwork. Emphasize the archaeological site or group of sites where s/he conducted fieldwork and research.

Note: Archaeology is the study of the ancient and recent human past, cultures, and civilizations through material remains and may include Cultural Resource Management (CRM) concerning the measures related to handling recovered materials.

POSTER SIZE | INTERNATIONAL A3

Set slide dimensions for international A3, portrait or landscape (297 x 420 mm) (11.7 x 16.5 in)

Archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein in 1909 | Click to learn more about the Silk Road and Stein's fieldwork in Innermost Asia...

INTRODUCTION TO CHINESE CULTURE

Chinese Culture | Typical art featuring the guardian-philosopher

Introduction to Chinese Thought in the Eastern Tradition | PDF

Introduction to Chinese Philosophy in the Context of Eastern Civilization | PDF

FEATURE PRESENTATION SERIES

THE CHINESE SILK ROAD

I first traveled the Chinese Silk Road in 1995 (Xian to Kashgar) and again in 2001 (Beijing, China, to Delhi, India).

The presentations featured here are based on my personal experience, that is, teaching through storytelling. As part of the Adventure Learning series, I have designed two website instruction pages: Part I – The Silk Road, and Part II – Pakistan and the Indus Valley.

On Ancient Tracks | The Silk Road and My Journey to the West | Click to learn more...

National Geographic | Treasure Seekers: China's Frozen Desert

Based on the lives of Sir Aurel Stein and the 7th century Buddhist Monk, Xuanzang: "As commerce flourished along the Silk Road, Central Asia became a melting pot of cultures. Here on the edges of the Taklmakan Desert, an exotic blend of Indian, Mongol, Chinese, and European influences fueled an astonishing cultural Renaissance. In the 7th century, a Chinese monk, Xuanzang, plunged into the desert while on a Buddhist pilgrimage to India...

...His descriptions of the oasis-cities he encountered would prove invaluable to another explorer, more than a thousand years later. 20th century archeologist Sir Aurel Stein took on the deadly Taklamakan to prove his own theories about Western China's lost civilization. Again and again Xuanzang's writings led him to archeological treasure - once thriving cities now buried in the sand. On their monk's trail, Stein made his greatest discovery, a thousand-year-old Buddhist library in near-perfect condition " (National Geographic, 2001).

Marc Aurel Stein's Century-old Adventure Diary | Treasure Buried in the Sands

Click on the image below to view or download this 2013 CCTV-9 (China) English Documentary

Treasure Buried in the Sands

Century-old Adventure Diaries

Marc Aurel Stein [CCTV-9 Documentary English] 48 Minutes – Download

CCTV Documentary Series Xuan Zang's Pilgrimage

In 2016, China's CCTV produced "Xuanzang's Pilgrimage", a documentary series on Xuan Zang's travels on the Silk Road. Narrated in English, the 12 segments are posted in 6 videos on YouTube. Runtime of each video is approximately 48 minuets.

Xuan Zang (1-2)

Xuan Zang (3-4)

Xuan Zang (5-6)

Xuan Zang (7-8)

Xuan Zang (9-10)

Xuan Zang (11-12)

2016 Biographical Drama Da Tang Xuan Zang

The 2016 Mandarin language historical drama “Da Tang Xuan Zang” is based on the life and travels of Xuan Zang during the Tang Dynasty. The film maps the young monk’s travels to India and quest for Buddhist teachings, featuring some of the challenges and struggles he faced.

Xuan Zang 2016 Historical Drama (Trailer)

INTRODUCTION TO CHINESE PHILOSOPHY

Click on Confucius to Chinese Philosophy Page

A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy

Chan, W. (1969). A sourcebook in Chinese philosophy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Available online at Archive.org

Click to view or download this book | PDF

Key chapter reviews by Dr Steven A Martin

Confucianism, Taoism and Chinese Buddhism | PDF Handout

2010 Biographical Drama | Confucius

Confucius Motion Picture | Full HD | 2:05:00

TAI SHAN (Mt. Tai) THE SOUL OF CHINA

Tai Shan, China | PDF Presentation

Cultural continuum on the North China Plain

Tai Shan | UNESCO World Heritage

According to UNESCO: "The sacred Mount Tai ('shan' means 'mountain') was the object of an imperial cult for nearly 2,000 years, and the artistic masterpieces found there are in perfect harmony with the natural landscape. It has always been a source of inspiration for Chinese artists and scholars and symbolizes ancient Chinese civilizations and beliefs."

