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Teaching About Asia, February 2009

TAA is a monthly e-newsletter from the USC U.S.-China Institute aiming to inform educators about opportunities to expand their knowledge and to provide information about new resources to help bring Asia to students. Subscription information is below.
February 25, 2009











USC U.S.-China Institute

Teaching About Asia Newsletter

February 2009

A scene from the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire

Has the success of the runaway hit Slumdog Millionaire piqued your curiosity about Asian films?  Los Angeles is a treasure trove for Asian film screenings and events, and below is a listing of just some of the upcoming cinematic offerings from Asia that you can find throughout our city.  Novices and connoiseurs alike can look to the "Asia in My Classroom" web discussion forum for recommendations and detailed reviews on Asian films - click on the "Film Festival" thread to start.  If you are not a forum user, e-mail us at to join.

If you are seeking summer learning opportunities, see our announcements below for information on East Asia-focused programs for educators in Los Angeles and abroad.  If you have students who are interested in studying abroad, the Keio Academy in New York is offering both a summer program for bicultural studies, as well as a scholarship for the academic year - details are available below.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe (go to our newsletter subscription page and select the “K-12 Education” subscriber category).

In this issue:

♦  Expore Asian Film  ♦
♦  Asia in the Classroom - USC campus events  ♦
♦  Learning Opportunity for Educators  ♦
♦  Learning Opportunity for Students  ♦

♦  Musuem Exhibitions on Asia  ♦
♦  Asian Art Museum of SF Survey  ♦
♦  Teachers on Asia  ♦

♦  Explore Asian Film

→  Chinese film - Asia Society film screening:

The Asia Society partners with the Global Film Initiative to screen a series of films that expand global understanding of Asian cultures. On March 11, Stolen Life will be shown at the Ocean Screening Room in Santa Monica.

Directed by Li Shaohong, Stolen Life chronicles a young girl's fate in Beijing and won the Best Narrative Feature prize at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.

→  Japanese film - JACCC 2009 Film Series:

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) will be screening a series of Japanese films at their Aratani/Japan America Theatre through June 26, 2009.

Selections in March include Toyo's Camera (March 15), a documentary of the Japanese internment camps of World War II told through Toyo Miyatake's smuggled photographs, as well as Dream Window (March 29), reflections on the Japanese garden.

→  Japanese film - LACMA film screening:

Cannes Film Festival jury award winner Tokyo Sonata by prolific genre master Kyoshi Kurosawa will be screened at LACMA on March 9.

The film details the quiet unraveling of an ordinary Tokyo family of four begins when its salaryman patriarch suddenly finds himself out of work. Filmmaker Kyoshi Kurosawa will be appearing in person.

→  Korean film - Korean Cultural Center LA film screenings:

The Korean Cultural Center (KCCLA) offers free monthly screenings of popular selections from Korean cinema. Films are screened in Korean with English subtitles.

Playing on March 9 is Tokyo!, a surreal triptych film directed by visionaries Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-ho.

→  Indian/Bollywood film - LAIndia.US online film listings:

The LAIndia online community guide provides reviews and listings of Indian/Bollywood films playing in theaters across greater Los Angeles.

Current offerings playing in Fallbrook, Culver City and Artesia theaters: Slumdog Millionaire, Billu Barber and Naan Kadavul

→  Buy East Asian films online - has a large selection of Chinese, Korean and Japanese multimedia resources (films, television programs, music, games, etc.) available at very reasonable prices. 

→  Want more information? - Go to the forum:

K-12 educator users of the "Asia in My Classroom" web discussion forum have contributed a vast number of recommendations and detailed reviews on Asian films - click on the "Film Festival" thread to get ideas on films to see and films you can use in your classroom. 

Not a registered user yet?  E-mail us at to join.

♦  Asia in the Classroom - USC campus events

USCI and other USC research centers coordinate a range of on-campus programs exploring important issues and trends in Asia. For additional event details and to browse our entire event calendar, please click here.  Visitor information for the USC campus can be found here.  

•  Lecture - Return Migration: The Role of Social Networks and Family Relations

Speaker: Janet Salaff, University of Toronto

Date: Thursday, March 5, 2009
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 pm
Location: USC, Taper Hall 301
Cost: Free

Janet Salaff studies many facets of developing countries in Asia, including how economic changes affect family life and changing women’s roles.In particular, she examines the impact social networks have on families as they respond to changing economic conditions and migrate around the world.  More information...

