The Spring/Summer 2017 issue of ASIANetwork Exchange begins with two complementary essays that address the contemporary state of education in China at a time when the opportunities for incorporating aspects of an American liberal arts education has been on the rise in that country. Since Peter Hershock’s keynote speech, “Valuing Diversity: Buddhist Reflections on Equity and Education,” given at the Spring 2014 conference and published in the Spring 2015 issue (https://doi.org/10.16995/ane.129), we have noticed sustained interest among conference participants in this subject. Whereas Herschock challenged us to reconsider how we understand liberal arts education through key Buddhist concepts, Kenneth Berthel (Whittier College) enriches this line of thought by bringing fundamental Confucian ideas to the conversation. Berthel’s “Creating Harmony from Diversity: What Confucianism Reveals about the True Value of Liberal Education for the 21st Century” extends the dialogue opened by Herschock to address lessons from Confucian learning. Following Berthel’s essay is that by Jinghao Zhou (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), “China’s Path to Achieve World-Class Education.” Zhou not only focuses our attention on the importance of improving education if China is to sustain her political and economic power globally, he also exposes the limitations of a system that has not sufficiently overcome the legacies of past philosophies of education in China. Zhou concludes that China will only achieve the globalized educational system it requires if it is able to build world-class universities and train scholars who gain international recognition as leaders in their field. The question for our readers is this: How can teacher-scholars of American liberal arts colleges best participate in bringing our institutional values to the world?
This issue then proceeds with two additional articles. The first, by Luke Franks (North Central College), examines the controversy over American military bases in Okinawa, Japan, through a case study of Japanese legal disputes. Despite the vigorous involvement of Okinawa residents and government officials, attention to these cases makes clear that legal protection for Okinawa’s residents will remain limited as long as the courts themselves are conflicted about their appropriate role in mediating violence between the native population and members of the American military. Finally, a pedagogical essay, “Reflections on Asia: Borrowing Lessons from the Humanities in Social Science Coursework,” by Howard Sanborn (Virginia Military Institute) and Jenny Ramirez (James Madison University/Mary Baldwin University), completes this issue. In many ways, it serves as an interesting extension of the subject of globalizing education today with the benefit of liberal arts pedagogy. They find that multimodal assignments promoted more frequently by humanities faculty can successfully encourage deeper learning of democratic engagement both at home and abroad.
As this is our final issue as Editors of the ASIANetwork Exchange, we would like to conclude our Notes with a few words of thanks and some thoughts about the place of liberal arts faculty in research and teaching about Asia globally. We want to begin by thanking both Teddy Amoloza and Gary DeCoker, the two Executive Directors of ASIANetwork under whom we have worked, for their incredible support over our six year tenure. Teddy demonstrated faith in our vision of the journal as a teaching tool, a venue for scholarship, and as an asset for faculty development at all stages of career. Gary has enabled us to dream beyond the double-blind, peer-reviewed digital journal we initially proposed by enabling us and the organization to engage with the international Open Access movement. We have enjoyed the support, good will, patience, and professionalism of our extraordinary production team, including Katie Hewlett, Rita McCollum, Emily Burns Morgan, John Stanford, and Sharon Williams. We are also indebted to Martin Eve, Caroline Edwards, and Sam Moore of the Open Library of the Humanities support team. We would be remiss not to mention that over the course of six years, we also found support from various colleagues who have made up the Board of Directors of ASIANetwork. Although we cannot name all of them here, their good questions and willingness to engage with us helped us accomplish all that we sought for this publication. We welcome Marsha Smith and Hong Zhang as the new editors, knowing their dedication to the organization.
Before we relinquish this spot in the pages of the ASIANetwork Exchange, we wanted to share some thoughts on open access and the opportunities that digital forms of scholarship provide us as scholars and teachers. We are as committed to both as we were in 2011 when we assumed our role with the journal.
Open Access is an international movement to create unrestricted online access to peer-reviewed scholarly research. In addition to having earned the support of international organizations and associations, many states are adopting Open Access policies. Materials that are made Open Access are easily searchable, archivable, and promote proper attribution. With the Board’s approval in 2011 to make ASIANetwork Exchange an open access journal, the organization also brought itself in line with the current goals of UNESCO’s Rethinking the Development Agenda, 2015, which states that “UNESCO believes that universal access to information and knowledge is key to the building of peace, sustainable social and economic development, and intercultural dialogue.”
As we began thinking about increasing the quality and position of the Exchange and learned about the Public Knowledge Project and Open Access, it was clear that this was a movement in close alignment with ASIANetwork and its core values. Many members of our organization have been mindful of the colleagues and students in Asia who do not have libraries with the resources to support access to our works. Making sure that our research and pedagogy articles could be found, read, and used in Asia, as well as other parts of the globe, was important to us. ASIANetwork Exchange is a gold open access journal, meaning that readers have access to articles upon publication.
In the years since the journal’s transformation into an open access publication, we have increasingly found ourselves thinking that this is a great opportunity to leverage the ASIANetwork, following our strategic planning goals, to think creatively about how we might further engage initiatives that position the organization and our members as global producers of knowledge about Asia in the liberal arts. Because we have viewed the journal in part as a tool for the professional development of our members at every stage of career, we want to share a couple of outlets we encourage you to consider for future publications.
Erin McCarthy will continue to work with the Open Library of the Humanities, which hosts the Exchange, as the Asian Studies section editor for the OLH journal (https://olh.openlibhums.org/). OLH has received significant grant support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and many of our member schools have also contributed through library subscriptions, which enable the journal’s unique funding model and the scholarship it produces. The Open Library of Humanities journal publishes internationally-leading, rigorous and peer-reviewed scholarship across the humanities disciplines: from classics, theology, and philosophy to modern languages and literatures, film and media studies, anthropology, political theory, and sociology. The megajournal platform means that OLH particularly welcomes interdisciplinary articles, ideal for members of ASIANetwork. In addition, the journal encourages submissions in languages other than English.
Lisa Trivedi, along with fellow ASIANetwork member Karil Kucera, is now serving on the editorial board of the Lever Press, a new academic press founded by 45 liberal arts college libraries. Lever Press publishes pathbreaking scholarship. Supported by a consortium of liberal arts institutions focused on and renowned for excellence in both research and teaching, the press is founded on three essential commitments:
To be a digitally native press;
To be a peer-reviewed, open access press that charges no fees to either authors or their institutions; and
To be a press aligned with the ethos and mission of liberal arts colleges.
This last commitment means we seek out, identify, evaluate, and advocate for transformative scholarship that:
Emerges from creative dialogue within and between traditional fields of inquiry, with an emphasis on disciplinary innovation and transformation;
Engages with issues of social and civic importance; and
Transcends inherited divisions between research and teaching by drawing from new models of collaborative inquiry and a willingness to address a broad audience.
Thank you for your interest in and support for the ASIANetwork Exchange over the past six years. Editing this journal has allowed us to stretch and grow in ways we could not possibly have imagined. It has been a privilege and a pleasure serving the members of ASIANetwork.
Erin McCarthy and Lisa Trivedi
The authors have no competing interests to declare.