Teaching Demo

Teaching Demo

Teaching Demo for the Position of Associate Professor of Asian Studies in Sociology and Anthropology

In Thailand, a teaching demo is just one of the many elements required when applying for an academic title, such as assistant or associate professor.

Prince of Songkla University | Faculty of International Studies

The purpose of a teaching demo is to demonstrate the applicant’s ability to teach, including the use of new technologies, innovation, and integration of personal experience and research.

Additionally, fostering student participation through active learning is increasingly important.

Teaching Demo | Silk Road | Eastern Civilization | February 28, 2020

Teaching Demo (February 28, 2020)

Additional criteria for the position of Associate Professor includes the publication of research in peer reviewed journals relevant to the study area.

Three publications are required:

Prince of Songkla University | Faculty of International Studies

Skate the Wall

Skate the Wall


Learning Adventure for Students of 806-123 / 809-122 Eastern Civilization

Click on images to enlarge.

Backstory – My first time to skateboard on the Great Wall

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

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.

Skateboarding on the Great Wall of China in 1995 | Badaling 八达岭 万里长城

Catching air at Badaling Great Wall

Skate the Wall

Our sleek private taxi wove its way between big trucks and buses, tiny cars and vans, zooming motorcycles and buzzing scooters. The silent bikes and carts yielded without stress, smoothly avoiding us as if doing Tai Chi.

Radiating from Beijing, the traffic faded into tranquility. We, students from the University of Hawaii, headed due north with our driver, a kind-hearted Chinese man with dark glasses and a love for classic Western rock music.

We gave him a thumbs-up and nodded when his stereo played Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall.

On our way to the Great Wall | 2002

Around us, wheat and corn formed a checkerboard landscape, as hills graduated to small mountains with riverbanks planted with weeping willows, walnut and peach trees, thriving under deep blue sky. Slender poplar trees cast zebra-striped shadows which flickered on our faces while we blazed on.

It was a perfect day to skate the Wall.

Skateboarding on the Great Wall | 2001

Skate the Great Wall of China | Steven Andrew Martin PhD | International Education Online | Asian Studies

Philosophical Attitudes

Just as philosophical attitudes of Chinese and Americans may differ, so too have their reactions to my skating on the Wall.

Photos from my early trips in 1995 shocked some Western friends to contend, “You mean they allow you to do that?”

Ba Da Ling Great Wall | 1995

In contrast, Chinese friends were enthusiastic and positive.

The first time I skated the Wall, a guard stationed at the Wall shouted in Mandarin and took my board. To my surprise, he traded me his rifle for my skateboard and tried to ride it, shooting down the hill out of control, skidding to a halt, and tearing holes in his clothes.

Bruised and bleeding, he reacted with a smile, and raced up the hill for another try.

World's oldest skateboard park

Unexpectedly, we had a marvelous hour together, sharing the moment and cultural experiences.

I realized that the function of the Wall had changed from combat to sport, from exclusive to inclusive, from military to peaceful – attracting tourists and hikers, students and teachers, philosophers and politicians.

The Wall had become fun and exciting, as if suddenly transformed into the world’s greatest skatepark.

Skateboarding at the Great Wall

Meng Jiang Nu

In contrast to the touristic carnival-like atmosphere experienced at many sections of the Wall today, truth is, the Great Wall is no laughing matter.

Hiking the Wall on a hot summers day, exhausted at the onset of heat stroke, I could feel the blood, sweat and tears of the conscripts and prisoners who built it.

Sometimes called the "World’s longest tombstone," the Wall was a place where men were sent to toil and suffer until they died and their bodies were buried near the Wall.

Hiking on the Great Wall of China, north of Beijing

Set in the Qin dynasty (221BC-206BC), one story still resonates among the collective memory of the Chinese, the dramatic separation of a loving couple and their tragic ending as a result of building the Wall.

