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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Korean History, Culture, and Society (ASST10154)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe nineteenth century saw a dramatic reversal of fortunes for Korea. From the longest-ruling dynasty in East Asia (518 years), the demise of the Choson dynasty (1392-1910) precipitated the loss of national sovereignty as Korea was colonized by Japan. Subsequent events - including colonial industrialization, the struggle for independence, and the division of the peninsula into North and South - have only added to the challenge of evaluating the legacies of the Choson dynasty. How did Confucianism influence Korean society? Why did Korea fail to maintain its sovereignty in the nineteenth century? What are the roots of capitalism in Korea? What set North Korea on a different trajectory than the South? This course answers these questions through a survey of the major historical issues that have shaped Korean society and culture from the early modern period through to the present. As well as covering developments in Choson society and Korea's turbulent experience of imperialism, capitalism, nationalism, conflict, and political change, this course also introduces students to the major historical debates that have shaped our knowledge of Korea today.
Course description This course provides an overview of early modern and modern Korean history, paying attention to such topics as political systems and Confucian ideology, Choson-era social and cultural developments, the introduction of new forms of agriculture and technology during the Choson dynasty, conflict with both China and Japan, nineteenth-century imperialism, capitalism, diplomacy, and Korea's colonial and post-colonial experiences. Students will read a wide range of historical accounts, including both classic texts and recent scholarship, to learn how to debate historical and political issues related to Korean history, culture, and society. In addition, students will gain experience with primary sources in English, Japanese and/or Korean, in order to conduct their own research into Korean history.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  12
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 30% mid-semester literature review (1000 words)
60% final essay (2,500 words)
10% class participation
Feedback Oral feedback within weekly seminar meetings
written feedback on a discussion board posts and formative bibliographic exercise in preparation for the final essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify major historical developments on the Korean peninsula.
  2. Assess scholarly debates within Korean history.
  3. Evaluate primary and secondary sources.
  4. Construct a persuasive written argument.
  5. Develop historically informed research questions based on a critical understanding of Korean culture.
Reading List
Chatani, Sayaka, Nation-Empire: Ideology and Rural Youth Mobilixation in Japan and Its Colonies (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019)
Deuchler, Martina. Under the Ancestor's Eyes: Kinship, Status, and Locality in Premodern Korea (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2015)
Duncan, John B. The Origins of the Choson Dynasty (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000)
Eckert, Carter J. Offspring of Empire: The Koch'ang Kims and the Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996)
Eckert, Carter, J. Park Chung Hee and Modern Korea: The Roots of Militarism, 1866-1945 (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016)
Kim, Sun Joo, Marginality and Subversion in Korea: The Hong Kyongnae Rebellion of 1812 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007)
Kim, Sun Joo and Jungwon Kim, eds., Wrongful Deaths: Selected Inquest Records from Nineteenth-Century Korea (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014)
Larsen, Kirk. Tradition, Treaties, and Trade: Qing Imperialism and Choson Korea (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2008)
Moon, Seungsook, Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005)
Moon, Yumi, Populist Collaborators: The Ilchinhoe and the Japanese Colonization of Korea, 1896-1910 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013)
Nam, Hwasook. Building Ships, Building a Nation: Korea's Democratic Unionism under Park Chung Hee (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009)
Palais, James B. Politics and Policy in Traditional Korea (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1975)
Park, Eugene Y. A Family of No Prominence: The Descendants of Pak Tokhwa and the Birth of Modern Korea (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014)
Park, Hyun Ok. Two Dreams in One Bed: Empire, Social Life, and the Origins of the North Korean Revolution in Manchuria (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005)
Schmid, Andre, Korea Between Empires, 1895-1919 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002)
Shin, Gi-Wook and Michael Robinson, eds., Colonial Modernity in Korea (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 1999)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills knowledge of major debates within Korean history
work independently and seek advice and support where necessary
critical thinking in reading and evaluating primary and secondary sources
compose a persuasive argument in written essays
develop communication skills through in-class discussions and formal presentations
Special Arrangements jointly taught with PG
KeywordsKorea,Choson,colonial period,imperialism,nationalism,capitalism,conflict,history
Course organiserDr Holly Stephens
Tel: (0131 6)51 7112
Course secretaryMiss Charlotte McLean
Tel: (0131 6)50 4114
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