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.
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.
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 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 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.
POSTER SIZE | INTERNATIONAL A3
Set slide dimensions for international A3, portrait or landscape (297 x 420 mm) (11.7 x 16.5 in)
INTRODUCTION TO CHINESE CULTURE
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 Learning Adventure series, I have designed two website instruction pages: Part I – The Silk Road, and Part II – Pakistan and the Indus Valley.
2001 Silk Road Slideshows | View or Download
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".
- Earliest contacts: the millet question?
- First settlements in Xinjiang? : wheat at Xioahe
- The first copper metallurgy in China?
- How did the chariot reach China?
- The first mounted warriors in China?
- 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).
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
Key chapter reviews by Dr Steven A Martin
- Chapter 2—The Humanism of Confucius
- Chapter 4—Moral and Social Programs: The Great Learning
- Chapter 5—Spiritual Dimensions: The Doctrine of The Mean
- Chapter 8—The Mystical Way of Chuang Tzu
- Chapter 12—Legalism
- Chapter 13—The Philosophy of Change
- Chapter 26—The Zen (Ch’an) School of Sudden Enlightenment
- Chapter 34—The Great Synthesis in Chu Hsi
CONFUCIUS AND THE CONFUCIUS TRADITION
2010 Biographical Drama | Confucius
Confucius Motion Picture | Full HD | 2:05:00
TAI SHAN (Mt. Tai) | THE SOUL OF CHINA
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
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.
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.
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.
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
INDIAN CIVILIZATION | Key Words for Student Presentations
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
EASTERN CIVILIZATION | FINAL POSTER PROJECTS
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
- Choose an anthropologist with deep experience in living among, or studying, an ethnolinguistic group in East or South Asia.
- Discuss the events or interests which led the anthropologist to study the ethnic group or culture.
- Emphasize the language, culture, history, and location of the ethnic group.
- 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)
Examples | Scheduled Tribes of India
Due to the Covid-19 situation at the university, please submit midterm and final projects by email to: easternciv(at)gmail.com
WASHING HANDS CORONA SAFETY SONG | Click 'CC' for English Subtitles
A FEW PHOTOS FROM MY EASTERN TRAVELS
Hindu Culture | Agra, India
Kung Fu School | Shaolin Temple, China
- Art Institute of Chicago – Art Access – Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art
- Art Institute of Chicago – Art Access – Chinese Art
- Columbia University – Asia for Educators
- Dharma Documentaries – Dharma, Culture, Ecology
- Essential Humanities – World History – East Asia
- Getty Conservation Institute – Cave Temples of Dunhuang – Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road
- International Dunhuang Project – The Silk Road Online
- Khan Academy – East Asia – Geography Shapes Culture and History in the Far East
- PAHAR – Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset
- Scheduled Tribes of India – The Khasi of Meghalaya (PDF)
- Smithsonian Libraries – Origin of the Far Eastern civilizations no.1
- The British Museum – Sir Aurel Stein – Colleagues and Collections
- The Great Courses – Foundations of Eastern Civilization
- University of Kansas – Eastern Civilization