Ancient literature, paintings, poems, music, and modest temples throughout China, Japan, and Korea honor the heartbreak of Meng Jiang Nu (Lady Meng Jiang), who searched the entire length before finding her beloved dying husband, Fan Qiliang. Legends tell she cried so hard that the wall collapsed where she found him.

Modern cartoons, videos and films in recent years continue to romanticize her story, representing the ruthlessness of the emperor, the tragedy of the Great Wall, and the kindness of a gentle woman.

Lady Meng Jiang and the Great Wall | Source: Stent, 1878

Her story is a recurring theme in Chinese folklore, with literary evidence dating back more than two-thousand years. One of the many treasures of Chinese historical literature, a Bianwen manuscript (c. 9-11 century) of the story was discovered at Dunhuang, Gansu province, an important stop on the Silk Road.

The story of Lady Meng Jiang | c. 9th-11th century Bianwen manuscript

Iconic guardian of China

A great unification of the Wall took place under Emperor Qin Shi Huanghi, the legendary ruthless ruler who founded the Chin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and hence gave his name to China. He also left behind his personal terracotta army of Xian, the larger-than-life clay soldiers built supposedly to guard him in the afterlife.

A continuous project, the Chin fortifications that began in strategic mountain passes now string together to stretch thousands of miles across China, from Heilongjiang Province in northeast China, winding westward to Jaiyuguan, Gansu Province, in the Gobi Desert.

View from a garrison | Jinshanling Great Wall

The Wall is an iconic guardian of China, towering over the fertile river-valleys and plains of the south, protecting them from invasion by the marauding bandits of the Mongolian plateau to the north.

The northern face of the Wall is always sheer, often 30 feet tall, or perched on the rim of a high cliff, while the southern face is sometimes only ground level.

Today, the Wall with all its branches, if placed end to end, would stretch more than 30,000 miles.

Jinshanling, north of Beijing, a 10 kilometer stretch of unrestored wall

The World's first internet

The Great Wall can be justly described as the world's first information superhighway. Timely information could be sent across the entire country in a single day – smoke by day, and fire by night.

The Wall served as a secure connection network, offering enough band-width to allow soldiers to ride two-abreast and travel in both directions, garrisons serving as safe terminals, battlements providing the firewall, vats of hot oil ready to be poured on the heads of potential hackers.

From the east, China streamed live to the world – and from west, the world steamed live to China.

The Great Wall – Connecting east and west

The Silk Road

The Great Wall was heavily fortified, serving as the military power line of the Silk Road as early as the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), when caravans of horses and camels transported men and women, trade wares and silks, plants and animals, technologies and religions.

Perhaps no other exchange of information was as profound as what occurred leading up to the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy (Tang Dynasty, AD 618-907), when Indian Buddhism flowed into China along the trade routes of the Silk Road, carrying information and ideas that changed how the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans think.

For example, ancient Buddhism and art, illuminated with Greek and Persian influences, flourished in Western China, a sign that east-west cultural communication and collaboration is much older, and much better developed, than previously thought. (Visit my Silk Road and Pakistan pages to learn more about Grecco-Buddhist culture and China, or see the works of Sir Aurel Stein and Sir John Marshall).

Uyghur dancer | Turpan, Xinjiang | Click to Silk Road Journal

Jiāyùguān Fort

The Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644) earned the reputation for hosting China’s most masterful wall builders, creating faultless square-cut bricks, which still appear clean, tight, and engineered into perfect function.

The most famous Ming Dynasty wall remains Jaiyuguan Fort, the western terminus of the Great Wall in the Gobi Desert, fabled end – or beginning – of the civilized world, depending on one's perspective.

Sunrise at Jiayuguan Fort | 2001

Perhaps the most told story of Jaiyuguan  Fort is about the designer who was in charge of construction. Upon ordering the massive number of bricks required to build the fort, which he calculated down to a specific number, he was warned that it had better be enough. With confidence he agreed and added one brick to the order just in case.

