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Lack of Knowledge of Eastern Civilizations

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posted on Dec, 16 2007 @ 06:45 PM
In American schools all of the liberal arts are taught: Art, Literature, Mathematics, Sciences, Philosophy, and last but not least, History. From K-12, social studies were and are either about world history, Western European history, or American history; but hardly ever any Eastern civilization history.
In my middle school and high school years I became more politically aware of the struggle between the Eastern civilizations and the Western civilizations, and not so much of internal conflict in the West. However everytime I tried to analyze the situations, there is always either a bias or blank in my knowledge of the East, and espicially China.
In all of my years of studying, there had never been any real and formal lectures on Asian or Islamic countries and thus I tend to only get one side of the story and not understand current events. In my oppinion, American schools should integrate more Eastern history into its social study courses, because most Americans are typhically unaware of the reasons behind Western and Eastern conflicts.
If I recall correctly, my eleventh grade social studies teacher was extremely "bold" in his words. He meandors throughout the year always picking on Asian students and calling them "Commies", yet the Asians did not retaliate, and the other non-Asian students started learning from his words. Ignorant? Yes. Unacceptable? Absolutely.

posted on Dec, 16 2007 @ 06:58 PM
Well I am from the old school before too much bias was part of the curriculum

I had a great education even when the schools at the time in my littler Island were run by the Catholic church.

Our books came from Spain no the US.

So I did learn quite a lot about world history.

But when it came to the middle east the history was laced with the importance of the middle east to Christian believes.

posted on Dec, 16 2007 @ 08:34 PM
I mean seriously, all I learned of Eastern histroy: gunpowder, book burning, compass, Great Wall, and Communism.

posted on Dec, 16 2007 @ 08:43 PM
Well at least you were spared the great wars of the ancient world I had to memorize the years.

Any way I know exactly what you are talking about, my two children once out of DOD schools and into public schools had the worst history education I have seen.

What I found out is that the history classes is mostly limited to the history of the state.

Having moved from one state to another due to my husband duty stations my children had a hart time with the history classes due to this fact.

posted on Dec, 17 2007 @ 03:35 AM
I found the same thing, at least in grade school. I can remember studying Japan for like a month in social studies one year, like grade 7 or something, but that was just about it. In university, I took some history courses and there it was far better, as we discussed much more of the world, at least within the context of the relevance of the courses. I learned quite a bit about places like China and India and the Middle East in my world history courses, as well as the western countries, and even a little bit of Africa. There wasn't much on North/South America or Australia, though, but part of that was the kind of courses I was taking in history; they were mostly ancient or middle ages, in which we have far more recorded knowledge of the Old World than the New. Even so, those areas were still neglected, I felt.

One interesting quirk about Canadian schooling, though. I think I learned far more about American history in grade school than Canadian history. Why? I have no idea, but that's the way it was. Pretty much everything I know about Canadian history I had to go out and learn on my own.

posted on Dec, 17 2007 @ 07:31 PM
For lower classmen, my high school REQUIRED students to take World Civilizations I & II. World Civ I focused entirely on the history of the Middle East and Asia. The school also offered electives to upper classmen like Asian Studies (which I took -- a history and sociological study of China & Japan) and Sociology (which examined Eastern cultures as much as Western).

This was at a fairly average public high school in Connecticut.

posted on Dec, 17 2007 @ 07:46 PM

That is some outstanding school in your state, that can offer a variety of topics for the students.

I imagine that many will see it as a waste of time, but then again it wasn't until US invaded the middle east that many students and adults didn't have a clue where the middle east was located.

posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 05:32 AM
How to make good the lack

For anyone who is interested, an excellent book on the subject is Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Nehru was the first prime minister of India. This book is a actually a collection of letters he wrote to his daughter, Indira, from gaol. The British had imprisoned him because of his activities in support of Indian independence.

It's an amazing book, the more so when you consider that it was written without any reference materials to hand. It covers the whole history of mankind from the origins of civilization in the Middle East to the present in which he was writing - the 1930s. Nehru's formal education was, of course, largely Western, but he had augmented this with much study of other civilizations, particularly his own, and the result is a true world history, covering India, China and pretty much everywhere else. It is not an academic work; it is as full of wit as it is of erudition, beautifully written in a style suited to its intended reader, an intelligent and thoughtful teenage girl. For a one-volume primer on the history of the world, there is simply no better work - no easier way, in my opinion, to learn the basics of world history.

* * *

If you want a more professional and comprehensive one-volume history of the world, try The Penguin History of the World by J.M. Roberts. Unlike Nehru's book, though, this one is intended more as a reference work than something to be read from cover to cover.

Another excellent book that offers historical highlights from all over the world (but only from the last thousand years) is Millennium by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. This book is as enjoyable and memorable as Nehru's, but written for grown-ups, and sophisticated grown-ups at that.

posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 03:50 PM
I've heard of Nehru before, and know a little about him, but I had no idea he had written such a book! I'll put it on my reading list

posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 07:14 PM
When I asked my teacher why we are not learning enough about Eastern history, he said "There is too much to learn on Western culture, but, well. you can always go to college."

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