GB Times | Tai Shan 2:41

Pilgrimage to Tai Shan | 1997

Dawenkuo Archaeological Site | 1997

THE GREAT WALL | SKATEBOARDING THROUGH TIME

Between 1995 and 2002, I studied abroad during summers at Peking University in Beijing. Hiking on the Great Wall quickly became my favorite activity, outside of attending lectures in Chinese philosophy on campus.

University of Hawaii students at Jin Shan Ling Great Wall

Each time I traveled to the Wall, I learned something new, and the more I visited different areas, the more I wanted to learn about the history and culture behind this amazing symbol of the Chinese people.

Peking University Professor Yang Xin was able to provide me with what I was looking for, namely historical and esthetic perspectives from philosophical viewpoints.

Today, my own Great Wall presentations reflect these expediences.

Great Wall of China Presentation | 57 Slides | 30 MB PDF

Hiking the Huang Hua Great Wall near Beijing

Smithsonian | 5:00

TED-ed | 4:30

TAIWAN | WINDOW TO HISTORY

In recent years, the Taiwan (ROC) - China (PRC) relationship plays out on the geopolitical stage. However, Taiwan has its own rich history, which I have generally organized into six sections.

  • Early indigenous Austronesian-speaking peoples inhabited the island for an estimated 5,000 years.
  • Dutch, Spanish, French, British, and other cultures prior to Chinese colonization of the Taiwan.
  • A loosely administered territory of China during the Qing Dynasty.
  • The island's annexation by Japanese after the treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895.
  • Post WWII period, as Taiwan became a stronghold for the Chinese Nationalist regime supported by the USA, and the economic miracle which catapulted the country into the 21st century.
  • Democratic Taiwan, including the indigenous rights movement.

Ethnohistorical Research on the Bunun of Taiwan

The Bunun, an Austronesian-speaking peoples on Taiwan | In Our Hearts and Minds | Steven Martin 6:25

Other research and videos on indigenous Bunun and Paiwan ethnolinguistic groups in Taiwan

The Sage Hunter | Full movie 1:40:00

Eat Drink Man Woman 飲食男女 1994 Taiwanese film directed by Ang Lee

飲食男女 refers to the basic human desires and accepting them as natural as expressed in the Book of Rites, one of the Confucian classics.

Why this film is appropriate for students in Eastern Civilization

In this film, the traditional world mixes with the modern through cooking, family values and religion, that is, the ancient art of Chinese cuisine connects with the personal lives of a contemporary Taiwanese household. Through the film, students realize that the thinking, detail and complexity of cooking mirrors Chinese life and philosophy – Complex and integrated. Thus, the way we eat is like the way we think, and in Eastern civilization, food is prepared and served correctly in accordance with tradition – socially, culturally and politically.

Eat Drink Man Woman | Official Trailer


EASTERN CIVILIZATION 2018 | FINAL POSTER PROJECT

ANTHROPOLOGISTS AND ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUPS IN EAST AND SOUTH ASIA

PROJECT TYPE ACADEMIC POSTER PRESENTATION

Develop an academic poster using PowerPoint or other software which can incorporate text, maps, tables, and images.

PROJECT THEME | ANTHROPOLOGY, ETHNICITY, AND LANGUAGE IN EAST AND SOUTH ASIA

  1. Choose an anthropologist with deep experience in living among, or studying, an ethnolinguistic group in East or South Asia.
  2. Discuss the events or interests which led the anthropologist to study the ethnic group or culture.
  3. Emphasize the language, culture, history, and location of the ethnic group.
  4. Identify the significance of the ethnic group in terms of East Asian civilization.

POSTER SIZE | INTERNATIONAL A3

Set slide dimensions for international A3, landscape (297 x 420 mm) (11.7 x 16.5 in)

Ethnic Uyghurs greeting tourist at the Gaochang ruins near Turpan, Xinjiang autonomous region, China, in 2001


A FEW PHOTOS FROM MY EASTERN TRAVELS

Hindu Culture - Agra India - Eastern Civilization - Steven A Martin - Study Abroad Journal

Hindu Culture | Agra, India

Dawenkuo, China | Archaeological Site

Buddhist Culture | Lhasa | Click to Tibet page

Kung Fu School - Shaolin Temple China - Dr Steven A Martin

Kung Fu School | Shaolin Temple, China

Islamic culture | Kashgar, Xinjiang | Click to Silk Road page

Chinese Opera | Taipei, Taiwan | Click to Taiwan page


ONLINE RESOURCES

Thank you for visiting Eastern Civilization Online.

If you feel motivated to know more about my courses or Learning Adventures, or would like to arrange for me to give a public talk, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you.

–Steven A. Martin

Monks in Xian, China, at the start of Silk Road | 1995