When the complex was completed, only one brick remained. The story is a testament to Chinese ingenuity.

Four characters inscribed near the front gate roughly translate to mean: Strongest fort under heaven.

Jiayuguan Fort | Ming Dynasty | AD 1368-1644

Acuity and continuity

Layers of architecture attest to the acuity and continuity of Chinese culture and philosophy as the wall, like the art of the earth, rises in chronological order from a subterranean foundation.

I have stood at sections where the base was built during Chin Dynasty, the middle during Han, the upper during Ming, the watchtowers Qing (AD 1644-1911) while the surface was only one week old.

I’ve watched as farmers bashed bricks off the Wall with sledge hammers, loading them on donkey carts to use on their farms, while in the distance I could see contemporary building crews adding a fresh face, handrails, stairs, and toilets for tourists.

Farmer at Jinshanling Great Wall

Can we see the Wall from Space?

It is often said that the Great Wall is the only man-made structure recognizable from space, but when I asked Colonel Scott Horowitz of the US Air Force, commander of four Space Shuttle missions, he told me:

“It's nearly impossible to see the Great Wall, even from low orbit, because the color of the bricks and building materials match the colors of the corresponding landscapes, and also due to the heavily polluted skies over China.”

Scott said that it was just about possible to make out the line traced across China by the Wall, with a little imagination, on a crystal-clear day. On the other hand, he said that the Great Pyramid, in Giza, Egypt, was clearly visible throughout the hours of daylight, and especially in the early morning and late evening, due to its long shadow.

With Scott Horowitz in 2002 | Click to learn more about astronaut appearances in Hawaii...

Above Huanghuachen Great Wall | 2001

Prof Yang Xin | Peking University

Returning to Peking University after a trip to the Wall, I asked my philosophy professor, Yang Xin, a specialist in Great Wall aesthetics, “Why Great Wall, and not simply long wall or border wall?”

He explained, “Although the original name may have implied long wall (wall of 10,000 Li), the significance matured and greatness was attributed. One brick is only one, with function limited, yet when they combine, a great animation is formed, just like the Chinese culture.”

He added, “The Wall unifies mankind with heavenly forces, as if an enormous composition of cursive calligraphy, its aspects constantly altered through time and seasonal changes."

Professor Yang Xin, specialist in Great Wall aesthetics | Peking University

We’re all just bricks in the Wall

When I first visited the Wall in 1995, I was shocked by its grandeur; later its spiritual aspects overcame me as I saw it as a symbol of both the Chinese people and the human race.

From some viewpoints the Wall looks like a coiling dragon, reaching to the sky, riding on the backs of mountains. From other angles, it resembles a growing plant, following the earth’s natural curves.

Simatai 司马台 Great Wall

After skating the Wall, I could imagine the ancient battlements reflecting rhythmic, piano-key-shaped shadows playing rock-n-roll upon the earth, zigzagging up the mountain in harmony with nature.

Ultimately, the greatness of the Great Wall stands for the greatness of humanity, as well as the suffering of humanity – we’re all just bricks in the Wall.

Thank you for visiting my Great Wall Learning Adventure page.

I hope you enjoy the photos and the information in the links provided. If you feel motivated to learn more about this topic or would like to arrange for me to give a public talk, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you.

–Steven Martin

Students from the University of Hawaii | Jin Shan Ling 金山嶺 Great Wall | 2000

Huanghuachen Great Wall | 2002

Chinese worker on lunch break

Short Videos

TED-ed | 4:29

Smithsonian Channel | 4:52

Silk Road

Silk Road

Teaching Demo | Silk Road | Eastern Civilization


THE SILK ROAD (絲綢之路  Sīchóu Zhī Lù)


Kashgar, Xinjiang, China | Silk Road 1995


I first traveled along the Chinese Silk Road in 1995, on a trip organized by Professor John Cheng through the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH). We journeyed by bus, train and short flights. Reaching Kashgar on China's westernmost border just in time for the Sunday Bazaar, I vowed to return one day with more time to explore.