•  Student Production - USC CASA 2009 Culture Show - Unforgettable

Organization: USC Chinese American Student Association (CASA)

Date: Saturday, March 7, 2009
Time: 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Location: USC Bovard Auditorium
Cost: $7; free for USC students

CASA honors the past and builds a legacy for Asian Americans at USC and the community at large with an original production, Unforgettable, featuring student performers, original music and lyrics, choreography and sets.  More information...

•  Lecture - Chinese Cyber Nationalism: A Wild-Weird-Wired Card in China's Peaceful Rise

Speaker: Xu Wu, Arizona State University

Date: Thursday, March 12, 2009
Time: 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Location: USC University Club, Banquet Room
Cost: Free

Xu Wu joined the Cronkite School in 2005 and his research interests center on China’s online media order, international public relations, crisis management, public diplomacy, political communication and mass communication theories.  More information...


♦  Learning Opportunity for Educators

•  CCSS 48th Annual Conference - Historical Literacy in a Global Society

The California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) holds its 48th Annual Conference on "Historical Literacy in a Global Society" from March 6 to 8, 2009 at the Ontario Convention Center.

Over 120 sessions and workshops for teacher, exhibitors, scholar series, featured speakers, special Friday night Economic Reception, local historical field trips, social events and more.

Click here or contact Julie Weaver at 530-809-0290 for additional information.

•  Ahimsa Center - Summer 2009 Residential Institute on Nonviolence

The Ahimsa Center at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona invites applications from K-12 educators for a fellowship to participate in an interdisciplinary  residential institute on Journeys of Nonviolence: Gandhi and King. The two-week program will be held at the CSU Pomona campus from July 12 to 25, 2009.

Details about the program focus and format, residential fellowship and benefits, course credits, program requirements, selection criteria and application procedures can be found here. Download a .pdf flyer here.  

Application deadline is March 16.  Early application is recommended. For additional information, contact Dr. Tara Sethia at

•  Korea Academy for Educators - Summer 2009 Workshop in Los Angeles

K-12 educators are invited to apply for "Korean History & Culture and the Korean American Experience," the Korea Academy for Educators' Fifth Annual Seminar for K-12 Educators, to be held from August 3-7, 2009 at the Korean Cultural Center (5505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036).

Participants will hear from prominent scholars, view engaging and informative films, explore Koreatown, visit a Buddhist temple, and learn about Korean arts. The program also includes daily breakfast/lunch, parking and course materials. Additional information and applications available here.

♦  Learning Opportunity for Students

•  Keio Academy of NY - Bicultural summer program for 13-15 year-olds

Two-week program (July 25 to August 8, 2009) requires participants to live in English and Japanese bilingual bicultural dormitory; prior knowledge of Japanese language not necessary, just willingness to interact with students from different cultures). 

Click here or call 1-800-270-4317 for program details and application.  Program fee is $2,500 for those completing application before February 27th 2009. 

•  Keio Academy of NY - Scholarship for 9th or 10th grade admittance

The Aratani Foundation Nikkei-jin Scholarship will enable participant to enter and attend Keio Academy of New York as a 9th or 10th grader.  Scholarship covers first year of entrance examination fee, admissions fee and full tuition. 

Click here for additional details on the scholarship, qualifications and application process.   

♦  Museum Exhibitions on Asia

 •  Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) - Toyo Miyatake Exhibition

Dates: February 26 to March 15, 2009

Location: 244 South San Pedro Street, Suite 505, Los Angeles (Little Tokyo), CA 90012
Admission: Free
General information: 213-628-2725

Featuring some of renowned photographer Toyo Miyatake’s most obscure photographic pieces, this exhibit promises to expose deeper layers of his keen eye.

•  Pacific Asia Museum - Japanese Art: Recent Gifts to the Collection

Dates: Through March 1, 2009

Location: 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Admission: Adults $7; students/seniors $5; free every 4th Friday of the month
Education coordinator: Amelia Chapman, 626-449-2742, ext.19

Featured gifts to the museum, including those from from June Tsukamoto-Lyon, the Alschuler family, Margaret Moore, Wendell and Dorothy Coon, and Don Bierlich.

