A new way of thinking about Asia

Where exactly does the term “Asia” come from?  Have we ever stopped to think about that?  Well, the folks at Asia for Educators (part of Columbia Teachers’ College) have.  Their site East Asia in Geographic Perspective has some interesting insights into what Asia really means, and how we define that part of the world.

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6 comments on “A new way of thinking about Asia

  1. Devon Strunk says:

    After reading the above mentioned article I was reminded of a time in 2nd grade when I was sitting in my classroom staring at a political map of Eurasia and Africa. I said to myself “you could walk from Seoul, South Korea to Madrid, Spain without getting your feet wet (If you disregarded canals and rivers you might need to cross), so why are they different continents?” Later I thought by my logic you could walk from say Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine to Cape Town, South Africa or from Vancouver, Canada to Santiago, Chile without getting your feet wet (again disregarding any canals or rivers). There for if the divisions of continents was only by large bodies of water like say an ocean then there are only 4 continents in the world Antarctica, Australia, America, and Afro-Eurasia (the four As if you will).

  2. riannacello says:

    Devon – I believe that in other countries (I think maybe Russia?), they teach exactly that – four continents, rather than 7.

  3. Jacky Cheng says:

    I believe Asia is a land that although connected to Europe has many mountains and seas separating it. Maybe that’s where Asia comes from. i.e. A-sia or sea…(possibly?) These environments may have formed when the tectonic plates were moving a long, long time ago. Why else would it have been once called Eurasia? Most likely because it was most like flat lands that bordered each other.

  4. Jessie Stratton says:

    I agree with everything that Devon says. I mean, if you really considered how people classify a continent as it’s own area, some people would say it’s just the land and the sub-surrounding areas. But I think that every continent has more to it, that makes it what it is: it has it’s own unique flavor, different cultures and languages, etc. After reading the articles, truthfully i thought “why can’t we just call Asia a continent and be done with it?” Why do we have to get technical with what we’ve learned in the past? But now i can see that there is more to just learning there are 7 different continents that make up the world. You have to dig deeper to learn about what each continent really brings to us and how we can learn from the rest of the world. 🙂

    • riannacello says:

      Jessie: I like what you said about unique flavor, different cultures and languages. That does bring up another question though >;) If a continent is defined by that then what holds Europe together as one continent? What about Asia? Are all the cultures the same in those regions?

      And thank you, Jessie, for replying to another comment – this is exactly what I was hoping for!!

  5. Jesle Choi says:

    Agree 100%. I mean all the continents out there aren’t just a piece of land and the location isnt’t what makes up the continent. It’s all the unique bits here and there. Personally if I had to answer your question -“If a continent is defined by that then what holds Europe together as one continent? What about Asia? Are all the cultures the same in those regions?” Honestly speaking people in the same continents have similar cultures. But to answer that question, not being prejudiced or anything I think partially its the looks. Look at it realistically, asians look asian and european look european and american look american (no offense). And no culture is the same in Asia. Every culture is different. Look at Korea and China and Vietnam, they are similar in some way but they are more different. I’m not saying its the looks that hold up a continent but it is a helping factor. I just wanted to state my opinion thats all.

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