In June, 2001, I returned to explore the Silk Road. On this trip, I traveled overland from Xian to Kashgar, China, and across the Karakoram Mountains to Pakistan (see Silk Road Part II, Pakistan).

Although a long journey across deserts and mountains, it was certainly not as difficult as in the past. By 2001, modernization in Xinjiang had brought hotels, tourist amenities, and transportation networks, including a new rail link between Urumqi and Kashgar.

I hope you enjoy the highlights of the 1995 and 2001 photo journals below, and find the links to Silk Road maps, presentations and resources helpful.

For more information, please contact me or visit my university course at Eastern Civilization.

Jiayuguan Fort, Great Wall of China | A beacon of Eastern civilization and culture

Teaching Eastern Civilization

Sir Aurel Stein | Photo 1909

I have been sharing my Silk Road experiences with students of all ages for over twenty years. I am interested in the early works of European explorers, particularly Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943).

Stein's archaeological and geographical work is well represented in his 1933 publication: On Ancient Central Asian Tracks: Brief Narrative of Three Expeditions in Innermost Asia and Northwestern China.

Many of Stein's original works are currently royalty-free and available on Archive.org.

1933 Chinese Silk Road Map by Aurel Stein | Innermost Asia | Click to enlarge

1995 Experience | The University of Hawaii Silk Road Study Tour

The photos shown here are highlights from my first trip along the Silk Road.

The travel began at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, and ended at the Kashgar Bazaar, also known locally as the Sunday Market, and now officially known as the International Trade Market of Central and Western Asia.

Click on photos to enlarge.

1995 Highlights

Monks at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian

Big Wild Goose Pagoda | Xian

Rainy start on our Journey to the West | Xian

Riding the Iron Rooster to Western China

Exploring the Gobi Desert at 33 years old

Jiayuguan Fort | Western end of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall

UH Hilo Prof John Cheng | Dunhuang, Gansu Province

Turpan and Urumqi | Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Flaming Mountain, from the epic tale, "Journey to the West"

Farmer in Turpan | Eastern Xinjiang

Taklamakan Desert | Xinjiang

Kazakh yurts in the Tianshan | Heavenly Mountains

Toordi Ashan | Our Uyghur driver in Urumqi, Xinjiang

Tianshan | Flight from Urumqi to Kashgar

Kashgar | Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Islamic culture | Kashgar

Musical instruments for sale | Kashgar

Knife seller | Kashgar Sunday Market

Islamic culture | Kashgar Sunday Market

Sunday Livestock Market | 1995

Tobacco seller | Kashgar

Afaq Khoja Mausoleum (c. 1640) | Kashgar

My 2001 Silk Road Independent Study Project

In the summer of 2001, I made an agreement with the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) to conduct independent research on the Silk Road. I proposed to travel overland from Xian, China, to Delhi, India.

My Liberal Studies Adviser, Prof. John Cheng, agreed, providing I visited Harappa, the Indus River Valley Civilization site, and Taxila, the Gandhara Civilization site.

Taxila was one of the most ancient universities in the world, where people from all over Asia and the Middle East came to study and teach. At least eighteen subjects were covered, including medicine, religion, and science. Instruction was available in at least five different languages, and this multicultural environment contributed to the pre-eminence of Taxila as a center of learning from the 5th century BC until the 2nd century AD.

Taxila was a key site where the ancient Greeks met the Buddhists, a cultural coincidence that occurred at the dawn of Mahāyāna Buddhism and the birth of the Gandhāran Civilization.

I was fortunate to be able to visit the Sirkap archaeological site at Taxila, evidence of an ancient Greek city in South Asia.

Sirkap archaeological site | Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan

Visitors today can explore the ruins of a two-thousand-year-old university, and stroll around the Taxila Museum filled with unique art history.

