Korea-related Course Offerings for Spring 2023:

Korea Content Courses

  • EALC 0060-401 (Introduction to Korean Civilization), taught by So-Rim Lee

This gateway course surveys the history of Korea from early times to the present. We will study the establishment of various sociopolitical orders and their characteristics alongside major cultural developments. Covered topics include: state formation and dissolution; the role of ideology and how it changes; religious beliefs and values; agriculture, commerce, and industry; changing family relations; responses to Western imperialism; and Korea's increasing presence in the modern world as well as its future prospects. Students will also be introduced to various interpretive approaches in the historiography.

  • EALC 1371/6371-001 (New Korean Cinema), taught by So-Rim Lee

In 2019, Bong Joon-ho's Parasite won the Palme d'Or at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival. This event marked the apex of South Korean cinematic renaissance, having steadily become a tour de force in the international film festival scene since 1997 onwards. This course explores the major auteurs, styles, themes, and currents of the so-called "New Korean Cinema" that emerged in the mid-to-late 1990s to continue to this day. Drawing from texts on critical film and Korean studies, we will pay particular attention to how the selected works re-present, resist, and interweave the sociopolitical climate they concern and are born out of. Using cinema as a lens with which to see the society, we will touch upon major events of the twentieth century including national division, military dictatorship and democratization movements, IMF economic crisis, youth culture, hallyu (the Korean wave), and damunhwa (multiculturalism initiative). In so doing, we will closely examine how each cinematic medium addresses the societal power structure and the role of the "Other" it represents in terms of class, race, gender, and sexuality in the construction of contemporary Korean society. We will also briefly survey the history of South Korean cinema that has evolved hand-in-hand with the history of modern Korea itself, walking through its five different phases (1945-Korean War era;1955-1972 "Golden Age"; 1973-1979 censorship era; 1980-1996 democratization era; and 1997 onwards). No prior experience of Korean studies courses necessary; all films will be screened with English subtitles.

  • EALC 1271-401 (Labor and Literature in Modern Korea: Remaking Ecologies on the Peninsula), taught by Vanessa Baker

Contemporary newspapers are packed with articles about the devastating effects of climate change and industrial pollution. This course explores what short stories and novels written in twentieth century Korea have to say about the changing ecology of the peninsula. More specifically, how do laboring bodies contribute to, and also, resist the creation of unsustainable local ecologies? The fiction we read is primarily concerned with how gendered bodies labor with the land in response to the contemporaneous socio-political climate including colonialcapitalism, national division, industrialization, authoritarianism, democracy, and neoliberalism. We will read works that capture the everyday experience of laborers, gendered violence, and the ecological repercussions of nation-building projects through the lens of modern Korean literature. Throughout the course, students will develop their critical thinking skills in speaking and writing about the ecological, ethical, and political implications of literature. This course is interdisciplinary and encourages students to incorporate methodologies from their own fields of expertise and apply them to the class assignments. Materials are all in English and no prerequisite is necessary to enroll.

  • EALC 6771-401 (Korea Through Ethnography), taught by Yoonjung Kang

Over the last few decades, a substantial volume of the ethnographic studies of South Korea has produced. Providing critical insight into South Korea’s quite particular and transforming history and cultures of modernization, industrialization, and globalization, these ethnographic works help us understand many of the historical, political, and economic issues that have both defined and complicated modern Korean society and nationhood. In this course, we will explore the contemporary social and cultural life in South Korea through ethnographies. Major themes include modernization, capitalism, class, gender, family, religion, globalization, and popular culture. This class will be held as part lecture and part seminar format.


Korean Language Courses: https://ealc.sas.upenn.edu/course-list/2023A/all/all