Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Seoul, Shanghai and Edinburgh: Peoples, cultures, and spaces (ASST08071)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis innovative course introduces students to important and emerging issues in urban cultures and societies in the opening decades of the 21st century. At its core, it explores the interaction between culture, space, and people.

To do so, the course explores developments in three important global cities: Seoul, Shanghai and Edinburgh. Students will engage with both textual and non-textual materials, including films, TV shows, music, webtoons, and design. Although the course is built round the cases of Seoul, Shanghai, and Edinburgh students will learn how to situate the cases in a broader comparative perspective, within Asia and in Europe.

This course draws on conceptual and analytical tools from the humanities and social sciences. The course introduces students to key concepts in urban studies. Next, it familiarises them with a select number of contemporary developments in Seoul, Shanghai and Edinburgh. The later part of the course is more practice-oriented, as students will carry out a small research project in the city of Edinburgh, before reflecting on the possible links with the other cities.
Course description How did the Korea wave (hallyu) emerge? How did BTS and K-dramas become such global cultural products? What makes Seoul, Shanghai and Edinburgh examples of global cities? In what ways do space and culture interact? How do global cities deal with issues of development and conservation and heritage? Are social enterprises the same everywhere? To what extent does the local context, including policy, matter?

This innovative course introduces students to important and emerging issues in urban cultures and societies in the opening decades of the 21st century. It does so by examining similar dynamics in three important global cities: Seoul, Shanghai and Edinburgh.

To do so students will engage with both textual and non-textual materials, including films, TV shows, music, fictions, webtoons, and design. The course starts with key concepts and theories in urban studies. Next, it introduces the cases of Seoul, Shanghai and Edinburgh, so that students can ground the more conceptual framework and discussion through the study of concrete examples. This will also allow students to situate the case in a broader comparative perspective, within Asia and in Europe.

The course explores four key themes:
1. Culture: Music, fictions and Cinema (for example BTS, Parasite, Kim Jiyoung born 1982, red Chinese cinema, Sunshine on Leith, 44 Scotland Street), transnational cultural flows, globalization, heritage, consumerism and technology, beauty and beautification (medical tourism), Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Zebra Independent (Edinburgh);
2. People (marginals, outcasts, precarious groups, gender, LGBTIQ, foreign labourers, homeless, defectors and refugees) comparative perspectives in Seoul, Shanghai (Gentrifying heritage, Urban Loopholes, New Build gentrification) and Edinburgh (Rock Trust, social bite villages, Leith Remakery, Joey D upcycling;
3. Space (square for people's voices, housing old and new: Sky Castle vs. Hanok, gentrification, Colony houses in Edinburgh, Beyond the Neon Lights in Shanghai, city regeneration, Water- Cheongyecheon stream revitalization project, transportations, tram in Edinburgh) and
4. AI, human relations and the environment.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  100
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 162 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class participation and attendance 10%

Mid-term assignment 40% - Students can choose one type of assignment from city briefing report, review essay (3-4 articles), book reviews. (1000 words)

Final assignment 50% - Students can choose one type of assignment from various options including essays, policy briefs, blogs, (2500 words), video-essays (2-3 group work possible, 5 mins), Wikipedia entries (2-3 group work possible), podcasts (2-3 group work possible, 5 -10 mins)
Feedback *Students will receive feedback for their presentation preparation.
*Formative assessment with associated feedback for the final assignment by week 7.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. critically assess the historical origins, changes and evolution of global cities in Asia, also comparatively.
  2. apply their knowledge of key concepts from urban studies to empirical cases.
  3. describe the key social and political issues relevant to contemporary urban culture in global cities.
  4. analyse contemporary developments in popular urban culture.
Reading List
Required readings

Collins, F. L. 2018. Global Asian City: Migration, Desire and the Politics of
Encounter in 21st Century Seoul, Newark: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
Yun, J. 2019. A copy is (not a simple) copy: Role of urban landmarks in branding Seoul as a global city. Frontiers of architectural research, 8, 44-54.
Chen, Y.-L. & Shin, H. B. 2019. Neoliberal Urbanism, Contested Cities and Housing in Asia, New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan US: Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bracken, G. & Byrne Bracken, G., 2012.¿Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Frazier, M.W., 2019.¿The power of place: contentious politics in twentieth-century Shanghai and Bombay, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bracken, G., 2012.¿Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou¿1st ed., Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Henry, T. A. 2020. Queer Korea, Durham: Duke University Press.
Kwon, H. 2020. After the Korean War: an intimate history, Cambridge, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Brenner, N. and Keil, R. Eds. (2006) The Global Cities Reader, London: Routledge.
Sassen, S. (1992) The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Lee, S. 2019. Rediscovering Korean cinema, Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Jin, Dal Yong. 2019. Transnational Korean Cinema: cultural politics, film genres, and digital technologies,¿Rutgers University Press
Kim, K. H. & Choe, Y. 2014. The Korean Popular Culture Reader, Durham, Durham: Duke University Press.
Henry, T. A. (2005). Sanitizing empire: Japanese articulations of Korean otherness and the construction of early colonial Seoul, 1905-1919.¿The Journal of Asian Studies,¿64(3), 639-675.
Ur¿i¿, M. & Kri¿nik, B. 2012. Comparing urban renewal in Barcelona and Seoul¿urban management in conditions of competition among global cities. Asia Europe journal, 10, 21-39.
Kim, N. H.-J. 2016. Naturalizing Korean ethnicity and making 'ethnic' difference: a comparison of North Korean settlement and foreign bride incorporation policies in South Korea. Asian Ethnicity, 17, 185-198.
Olga, F. 2017. The Sharing City Seoul: Global Imaginaries of the Sharing Economy and its Local Realities. Development and society, 46, 373-397.