I kept a comprehensive photo journal of my travels, and after returning and presenting my photo journal at the university auditorium I earned enough credits to complete my undergraduate studies at the University of Hawaii.

Journey to the West  西遊記

My plan was to follow in the footsteps of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang (玄奘) (c. 602–664), who traveled to India in the 7th century, during the Tang Dynasty, and kept a detailed account of his travels.

His journal, Great Tang Records on the Western Regions (大唐西域記), is an outstanding treasure of Chinese history.

Nine hundred years later, Xuanzang's true story was brought to life in the16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West (西遊記), one of China's "Four Great Classical Novels."

Journey to the West | Xuanzang in the 16th century Chinese classic

Journey to the West is a tall tale retracing Xuanzang's travels with an unlikely group of companions, namely the tricky and powerful Monkey King, the greedy and ravenous Pigsy, and the hideous and obedient Friar Sand. Mixing fact with fiction, the story incorporates Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and folklore into the groups' improbable pilgrimage of spiritual enlightenment.

Xuanzang travel map | Click to enlarge

National Geographic | Treasure Seekers: China's Frozen Desert

Based on the lives of Sir Aurel Stein and 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..."

2001 Journal Highlights

Starting in Xian, at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda built in Xuanzang's honor, I began my own journey. I tried to visit the same cultural sites and physical landscapes, and to keep a journal, like he did. While his trip to India and return took 15 years or more, I had just two months.

The photos shown here are highlights from the Chinese leg of the journey, placed in chronological order.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Statue of Xuanzang | Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian

Bell Tower in Xian | Beginning of the Silk Road as a trade route

View from the train | Xian, Shaanxi Province, to Jiayuguan, Gansu Province

Sunrise at Jiayuguan Fort, Great Wall | Gansu Province

Jiayuguan Fort | Western end of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall

Singing Sand Dunes | Dunhuang

Dunhuang | Mogao Caves

Uyghur man with his taxi at the Gaochang ruins

Uyghur youth at the Gaochang ancient ruins

Uyghur dancer | Turpan, Xinjiang

Raisins for sale in Turpan

Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves

Urumqi, Xinjiang Gateway to the Tianshan

Hui culture | Urumqi

Frank Li | Hui culture in Urumqi

Kazakh family erecting their yurt | Tianshan

Kazakh family arriving at lower pastures | Tianshan

Home for the summer | Lower pastures of Tianshan

Kashgar, Xinjiang China's western frontier town

Overnight train | Urumqi to Kashgar

Kashgar International Trade Market

Livestock market | Kashgar Sunday bazaar

Chili peppers for sale | Kashgar

Kashgar knives at the bazaar

Uyghur youth at the Kashgar Sunday bazaar | Xinjiang Province

Watermelon seller | Kashgar Sunday bazaar

Working at the Kashgar bazaar

Wooden pitchforks for sale | Kashgar bazaar

Id Kah Mosque (c. 1442)

Islamic culture at the Id Kah Mosque

Reading the Koran across from the Id Kah Mosque

Yusuf Balasaguni | 11th century Islamic philosopher

Yusuf Balasaguni Mausoleum | Kashgar

Online resources

Thank you for visiting my Silk Road Learning Adventure page.

I hope you enjoy the photos and information in the links provided. If you feel motivated to know more about the Silk Road or other 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 Martin

Egypt and Israel

Egypt and Israel


The only time that I ever really thought I was going to die was in Egypt.

Not from militants, drowning in the Nile, or heat stroke – It was the food!

Sailing south on the Nile from the Aswan Dam, I ate something that I shouldn't have. In a half coma for 3 days, my eyes transfixed on banks of the Nile as the boat drifted downstream with the current, I watched men watering their herds and women washing their clothes.

I thought about the great explorers of yesteryear who had perished on this very stretch of river, and never before did my life seem so insignificant.

