Asia is changing, and all these changes are about new self-identity. China is playing a role of an ice-breaker for many Asian countries giving them a feeling of power and hope for dignity among big players
And it’s not by historical coincidence Asia became so challenging right now, its modern development has a strong historical background, so first of all we must understand historical roots and cultural core of Asian civilization, the social cycles of development, the nature of power and way of governing. That’s a main idea of professional Asian Studies: we start from understanding the society and people, then we are jumping from social and cultural anthropology to other aspect of Asian life. Everything is rooted in the nature of social behavior and cultural values (religions, traditions, intercultural communications) and from the historical past we can explain the modern political culture and even nature of international relations in Asia.
What is most important thing in this “Asian basket” - history, economics, religions? Or maybe it is modern international relations in Asia? Or Japanese anime and Chinese “One Belt – One Road”, Samurais’ spirit of Japan or Chinese “soft power”? Modern Confucian renaissance in China colored by Marxism, state-rooted Japanese Shintoism or the strange mixture of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism in Indonesia? Everything! Everything is the most important thing when we speak about making of Modern Asia.
I don’t cherish the hope that it’s possible to “explain Asia” in one course, sometimes it’s impossible to understand the deep logic of Asian development for the years. Our task is much less pretentious: just to present a general structure how to gain a general and most substantial knowledge about Asia.
So let’s build a pyramid of our knowledge about Asia. It should be “road-map” for our course “Making of Modern Asia”