•  Mingei International Museum - India Adorned

Dates: Through April 19, 2009

Location: 1439 El Prado (on the Plaza de Panama), San Diego, CA 92101
Hours and admission: click here

Objects of worship, personal decorations, and items used in daily life are among those included. Many items can be viewed via the website.

•  Pacific Asia Museum - Ukiyo-e Re-mix Series: Fight or Flight

Dates: Through April 19, 2009

Moira Hahn’s work fuses Ukiyo-e, or pictures of the floating world, iconography and style with images from contemporary culture and her own fertile imagination.

•  Pacific Asia Museum - The Samurai Re-Imagined: From Ukiyo-e to Anime

Dates: Through August 9, 2009

Explores the roots of the popular Japanese art forms of manga (graphic novels) and anime (animation) in the traditional arts of Japan by examining images of the iconic warrior, the samurai.

•  Bowers Museum - Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Legacy

Dates: Through November 3, 2009

Location: 2002 North Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; open late the fourth Thursday of every month until 8:00 pm
Admission: Adults $12; seniors (62+), students and children (6-17) $9; children under 6 free
Education coordinator: Linda Kahn, 714-567-3679

Curated by authorities of Chinese history and culture from the Shanghai Museum, the collection portrays the evolution of Chinese technology, art and culture utilizing rare examples of bronze vessels, mirrors, polychrome potteries, sculptures, porcelains, paintings, ivory carvings and robes.

•  Bowers Museum - Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China

Dates: Ongoing

Exquisite textiles and silver jewelry highlight the beauty and wealth of the Miao peoples of southwest China. Symbols of status and culture include finely pleated skirts, complex batik pattered cloth, intricate silk embroidery and shining textiles woven with metal.

♦  Asian Art Museum of San Francisco Survey

•  Help K-12 education effort and win $100 gift certificate

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, as part of the “Bridge Project” to expand its K-12 educational materials and programs, is gathering information from teachers about the use of visual arts in the classroom. Your valuable feedback will serve thousands of teachers and students in California and across the U.S.

Complete the 15-20 minute survey by clicking here, and you will be eligible for a drawing to win one of five $100 gift certificates for For additional information, please contact Stephanie Kao at 415-581-3662 or The deadline for completing this survey is March 6, 2009.

♦  Teachers on Asia

•  Asia in My Classroom Discussion Forum

Teachers of all levels and subjects are invited to join our "Asia in My Classroom" forum. To become a registered user (enabling you to post to the board), please e-mail us your request along with your name, school, and the grades and subjects you teach.  What teachers have been talking about:

→  On Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet: "Without a doubt, Ang Lee is the best at what he does. He is the master in showing human relationships and emotions. This movie, although it is a comedy, is an insightful study of the complex relationships of families and two cultures...[Lee] touches on issues and conflicts, including cultural difference, language barriers, homosexuality, expectations, and problems in love affairs, generation gap, respect toward elders - values, customs, culture, parents in Eastern societies vs. Western cultures, independency, and some level of freedom that living in isolation and without extended families can offer."

- Vafa Bakody, Mount Gleason Middle School

→  On Kaige Chen's Farewell My Concubine : "Clips of the flim could easily be used to illustrate the changing political climate of China, from tradition to Japanese occupation to cultural revolution. Some very poignant scenes also prominantly display propaganda and slogans that could then be discussed in the classroom. Another aspect of the film that might prove useful in the classroom is the illustration of Chinese opera. The costumes, sounds, and staging is quite distinct from plays with which students might be familiar, but they could easily draw connections between Shakespearian plot lines and themes and those developed in this film. One prominant idea is that of the 'play within a play' - a technique that lends itself to great discussion and analysis."

- Stephanie Howe, La Reina High School

→  On Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon : "The story is simple and the directing was marvelous. I think overall for me, from a teacher's perspective and as a woman, I found the entire themes of contradiction, truth and perspective to be my favorite parts of the movie. At the end of the movie, I was perplexed, undecided and intrigued. I thought to myself that this would be an exceptional film to use as a teaching tool for among many reasons - the discussion of truth. Surely, a debate would ensue about who was telling the truth - and that is an interesting discussion."

- Bianca Moran, Dorsey High School

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USC U.S. - China Institute
3535 S. Figueroa Street, FIG 202
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1262
United States of America

phone: 213-821-4382
fax: 213-821-2382