Hieroglyphic Art | Egypt 1998

The Pyramid of Khafre | c. 2570 BC

After crossing the Sinai Desert by bus, my camera and film were held hostage at the Israeli border.

I was somewhat annoyed while the Israeli police X-ray scanned my film with heavy-duty equipment more than a dozen times. Once they were finished, the film was damaged, and I never bothered to share the remaining pictures with anyone.

The good news was that I eventually passed through the border near Palestine and was on my way to Jerusalem in time to find a hostel for the night.

The photos shown here are from the original 1998 prints dug out of a shoebox.

Click on photos to enlarge.

The Giza Plateau

Arriving at Giza for the first time | 1998

Great Sphinx of Giza

The Pyramid of Khafre

The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) | c. 2580–2560 BC

The Nile | Lifeblood of Egypt

The Nile | Aswan Dam

Sunset on the Nile

Traveling south toward Cairo

The Nile | Cairo


Shopkeeper near Aswan

Spices for sale near Aswan

Felucca on the Nile

Pyramid of Djoser | c. 2665 BC

Hieroglyph | Egyptian tomb

Egyptian Hieroglyphics


Valley of the Kings


Western Wall | Temple Mount | Jerusalem

Western Wall | Jerusalem

Wedding photos | Jerusalem city wall

Jewish culture | Western Wall

Christian Priest | Bethlehem

Temple Mount and Mount of Olives | Jerusalem

Masada Cableway and the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea

Israel/Lebanon Coast at Rosh Hanikra

Israel Lebanon Border | Rosh Hanikra

Thank you for visiting my Egypt and Israel page.

I'll be adding new content to this page over the coming months, including my near-death experience on the Nile, crossing the Sinai Peninsula in a public van with 12 Palestinians, and surfing in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

–Steven Martin

University News | Dr Steven Andrew Martin Promoted to Assistant Professor of Asian Studies in Sociology and Anthropology

University News | Dr Steven Andrew Martin Promoted to Assistant Professor of Asian Studies in Sociology and Anthropology

The Faculty of International Studies hereby congratulates Dr Steven Martin on his promotion to Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, as from 4th April 2018.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Martin is a lecturer and researcher in the Faculty of International Studies, Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus, Thailand. He specializes in Asian Studies, within the field of Sociology and Anthropology.

Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Thailand, News (in Thai) | Promotion to Assistant Professor of Asian Studies in the Field of Anthropology and Sociology

Eastern Civilization Textbook Cover | Asst Prof Dr Steven A Martin | Faculty of International Studies

Photo: Proceedings of the 2018 PSU Phuket International Conference 50th Anniversary Celebration

Eastern Civilization

Eastern Civilization

Tibetan Culture at Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China


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.

Teaching Demo | Eastern Civilization | The Silk Road


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 (北京大学).

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

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 University of Hawaii and Peking University 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 guide open discussions and encourage active learning among students.



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


Choose an archaeologist with deep experience in East Asia and discuss his/her education and personal 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.


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

Best Eastern Civilization Midterm Poster | By Pupae 2018


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



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 Learning Adventure 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...

2011 scholarly presentation on the archaeology of the Silk Road by Colin Renfrew at the Penn Museum

Unsolved Mysteries of the Silk Road | Colin Renfrew | Penn Museum | 1:00:07

I have been fortunate to visit and explore a number of the sites and topics featured in Renfew's presentation. For our class discussion today, here are a few of Renfew’s "Questions of east-west exchange before Silk Road: one wheel, few horses".