Hamnett, S. & Forbes, D. K. 2011. Planning Asian cities risks and resilience, New York: Routledge.
Collins, F. L.¿(2016)¿Migration, the Urban Periphery, and the Politics of Migrant Lives.¿Antipode,¿48:¿¿1167¿¿1186.¿
Hill, R. C. & Kim, J. W. 2016. Global Cities and Developmental States: New York, Tokyo and Seoul. Urban studies (Edinburgh, Scotland), 37, 2167-2195.
Wu, J., 2008. The peri-urbanisation of Shanghai: Planning, growth pattern and sustainable development.¿Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 49(2), pp.244¿253.
Jeon, J. J. 2019. Vicious Circuits: Korea's IMF Cinema and the End of the American Century, Redwood City, Redwood City: Stanford University Press.
Choe, Steve. 2018. Sovereign violence: ethics and south Korean cinema in the new millennium,¿Amsterdam University Press
Choe, Youngmin. 2016. Tourist distractions: traveling and feeling in transnational hallyu cinema,¿Duke University Press
Yecies, Brian and Shim, Aegyung. 2016. The changing face of Korean cinema: 1960 to 2015. Routledge
Balmain, Colette Ed. 2014. Directory of world cinema: South Korea. Intellect, Ltd.
Jung, S. 2011. Korean Masculinity and Trans-cultural Consumption: Yonsama, Rain, Old boy, K-Pop Idols, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Kim, K. H. 2011. Virtual Hallyu: Korean cinema of the global era, Durham: Duke University Press.
Henry, T. A. 2014. Assimilating Seoul: Japanese Rule and the Politics of Public Space in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Bell, Daniel A., and Avner de-Shalit.¿The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age, Princeton University Press, 2011.
Mogues, T. & Carter, M. R. 2005. Social capital and the reproduction of economic inequality in polarized societies. Journal of Economic Inequality, 3, 193-219.
Sassen, S. Ed. (2002) Global Networks, Linked Cities, London: Routledge.
Latham, R. and Sassen S. Eds. (2005) Digital Formations: IT and New Architectures in the Global Realm, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
UN-HABITAT. (2009) Global Report on Human Settlements 2009: Planning Sustainable Cities, Abridged Edition, London: Earthscan.
Kim, Youngmi (2018) Mandalay, Myanmar: The remaking of a South-East Asian hub in a country at the crossroads, Cities - International Journal of Urban Studies, 72: 274-286.
Rao, V. (2012) Slum as Theory: Mega-Cities and Urban Models, In Cairns, S., Crysler, G., and Heymen, H. Eds., The Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory, New York: Sage Publication, 671-686.
Jeong, S.-H. 2019. Dog and Thief: Two Modes of Abject Agency Crossing over East Asian Capital Networks in Global Korean Cinema. Studies in the Humanities, 44/45, 182-200, XXIII.
Gateward, F., 2007.¿Seoul Searching, Ithaca: State University of New York Press.
Braester, Y., 2010.¿Painting the city red Chinese cinema and the urban contract, Durham [NC]: Duke University Press.

Further Reading:
UN-HABITAT. (2008) State of the World's Cities 2008/2009, Harmonious Cities, London: Earthscan.¿
Neuwirth, R. (2006) Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World, New York: Routledge.
Colantonio, A. 2014. Transforming urban economies policy lessons from European and Asian cities, New York: Routledge.
Brysona, J. and Wyckoff, W. (2010) Rural gentrification and nature in the Old and New Wests, Journal of Cultural Geography 27(1): 53-75.
Paquet, D. 2009. New Korean cinema breaking the waves, New York: Wallflower Press.
Rodger, R., 2001.¿The transformation of Edinburgh: land, property and trust in the nineteenth century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chung, Hye Seung and Diffrient, David Scott. 2015. Movie migrations: transnational genre flows and south Korean cinema. Rutgers University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills * Be familiar with key political, social and cultural issues in relation to global cities.
* Develop analytical and critical thinking skills.
* Acquire clear communication skills through class presentations.
* Acquire practical and transferable skills by creating blog entries, policy brief, Wikipedia, video essay, podcasts.
KeywordsGlobal cities,Asia,Edinburgh,Seoul,Shanghai,popular culture,pop music,films,Hallyu,soft po
Course organiserDr Youngmi Kim
Tel: (0131 6)51 1363
Course secretaryMs Sheila Strathdee
Tel: (0131 6)50 3619
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information