Starting Points, Geography & Maps

These sites are essential equipment for students of East Asian history and culture at any level. They offer a broad range of information, from basic cultural concepts to evaluations of the best print and internet tools available to researchers, and – importantly – they filter and assess it so that it will become meaningful to the user. They also offer the most elemental entry point to the region: its diverse physical and social geography.

Asia Society Country reports, current and cultural affairs, lesson plans, specialist databases, research links, blogs, and more.

Asia for Educators, Columbia University. Designed for teachers, this site’s curricula, chronologies, maps, primary source collections and background essays are useful for students as well.

Asia Pacific Map Collection, Australia National University. A world-class collection of over 50,000 digital maps and GIS services.

China Historical Geographical Information System (CHGIS), Harvard Yenching Institute. A massive resource for China, Japan, and more, drawing on decades of research by scholars worldwide. Various historical datasets have been used to generate GIS maps in a wealth of configurations (by political division, time period or economic region; showing locations of Buddhist monasteries, etc.) Under “maps”, you can gain access to sample and specialized maps created with the CHGIS datasets, interactive webmaps (such as one of China ca. 1820, and a long-term one of Shanghai), and a small selection of scanned historical maps.

East and Southeast Asia: An Annotated Directory of Internet Resources Organized by country or region, then by topic; also has a “hot topics” section featuring links on current affairs of major interest. Strongest on contemporary society and politics.

ExEAS - Expanding East Asian Studies, Columbia University. Links to creative syllabi and specially-designed study units and courses meant to place Asian topics in broad interdisciplinary and transnational contexts.

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas, Austin. An excellent online collection of current and historical maps (mostly in English and other European languages), arranged by region and then by type. Useful links as well.