  1. Earliest contacts: the millet question?
  2. First settlements in Xinjiang? : wheat at Xioahe
  3. The first copper metallurgy in China?
  4. How did the chariot reach China?
  5. The first mounted warriors in China?
  6. Indo-European origins seen from the east

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

Click on the image or button below to view Stein's 1915 survey map of "Innermost Asia" (China's Taklimakan Desert) or his 1933 book "On Ancient Central-Asian Tracks"

Stein's 1933 "Innermost Asia" Map

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)


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


2010 Biographical Drama | Confucius

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


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


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 STUDIES PLAYLIST | Steven A Martin, PhD | National Chengchi University | University Filmworks

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 ancient art of Chinese cuisine connects with the personal lives of a contemporary Taiwanese household. Through watching the film, students realize that the thinking, detail and complexity of cooking mirrors Chinese life and philosophy as intricate and integrated processes. In Eastern civilizations, food is prepared and served in accordance with age old traditions – socially, culturally and politically.

The way we eat is the way we think.

Eat Drink Man Woman | Official Trailer

Download and view Eat Drink Man Woman (Full Movie) here on Google Drive

INDIAN CIVILIZATION | Key Words for Student Presentations

Taj Mahal, Agra, India | Mughal Empire | Photo 2001

Choose a key word from the list below and develop a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation with text, images, maps and one video link.

Key words offered here reflect a variety of concepts, including art, civilization, culture, dynasty, empire, geography, language, literature, people, politics, and religion.

Key words: Indus Valley, Harappa, Dravidian, Aryan, Sanskrit, Vedas, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Maurya, Ashoka, Taxila, Kushan, Bactria, Gandhara, Gupta, Islam, Sikhism, Mughal, British Raj, Scheduled Tribes, Pakistan, Bangladesh

Jivita's Story | Dr B R Ambedkar's social transformation through Buddhism | Original footage for "Arising Light" by David Blundell, content selection by Steven A Martin, and editing by Dean Karalekas

Kushan Empire | Connecting East & West

Gupta Dynasty | India's Golden Age

Mughals | Rise and Fall of an Empire




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


  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.


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

Ethnic Uyghurs greeting tourists at the Gaochang ruins near Turpan, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China, 2001

Examples | Scheduled Tribes of India


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


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

Chinese Philosophy

Chinese Philosophy


Course Description

Chinese philosophy and thoughts of pre-eminent philosophers in the past, including Confucianism, Mencianism, Taoism, and the religious thinking from the core of Confucius’ teaching.

Confucianism and Chinese Philosophy Handout [click to view]


  • To obtain the fundamental concepts of Chinese Philosophy, especially the extensive topics of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.
  • To determine a broad understanding of the life, values, and legacies of Confucian scholars with emphasis on Confucius, Mencius, and Zhu Xi.
  • To gain fundamental insights into classical Chinese philosophy during Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC to 480 BC) and Warring States Period (479 BC to 221 BC), including Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism.
  • To gain a scholarly understanding of the development of Chinese thought and philosophy in a comparative context with Western philosophical development. To investigate and present a selected topic to stimulate ideas and approaches to understanding Chinese philosophical thought and tradition.

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

Key chapter reviews by Dr Steven A Martin for discussion in Confucius' Teachings and Chinese Philosophy

Chan (1969) Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy [click to download]

CONFUCIUS (KUNG TZE) Biographical Drama (2010)

2010 Biographical Drama | Confucius (Kung Tze)


Hierarchy and Harmony — Confucius’ Five Cardinal Relationships

Steven A. Martin, PhD

As one of the central pillars in occidental culture, Confucianism has been one of the central philosophies of Eastern Civilization. This paper reviews concepts put forth in Confucius’ Five Cardinal Relationships and discusses the vertical hierarchy and harmony of Confucian doctrine in five short essays: morality in order, nature and order, education and order, power and order and globalization and order. My research aims to discern Confucius’ philosophy of social order in these contexts, offering contemporary criticism and a framework for future discussion.

Please contact me if you are interested in this research or reviewing a draft of my paper.

Thank you for visiting my Chinese Philosophy page.

This course is no longer offered at the university.

Relevant content has been moved to the Eastern Civilization and Silk Road course pages.